Why Is My Calla Lily Dying? [Reasons & How to Revive]

Calla Lily is a popular indoor and outdoor South African plant. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also easy to care for. So, it can be concerning when your Calla Lily appears to be dying, and you are unsure why.

Potential reasons your Calla Lily is dying include improper watering, fungal diseases, viruses, chlorosis, harsh temperatures, or inadequate conditions. You can tell your Calla Lily plant is dying if you notice its leaves changing color or roots going bad.

To learn how to keep your plant alive, keep reading!

Reasons Your Calla Lily Is Dying

You can save your Calla Lily if you figure out the issue before it is too late.

Keep a close eye out for any of these symptoms:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Yellow leaves
  • Leaves with brown spots
  • Leaves turning black
  • Brown or yellow spots of mosaic-like patterns on the leaves
  • Slimy and soft-looking plants

Depending on what symptoms your plant is displaying can help you determine the reason it is dying. Let’s take a detailed look at those potential reasons. 

Improper Watering

Like every plant, Calla Lilies needs proper watering. The amount of water your Calla Lily needs changes depending on whether it is an indoor or outdoor plant. Notably, temperature and climate also impact how often you should water your plants.

Here are some valuable tips for watering Calla Lily:

  • Water regularly. Calla Lily out in the garden or indoors must receive water regularly. However, it is best not to let the soil get too wet, so it should be able to drain the water properly. Watch out for the yellowing of leaves because it could indicate excessive watering.
  • Keep the soil moist through every layer. This is essential. Make sure to avoid too much stagnant water in the top layer while the bottom layer of the soil is dry.
  • Ensure soil has good drainage. Soil that does not drain water and has excessive moisture can also cause the plant’s roots to rot.
  • Increase watering in dry and warm conditions. Keep an eye on your Calla Lily throughout summer, as you may have to water the plant more frequently to keep them from withering and dying.
  • Reduce watering come autumn. The plant’s leaves start turning yellow as autumn approaches. At this point, you should not water the plant as regularly as in summer.


The soil you use for planting Calla Lilies can make a huge difference. It must have essential nutrients such as iron, nitrogen, zinc, etc. A nutrient-deficient soil causes chlorosis, which turns the leaves of your Calla Lily yellow.

The soil loses nutrients, especially iron when its pH is too high or it has too much clay. It also becomes iron-deficient if the fertilizer is too rich in phosphorus or the soil is too wet. You can treat the iron deficiency in your Calla Lily by correcting these imbalances.

If the soil continues to kill your plant, you may want to consider the relocation of your Calla Lily. However, relocation can put the plant under stress, so you must take extra care of the roots.

Harsh Temperatures

Calla Lilies do not like cold temperatures and become dormant in temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 °C). Taking out the plant’s rhizomes and keeping them away from moisture and coldness is best to save them from dying in freezing weather.

Also, the plant blooms in warmer and humid conditions. Therefore, water your Calla Lily more than usual when it gets dry and warm.

Markedly, Oregon and California have the best climatic conditions for Calla Lilies. They also bloom nicely in the San Francisco Bay area and a few other regions within the USA.

Fungal and Viral Diseases

Calla Lilies can also fall prey to fungal diseases, which can occur due to a few reasons, including:

  • Poor weather conditions
  • Overwatering
  • Extra moist soil
  • Lack of light

Any of these triggers can cause fungal spores to grow on the plant. Fungal diseases can cause root rot, spotty leaves, and damage to rhizomes.

Also, be on the lookout for these viruses and their symptoms:

  • Dasheen Mosaic: True to its name, this virus gives a mosaic-like pattern to the leaves. Typically, aphids are responsible for carrying Dasheen Mosaic from plant to plant.
  • Spotted Wilt: This viral condition affects leaves and stalks and causes white and yellow spots or veins. Notably, common garden pests known as thrips transmit spotted wilt to both indoor and outdoor plants.

You must remove the affected plant as soon as you detect any of these viruses because of their contagious nature.

Improper Lighting

Calla Lily needs both full light and partial shade depending on weather conditions and the climate. For instance, you must ensure the plant receives plenty of proper light if you live in cooler temperatures.

For indoor Calla Lilies, find a place that receives excellent light throughout the day for your plant to sit.

Remember, you must not keep Calla Lilies in direct sunlight for more than two hours when the temperature is too warm and dry. If needed, take the time to move the plants under partial shade once the temperature gets warmer.

Yellow Leave Does Not Always Indicate a Disease

Take note that the yellowing of leaves in Calla Lilies is not always a sign of a disease. There are some other common reasons your Calla Lily leaves turn yellow:

Calla Lily Leaves Turn Yellow In Its Dormancy Period

When Calla Lily’s leaves start turning yellow and brown as the temperatures go down, there is no need to revive the plant. It is best to let it rest until the next blooming season.

Therefore, the plant does not need frequent watering. But do not let it dry either. You must keep the plant bulbs safe from freezing and wait for the blooming season.

Relocation Causes Stress and Turns Leaves Yellow

Relocation or transplantation of Calla Lilies can cause stress, which may turn their leaves yellow.

After relocating a Calla Lily, you must water the plant properly and regularly to ensure the roots grow well in the new soil and area. The roots will take a little time to develop, but once they do, you can get rid of the yellow leaves and see your plant bloom.

Ideally, you should relocate the plant in the spring, if possible. If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, be sure to call experts who know how to relocate the plant.

How To Keep Your Calla Lilies From Dying

You can take steps to prevent your Calla Lily from dying, yet these vary slightly for indoor and outdoor Calla Lilies. Still, the plant is not too fussy, so if you regularly check up on it regularly, you can keep it healthy.

Here are a few things you can do:

Control the Water Quantity

It is crucial not to overwater or underwater your plant. One helpful tip to ensure this is to check if the soil’s top layer is too wet or dry before you water it. Also, remember that the watering frequency changes with the season and weather conditions.

Use Good Quality Soil

The soil you use matters. Make sure your Calla Lily is planted in good quality soil that does not have too much clay. Calla Lilies bloom in organic soil rich in nutrients. Additionally, avoid using phosphorus-rich fertilizers. Regular grooming and pruning are also necessary to prevent soil contamination.

Ensure Optimal Conditions

Keeping the conditions optimal during the blooming and resting seasons is crucial.  Do not keep the indoor Calla Lilies in dark and humid areas during the blooming season. During the resting period, keep the plant in a cool (not too cold) area away from sunlight. Keep it dry! Moreover, do not place the plants in humid and poorly ventilated areas. Lack of air and too much moisture can cause powdery mildew.

Know When To Move Your Plant in and Out of Direct Sunlight

Calla Lilies like light, but keeping them in direct sunlight for long hours can hurt them. Prolonged exposure can cause brown spots. So, placing your Calla Lilies in partial shade is best during scorching and dry temperatures. You can move them out in full light when the weather is not too extreme.

Practice Proper Winter Care

During winters, you must be sure to protect the plant rhizomes to keep your Calla Lily alive. If you have potted plants, bring them indoors and keep them in a dry place. Take out the rhizomes for outdoor plants and keep them indoors in dry and cool conditions. 

Garnet Glow Calla Lilies


Calla lilies are not the most difficult plants to keep. However, you cannot leave them unattended either. Furthermore, the kind of care you provide depends on the season and their placement (indoor or outdoor).

Keep your Calla Lily from dying by taking care of it and regularly checking for diseases, drooping leaves, and discoloration. This requires you to pay attention to multiple things, including:

  • Soil
  • Drainage
  • Temperature
  • Watering schedule
  • Water quantity
  • Light
  • Potential signs of distress

No matter where you keep the plant, be sure to provide ideal conditions to keep them healthy and alive.

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