Why Is My Calla Lily Leaves Turning Yellow? [Reasons & Fixes]

The brilliant colors of calla lilies leaves are hard to miss. Their conspicuous elegance is a plus to every garden. However, these leaves lose their attraction when they start yellowing.

Your calla lily leaves are likely turning yellow due to insufficient sunlight, disease, dormancy, transplant, rebirth, or excess wind. These factors affect plant growth and development, which may manifest as the yellowing of leaves.

I’ll explore these factors in this article, including possible solutions and other relevant information.

Reasons Your Calla Lily Leaves Are Turning Yellow

It can be a cause for concern when your plant’s leaves start turning yellow. Let’s discuss some of the reasons responsible for this problem.

  • Too much or too little water: Calla lilies don’t thrive in waterlogged soil. They also won’t survive in environments with little water. Both circumstances can lead to root rot. Yellowing of leaves is one manifestation of root rot.
  • Malnutrition: If your calla lily isn’t getting enough essential nutrients (such as zinc, iron, and nitrogen), it won’t grow well. Nutrient deficiency affects every part of the plant, including the leaves.
  • Insufficient sunlight: Summer and spring are the best times to grow calla lilies because they require an abundant amount of sunlight to thrive. If you keep your lilies in a cold place with insufficient sunlight, they will turn yellow.
  • Transplantation: If you just transplanted your calla lily, it could be responsible for the yellowing. Transplants take a toll on the plant. When the lily is in new soil, it takes time to acclimatize to its new environment. This extra time it takes to adapt can make its leaves turn yellow temporarily.
  • New leaf formation: The yellowing of your calla lily leaves may be due to the formation of new leaves. It is natural for plants to turn yellow and shed their leaves when new ones are about to grow. It’s a common form of transformation.
  • Dormancy: The lily may be in its hibernating state. The calla lily turns yellow at a certain period. After some months of being dormant, fresh green leaves begin to bloom again. This is a natural process.
  • Excessive wind: Exposing your calla lily to excess wind can affect its leaves and cause them to turn yellow.
  • Wrong manure: Feeding your calla lily with cow manure is terrible for its growth. Cow dung contains excess sodium, which is unhealthy for your calla lilies.

What To Do About When Calla Lily Leaves Are Turning Yellow

If the beautiful leaves on your calla lilies are turning yellow, here are some measures you can take to save the situation:

  • Examine the soil. Calla lilies thrive in loose and well-nourished soil. They need loose soil to absorb and drain water quickly.
  • Remove infected plants. If you discover a diseased plant in your garden, remove it immediately. Leave that soil bare for the next two to three years and plant nothing on it to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Expose lilies to adequate sunlight. Calla lilies require adequate sunlight to thrive. In areas where the sunlight is mild, they can survive; in areas where the sunlight is scorching, especially in the afternoon, a temporary shade will help.
  • Shelter plants from the wind. Don’t plant calla lilies in a windy environment. Plant them close to the fence in your garden where there’ll be less wind. If you’re growing them in a pot, keep your lilies where they can get enough sunlight but less wind.
  • Confirm regeneration. It’s natural for calla lilies to start yellowing at some point in their growth cycle to bring forth new leaves. Check the season and see if this is plausible. When you see new green leaves, trim out the yellow ones.
  • Fertilize properly. Apply fertilizer at least once a day when the calla lilies are still developing. You can use bulb fertilizer or other plant foods, but not cow manure. Once they are grown, stop fertilization.
  • Water the plants. Calla lilies need consistent watering to survive, especially in their early days. However, you shouldn’t water if the soil is still moist from the previous watering. Use your hand to check if the soil is moist or dry before watering.

What To Do if Your Calla Lilies Are Dying

Sometimes, the yellowing of leaves may signal the onset of a more concerning issue.

Several factors, such as too much stagnant water, an overdose of nitrogen in the soil, diseases that cause root rot, and an unfavorable climate, can lead to the death of your calla lilies.

Once you notice your calla lily leaves are beginning to droop or turn yellow, here are some things you should do:

  • Water the plant. If you notice your calla lily leaves drooping, it may indicate dehydration. Watering it for two or three days will cause the leaves to come alive again.
  • Replant into the correct pot. You can use any pot to plant your calla lily, but a little plastic pot will be best. If your calla lily is dying, replant it into a pot with proper drainage and loose soil.
  • Check for root rot. Check the root if you notice that your calla lily isn’t coming up anymore. Gently and carefully lift it from its root and check for any rot. A rotting root smells terrible and appears black.
  • Cut off any rotten roots. If your calla lily has a rotting root, cut off the rotten part. However, if the rot has spread everywhere, it’s late to help your calla lilies. You’d have to uproot them and allow the soil to rest.
  • Replant healthy roots. If your calla lily has rot that has not spread to all parts of the root, cut off the healthy part and replant it. Ensure you replant it into a better pot with good soil.
  • Monitor the plant. You must monitor the plant closely and ensure it has everything it needs to thrive, including proper watering, fertilizer, and sunlight.
  • Trim dead leaves. Trim the dead leaves off the calla lilies after they have bloomed.

When Should You Plant Calla Lilies?

Calla lilies do not do well in the cold. They thrive in warm weather. With this in mind, the best time to cultivate your calla lily is during the spring and summer when the weather is warm.

The warmth of your soil significantly determines how well your calla lilies will grow (or if they will even survive). An ideal soil for planting calla lilies should have a temperature of at least 65°F (18.33°C).

Plant your calla lilies in a pot if your soil isn’t warm enough. You can replant them in your garden when the sun is up and the ground is warm enough during spring.

Don’t keep the lilies close to an air conditioner if you plant them in a pot. Instead, keep them in a warm place. Place the lily close to a glass door or an area where it can receive sufficient sunlight. This strategy would ensure it receives enough sunlight and remains protected from the scorching sun.

How Do I Preserve My Calla Lilies in Winter?

Calla lilies grow well in Florida due to the favorable warm climate. However, in cold zones such as Alaska and North Dakota, calla lilies would be an annual plant.

Calla lilies cannot survive in a winter climate. To preserve them during winter, uproot the rhizomes and store them in a cold box till the next planting season.

Here’s a step-by-step method describing the process:

  1. Ensure you feed and water the lilies properly throughout their blooming season.
  2. Cut off the plant when winter comes, and the first foliage is dried.
  3. Cut off the plant’s stem, leaving only about two inches of the stem.
  4. Uproot the rhizomes and clean them properly using a brush or a cloth.
  5. Find a warm, dry place and keep the rhizomes there for 4-7 days. This procedure will cure them.
  6. After that, you can now wrap up your rhizomes and box them. The place where you keep it should be cool and dry, with temperatures lower than 50°F (10°C).

Three Important Facts About Preserving Calla Lilies

Here is some helpful information to note as you consider preserving your calla lilies ahead of the next planting season.

  • Calla lilies freeze at any temperature below 50°F (10°C). When preserving the rhizomes during winter, don’t keep them where they can freeze. Also, check them from time to time in case the temperature drops further.
  • Do not use water to wash the rhizomes after uprooting. Washing them with water will lead to root rot when you store them.
  • If you live in a consistently warm climate, you can leave your rhizomes in the ground during winter. Since the ground won’t be too cold, the rhizomes will survive till the following year.

Pasja Calla Lily


As lovely as your calla lilies are, they can turn yellow or die completely. Many factors such as the wrong watering system, improper manure, excess nitrogen in the soil, wind, and dormancy can be responsible for this.

However, given proper care and attention, calla lilies bloom beautifully and with large leaves. Calla lilies thrive in warm and sunny seasons, so it’s best to plant them during spring or summer. If you must plant them in winter, plant them in a pot.

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