How to Grow Calla Lily Flowers from Seed

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"Suitable for any occasion."

"The Calla Lilies are in bloom again," Katharine Hepburn softly says in the classic film Stage Door. "Such a strange flower--suitable for any occasion."

She places a sheath of white blossoms in a vase, adding, "I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that's died."

Calla lilies are strange flowers. They've been long associated with both funerals and weddings. Today, they're more popular than ever. And why not?

Calla lilies are low-maintenance. They're also vigorous bloomers. And their elegant cut flowers last for weeks in vases.

If you would like to grow Calla lilies in your garden, cultivate them from Calla lily bulbs, fleshy roots called rhizomes. Or, for a less expensive option, follow the directions below to grow Calla lily flowers from seed.

Katharine Hepburn's Famous "Calla Lilies" Speech

How to Grow Calla Lily Flowers from Seed

Directions for starting Calla lilies from seed

Seeds or bulbs?

Neon Amour Calla Lily Bulb 1 3/4" x 2" - Hot Pink to Red
Neon Amour Calla Lily Bulb 1 3/4" x 2" - Hot Pink to Red

Calla lilies are available in just about every color, including hot pink.

 

Give Calla lily seeds a head start.

Before you sow Calla lily seeds, prepare them for planting. Place several layers of damp paper towels on a platter.

Spread the sticky Calla lily seeds on the damp paper towel. Then cover them with another layer of damp paper towels.

Place the platter in a dark, cool place. Mist the towels occasionally to assure that they stay damp, but don't get them dripping wet. You don't want the seeds to rot.

In a few days, the Calla lily seeds will begin to sprout. If any of the seeds don't germinate, throw them away.

Calla lilies look like they'd be difficult to grow, but they actually aren't finicky at all.
Calla lilies look like they'd be difficult to grow, but they actually aren't finicky at all. | Source

Sow sprouting Calla lily seeds indoors.

Fill small pots with ordinary seed-starting medium (pictured right). Plant two seeds per pot. Don't plant them too far down! Just under the top of the soil will do, about a 1/4-inch deep. (If you live in a warm climate, you can sow calla lily seeds directly outdoors.)

Place the pots in a warm and sunny location (such as under a grow light). As with the paper towels, you'll want to keep the growing medium moist without rotting the seeds, so water from the bottom of the pot. If the soil seems too dry on top, spray it with a mister. The idea is to keep the seeds moist without getting them soggy.

Calla lily seedlings will emerge in under a week. If you sow Calla lily seeds without prepping them first, however, it may take a week or a month for them to germinate. Discard the weakest seedlings in each pot. (I know it's hard to destroy a tiny seedling, but ... if you want strong growers that will survive transplant, you just have to do it!)

As they develop, Calla lily seedlings like the same culture that their adult counterparts do: warmth, moisture (but not sogginess) and sun, so give them plenty of it.

When two or three leaves have developed on your Calla lily seedlings, it's time to transplant them.

Once established, calla lilies will grow larger each year, producing more and more flowers.
Once established, calla lilies will grow larger each year, producing more and more flowers. | Source
18" Hand Painted and Carved Porcelain Fishbowl / Planter with White Floral Design
18" Hand Painted and Carved Porcelain Fishbowl / Planter with White Floral Design

Wouldn't a black Calla lily look beautiful set inside this elegant cachepot?

 

Transplant Calla lily seedlings.

When it's time to transplant, you have two options. Plant your Calla lily seedlings directly in a bed or grow them in a pot. They perform well either way.

Calla lilies grow well in pots.

Calla lilies grow best in large pots that give their rhizomes plenty of room to develop. Make sure that the pot has good drainage, and water the lily well. (Calla lilies love water!)

Use ordinary potting mix, changing it yearly to ensure that your plant gets the nutrients it needs--and that new rhizomes don't overtake over the pot.

Plant calla lilies outside.

You can also plant your Calla lily seedlings directly in the ground. Choose a sunny location, and keep the seedlings well watered until they become established plants.

Enjoy Calla lily flowers.

If you start Calla lilies from seed, don't expect blooms the first year. For most varieties, Calla lilies grown from seed bloom the second or third year after they've been transplanted. Those who want "instant" blooms should probably plant Calla lily bulbs instead.

Calla lily flowers look like elegant cups for garden fairies.
Calla lily flowers look like elegant cups for garden fairies. | Source
Stage Door
Stage Door

Also called "Stage Door Canteen," this classic film has so many quotable lines! It features Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and of course Katharine Hepburn of "Calla lily" fame.

 
Georgia O'Keefe and the Calla Lily in American Art, 1860-1940
Georgia O'Keefe and the Calla Lily in American Art, 1860-1940

American artist Georgia O'Keefee painted Calla lilies so often she was sometimes called "the lady of the lilies."

 
Nude With Calla Lilies - Poster by Diego Rivera (16 x 20)
Nude With Calla Lilies - Poster by Diego Rivera (16 x 20)

For your wall, a poster reproduction of a popular calla lily painting.

 
Calla Lily Large Table Vase - Ibis & Orchid Design Collection
Calla Lily Large Table Vase - Ibis & Orchid Design Collection

As elegant as a sheath of fresh calla lily flowers.

 

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Comments 25 comments

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 21 months ago from United States Author

Hi everyone! Glad to meet other fans of calla lilies. I don't know about "plugins." Sorry!

All the best, Jill


Janet 21 months ago

I love calla lilies


Johnb465 2 years ago

Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to ffgeakgcafdd


Johna779 2 years ago

Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job! dcbfdddddkdd


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Viva! It's a fun project to try if you have the time & inclination. Thanks for stopping by. (: Jill


Viva Jones profile image

Viva Jones 3 years ago from UK

I adore calla lilies, they might even be my favourite flower. I grow lots from bulbs/rhizomes, but never knew you could sow them from seeds. Really interesting, thanks!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Cam! Glad you stopped by. --Jill


Cam Anju profile image

Cam Anju 3 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

Love this! Very informative and well written. Calla lilies are such a beautiful flower. Voted up and useful and I also added a link to this hub on my Calla Lily Meaning hub!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States Author

Louis, I agree. Planting calla lily bulbs is much easier--but not as much fun! Thanks for commenting!


Louis Taylor profile image

Louis Taylor 4 years ago from UK

i think is one of the plants which is harder to grow from seeds, but if you are experienced nothing is impossible


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, cidly24. Glad you stopped by! DF


cidly24 profile image

cidly24 5 years ago from China

very good


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Becky. I do wish you luck! Mine were doing beautifully, and then Japanese beetles attacked. Oh well... they were pretty while they lasted!


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I've never had any luck growing these gorgeous flowers but I'll attempt it again using your method of sprouting the seeds in a moist paper towel. It would be worth the extra effort to have these beautiful flowers around to enjoy. Wish me luck :) Thanks for the great idea and for an awesome hub.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

So glad you visited, Q. Bet you're a Hepburn fan!


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

You have the best flower and gardening hubs - voted up, interesting and beautiful!

thanks for another great one!

q


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Tony! GracieLake says she grows hers in an atrium. Good ideas!


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 5 years ago from Yorkshire

Hi

great hub, I love these lilies, they grow well in pots to answer FAwntia's worry about garden space.

Tony


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Great, Fawntia. Really glad you stopped by!


Fawntia profile image

Fawntia 5 years ago from San Francisco

Someday, when I have space for a garden, I will have to try growing Calla lilies. Thanks for the beautiful Hub!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

GracieLake, that sounds beautiful! I'm going to check out your profile to see if you've done a hub about atriums. If you haven't.... get busy, girl! Thanks for stopping by. DF


GracieLake profile image

GracieLake 5 years ago from Arizona

I keep Calla Lilies in an indoor atrium, but it's a fight to keep the area moist enough for the lilies to be happy. Thanks for the hub, and the information about starting from seed.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

Indeed, I like Netflix because it gives me some oldies but greaties. :-)


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Bob! You must be a lover of old films too.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

Another beautiful flower, I like the Hepburn clip, thanks.

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