Beautiful calla lily won't bloom

I have a calla lily that never blooms. The bulb develops leaves every Spring, so I know it’s still alive. This cycle is repeated, the Calla Lily and me, each season since 2006.

I don’t consider Calla Lilies a “fussy” flower. This beauty started as a potted plant that I transplanted into the garden when the bulbs went dormant the first year. It lives in an indirect-light area of my garden and gets seven to eight hours of indirect sunlight daily.

The calla lily is native to South Africa, where it grows in wetlands and full sun. I’ve narrowed my blooming problem to the sun, water, or dirt. Does that solve the problem?

Full Sun or Partial Shade

The University of South Florida Horticultural Extension published this helpful article on growing Calla Lilies. A local horticulturist told me, and the information tag on my calla lily agreed, that Calla lilies don’t like full sun. That may not be true. I was told not to let the roots get too wet. That’s at least partially accurate.

The South Africa’s climate is very temperate. The average Summer temperature is 81°F and 63°F in Winter. It has a subtropical climate that is more like the Mediterranean. Sunshine may not be the biggest obstacle to growing calla lilies here. The problem is likely in the ground.

Growing plants in Florida’s sandbox

sandy soil in Florida

According to my most recent soil PH test, my garden soil is 93% sand and acidic. Florida is a peninsula; much of its surface once was a beach. Water drains from the “soil” quickly, and gardens dry out fast under the summer sun.

Altering the land’s composition can be challenging. Florida’s sandy soil needs bags of garden soil and organic compost, but those amendments wash away quickly. The alternative is to grow things in raised beds and pots.

What does Calla Lily need?

These lilies grow from bulbs. Not many bulbs flourish in Florida’s hot climate, and bulbs generally won’t grow if you plant them too deep. They prefer nutrient-packed soil that is airy enough for the roots and shoots to get through.

Ultimately, I decided to dig up the calla lily and place the bulb in a patio pot. The patio gets full sun, and I can monitor the soil moisture. This will confirm for me what this plant needs to thrive in my environment, and next Spring, it can be relocated to the perfect place in the yard.

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