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Calla Lily Leaves Turning Yellow? (Here’s What to Do)

Calla Lily Leaves Turning Yellow? (Here’s What to Do)

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The calla lily, also known as Zantedeschia, is a versatile and eye-catching addition to any garden. With its elegant blooms and lush foliage, it’s a favorite among many gardens. 

When those beautiful calla lily leaves start turning yellow, it can be concerning and frustrating. There’s no need to worry, though; I’m here to tell you what to do to save your plant when its leaves are turning yellow.

Calla Lilies Come In A Multitude Of Colors

Overview of Calla Lilies

The calla lily is a beautiful plant that’s available in a multitude of different colors and is great for your flower bed or for bordering the garden. Calla lilies can also be grown in containers, which further improves their aesthetic appeal. 

It’s easy to grow these plants because they do not require much attention on your part. As long as you plant them carefully and ensure the plant is in an adequate spot, you won’t have much to worry about.

You just have to make sure that the calla lilies are planted in well-drained, loose soil. These plants need partial or full sun for most parts of the day, so it’s recommended that you take care of this.

When it comes to caring for the calla lilies, you don’t need to do much. Like all other plants, you have to water them and make sure that you fertilize the ground at least once a month. It might be a wise idea to first poke your finger in the ground to check whether the soil already has moisture inside or not.

Excessive watering could damage the plant, so it’s recommended that you check first before you add more water. Most people are under the impression that they need to water the calla lilies at least once a day. 

Needless to say, that’s a bad idea. Not only could it cause waterlogging in the soil, but the plant could also experience premature death.

There is always a risk that the leaves of your calla lilies might begin to turn yellow over time. This could happen due to a number of different reasons, so it is important for you to first rule out all of the reasons and isolate the problem carefully.

3 Reasons Calla Lily Leaves Are Turning Yellow

Below are the potential reasons calla lily leaves may turn yellow: 

Dying Leaves

Dying Calla Lily Leaves Will Turn Yellow Automatically

One of the things that you should know about these plants is that they tend to replace their leaves over time. When the leaves of the plant begin to die, they will start turning yellow.

This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the plant, it’s just a natural process in which the older leaves are going to be replaced with newer ones.

The flowers of this plant tend to grow directly from the bulb. This can reach up to 36 inches in height on a leafless stalk. Over time, these flowers will die and they will be replaced by new ones. 

The same happens with all other plants, so there might not be a reason to panic just yet.

Wait to see if the yellowing leaves are replaced by fresh new growth. If it doesn’t happen, you might want to move on to the next reason and figure out why this is happening.

Care Issues

Care issues are likely to arise if you are not particular about the needs of the plant. 

Transplanting Stress

If you decide to transplant the calla lily, there is a strong chance that the leaves of the plant are going to turn yellow. The plant is likely to suffer from transplant stress over time, and it could cause certain leaves to die. It’s a common occurrence because the root system takes a bit of time to develop in the new location.

In this case, you might have to remove the yellowed leaves and make sure that all of the plant’s needs are met so that it can grow in its new location.

More importantly, you should know that when the plant enters a dormancy period, the foliage is likely to wilt and die. It’s going to turn yellow first and then certain parts of the foliage are going to die.

You have to allow the plant to turn yellow and enter its period of dormancy. There is nothing for you to worry about as this is a purely natural process. You might want to water the plant infrequently for several months since it will be dormant and won’t require as much water.

After a few months, you will notice new growth in the plant. This indicates that the plant is now leaving its dormancy period.

Excessive Wind or Drafts

Excessive wind or drafts where the plant is kept could also cause the plant to wilt and turn yellow. You might want to keep the plant in a protected and sunny area so that the wind can’t cause much damage to it.

Ideally, if you have a fence around your garden, make sure you plant the calla lily in the corner so that it will remain protected from wind on all sides.

Cow Manure in the Soil

Another common mistake that can cause the plant to wilt and die is the addition of cow manure to the soil. Cow manure contains a considerable amount of sodium and could lead to what is known as a salt overdose in your plants. You will notice the leaves turning yellow, curling, and dying.

If you have accidentally added cow manure into the soil, the only option available to you is to uproot the plant and then transplant it into another location. You might want to use fresh potting soil to make sure that the transplant stress is reduced.


The calla lily plant is susceptible to root rot, which occurs when there is excessive moisture in the soil. One of the most obvious symptoms of root rot is the yellowing of leaves.

If you notice this happening even though the plant is properly protected and has access to sunlight, consider the level of moisture in the soil. 

In most cases, you can just gauge the level of moisture by checking the soil with your finger. That said, there is a better way to determine the level of moisture in the soil: a hygrometer.

When you are transplanting a calla lily, don’t plant it so deep that the soil covers the base of the stem. If you are going to plant the calla lily in a container, you have to make sure that there are appropriate drainage holes inside that allow water to drain from the plant.

Preventative Measures to Consider

Taking a proactive approach is key to maintaining healthy, vibrant calla lilies and preventing issues like yellowing leaves. Start by ensuring your plant is in the ideal conditions it needs to thrive.

Choose a location that provides partial to full sun exposure. Calla lilies do best with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. The soil should be rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic, with a pH between 5.6 and 6.5.

Calla lilies prefer consistently moist but not waterlogged soil. So, you should water when the top 1-2 inches of the soil begins to dry out. 

Avoid letting the soil become totally dry or allowing it to remain soggy after extended periods, as both can lead to stress and yellowing. You may need to adjust the watering frequency based on factors like climate, container size, and plant maturity. 

Regular fertilization is another important preventative measure. Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer monthly during the growing season to ensure your plants have access to the nutrients they need. 

Pay close attention to any signs of nutrient deficiencies and address them promptly. 

Final Thoughts

Calla lilies are undoubtedly beautiful, but their leaves can turn yellow for a variety of reasons. 

By understanding the potential causes and taking appropriate action, you can get your beloved plants back on track and enjoy their stunning blooms for years to come. 

Whether it’s adjusting your watering, addressing a pest or disease, or simply allowing for natural leaf turnover, a little care and attention can make all the difference.

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Tuesday 20th of April 2021

Thanks for this very useful insight. Question: once the leaves turn yellow, shall we cut them or just leave them where they are? What is the recommendation? Many thanks!


Monday 15th of March 2021

Thank you for the most helpful article. It goes well beyond the usual "too much water, the roots are rotting" advice which most of us know already. Pam


Monday 15th of March 2021

Hi Pamela!

I'm so glad I was able to help. Good luck with your calla lilies!