Is a Calla Lily an Indoor or Outdoor Plant?

Calla lilies, with their exquisite and unmistakable beauty, have long captured the hearts of gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike. Renowned for their elegant trumpet-shaped blooms and arrowhead-shaped leaves, calla lilies are a botanical wonder that can elevate the aesthetics of any garden or indoor space. However, a common query that often arises among those intrigued by these graceful flowers is whether calla lilies belong indoors or outdoors. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of calla lilies, seeking to answer this fundamental question. As we navigate the complexities of calla lily care, we’ll explore their diverse species, learn about their origins, and investigate the factors that determine whether they flourish as indoor houseplants or outdoor garden additions. By the end of this exploration, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to confidently nurture these enchanting flowers in the environment that best suits your gardening aspirations.

Calla Lilies

To comprehend the care needs and growing preferences of calla lilies, it’s essential to first acquaint ourselves with these remarkable plants:

  • Distinctive Beauty: Calla lilies, scientifically known as Zantedeschia spp., are celebrated for their unique and captivating appearance. Their signature feature is the graceful, funnel-shaped bloom, which can be found in an array of colors, including white, pink, yellow, and various shades of red.
  • Species and Cultivars: Calla lilies encompass a range of species and cultivars, each with its own distinct characteristics. The size, color, and growth requirements of calla lilies can vary widely, offering gardeners a palette of options to choose from.
  • Natural Habitat: Calla lilies have their origins in marshy areas and wetlands, primarily in South Africa. This natural habitat informs their care requirements, as they have a preference for well-drained, moist soil.
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Growing Calla Lilies Indoors

While calla lilies are often associated with outdoor gardens, they can also thrive as indoor houseplants. Here’s what you need to know about cultivating calla lilies indoors:

  • Advantages of Indoor Cultivation: Indoor growing offers several advantages, including the ability to control growing conditions, protect plants from extreme weather, and enjoy their beauty year-round, even in regions with harsh winters.
  • Key Considerations: Successful indoor calla lily care requires attention to specific factors. These include providing the right amount of light, maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels, and selecting suitable containers.
  • Container Gardening: Calla lilies are well-suited for container gardening indoors. This approach allows you to move the plants as needed to optimize their growing conditions and enhance your indoor decor.
  • Year-Round Blooms: With proper care, indoor calla lilies can produce their captivating blooms throughout the year, bringing a touch of elegance and color to your indoor spaces.

In the following sections, we will explore the option of growing calla lilies outdoors, overwintering them, and the versatility of these remarkable plants that can thrive in various settings. Whether you choose to nurture calla lilies indoors or outdoors, you’ll be rewarded with the splendor of their iconic flowers and the satisfaction of successfully caring for these botanical treasures.

Growing Calla Lilies Outdoors

For gardeners who prefer the charm of open-air landscapes, growing calla lilies outdoors can be a delightful endeavor:

  • Outdoor Elegance: Calla lilies can thrive outdoors when provided with the right conditions. Their graceful blooms add elegance and a touch of sophistication to gardens, borders, and outdoor planters.
  • Optimal Outdoor Conditions: To successfully cultivate calla lilies outdoors, they require ample sunlight, well-drained soil with organic matter, and regular watering. They appreciate a location with morning sun and afternoon shade in regions with hot summers.
  • Watering and Soil: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, as calla lilies prefer slightly damp conditions. Mulching around the base of the plants can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  • Climate Considerations: Calla lilies are sensitive to cold temperatures, so they are best suited for outdoor cultivation in regions with mild winters. Gardeners in colder climates may need to dig up and store the rhizomes during the winter months to protect them from frost.
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Overwintering Calla Lilies

For those faced with frosty winters, overwintering calla lilies is essential to preserve their health and vitality:

  • Winter Protection: In colder climates, calla lilies are vulnerable to frost damage. To safeguard them during the winter, carefully lift the rhizomes (bulb-like structures) from the ground after the first frost but before the ground freezes.
  • Storage: Store the lifted rhizomes in a cool, dry place, such as a basement or garage, where temperatures remain above freezing but below 50°F (10°C). This prevents them from going dormant and allows you to replant them in the spring.
  • Spring Replanting: In the spring, as the danger of frost subsides and the weather warms, replant the calla lily rhizomes in the garden or containers. Resume regular outdoor care practices to encourage growth and flowering.

Versatility of Calla Lilies

The beauty of calla lilies lies in their versatility, allowing gardeners to enjoy their charm in various settings:

  • Both Indoors and Outdoors: Calla lilies are unique in their ability to flourish indoors as elegant houseplants or outdoors as garden gems. Gardeners can choose the growing environment that best suits their preferences and local climate.
  • Container Gardening: Calla lilies excel in container gardening, making them adaptable to patio spaces, balconies, and even small gardens. Their portability and aesthetic appeal enhance any outdoor or indoor setting.
  • Landscape and Floral Arrangements: Calla lilies are not limited to garden beds; their cut flowers are a favorite choice for floral arrangements, weddings, and special occasions, showcasing their enduring popularity.


In conclusion, the choice of whether to grow calla lilies indoors or outdoors ultimately depends on your location, preferences, and the specific conditions you can provide. These versatile plants, celebrated for their graceful blooms and striking foliage, have the ability to thrive in both environments when given the appropriate care.

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Indoor cultivation allows for year-round enjoyment and control over growing conditions, making calla lilies an appealing choice for houseplant enthusiasts. On the other hand, outdoor growing offers the opportunity to adorn gardens and landscapes with their elegance, provided the right outdoor conditions and winter protection are in place.

Regardless of your choice, the captivating allure of calla lilies and their adaptability make them a delightful addition to any gardening or floral arrangement venture. Whether they grace your indoor living spaces or flourish in your garden’s outdoor haven, calla lilies never fail to enchant with their timeless beauty.