Zantedeschia Aethiopica: How to Grow for a Bog Garden

Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lilies) are tender perennial plants that grow from a bulb-like rhizome. These plants last for many years and most of them go dormant in the fall but bloom back in spring. Their bloom lasts from 6 to 12 weeks in late spring and throughout the summer. However, they do not all bloom at the same time. It’s also important to note that they are poisonous, all parts of the plant, if eaten, will cause severe discomfort if ingested. This means they are also toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. The sap also irritates the skin and eyes.

Choosing the Right Zantedeschia Aethiopica Rhizomes to Purchase

The rhizomes to buy are the ones that are large, firm, and plump. This is because the size of the rhizome will determine the size of the plant and its blossoms. 

Planting Location

Calla Lilies grow in full sun or partial shade. Placing them under full sun is the right choice for cool summer areas, and placing them under part shade will help them thrive in hot summer areas. They love organically rich, moist, and well-drained soils. The moisture is essential for them, however, overwatering can still result in rot. 

Planting Time

Plant the rhizomes in spring, you may start them indoors as early as the month before the average last frost date to get earlier blooms. You may also plant them directly in the ground after the dangers of frosts. 

How To Plant Zantedeschia Aethiopica

  1. Plant your calla rhizomes 4in. deep and 12 in. apart on the soil with well-rotted organic matter (garden compost).
  2. Set the rhizomes with the growing tips facing up, then cover it with soil and water.
  3. Mulch to keep weeds from growing and to conserve soil moisture.
  4. Water regularly until they are established and keep them from drying out during dry spells.

Care Guide for Zantedeschia Aethiopica

  • Keep the moisture consisten during the growing season
  • Feed with balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks until the flowers have faded
  • Remove the stems after fading of blooms, pulling the entire stem at the base. This will promote new calla lily flowers
  • Regularly deadhead them to encourage them to make more flowers than seeds.

Pest and Diseases 

Calla Lilies are usually trouble free, but can still be targets of slugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips, or rot. So make sure to keep an eye on them. 

Zantedeschia Aethiopica Propagation

Cutting Dormant Rhizomes

Cut the rhizome into several sections, make sure they have visible buds. Plant them indoors into containers with multi-purpose compost. Water them until shoots emerge. Water regularly until they are well-established. 


Collect seeds in the fall then store them over winter. Sow them in spring, making sure they are one seed per 3in containers with seed compost. Water them and make sure to keep the temperature 70°F (21°C). 

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.