Hydroponic Cultivation of Arum Lilies and Calla Lilies: A Comprehensive Guide

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Arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and Calla lilies (Zantedeschia spp.) are renowned for their elegant and vibrant blooms. Traditionally grown in soil, these lilies can also thrive in hydroponic systems, which offer several advantages, including controlled nutrient delivery and reduced soil-borne diseases. This guide explores the intricacies of growing Arum and Calla lilies in hydroponic systems, leveraging insights from various expert sources.

Benefits of Hydroponic Cultivation

Hydroponics, the method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions, offers several benefits for cultivating Arum and Calla lilies:

  • Controlled Nutrient Supply: Nutrients are delivered directly to the plant roots, ensuring optimal growth and bloom production.
  • Water Efficiency: Hydroponic systems use less water compared to traditional soil-based cultivation.
  • Reduced Disease Risk: Soil-borne diseases are minimized, promoting healthier plants.
  • Faster Growth: Plants often grow faster in hydroponic systems due to the direct access to nutrients and oxygen.

Types of Hydroponic Systems

Several hydroponic systems can be used to grow Arum and Calla lilies, each with its own advantages:

Semi-Hydroponic Systems

Semi-hydroponic systems combine traditional soil growing with hydroponic principles. In these systems, plants are grown in a medium like perlite or vermiculite, which provides physical support and retains moisture while allowing excess water to drain away. This setup ensures the roots have consistent access to water and nutrients without becoming waterlogged.

  • Advantages: Combines the benefits of soil and hydroponic growing. Easy to manage and suitable for beginners.
  • Disadvantages: May require more frequent monitoring to ensure optimal moisture levels.

Ebb-and-Flow Systems

Ebb-and-flow systems (also known as flood and drain systems) periodically flood the plant roots with nutrient solution and then drain it away. This mimics the natural ebb and flow of tides, ensuring the roots get both nutrients and oxygen.

  • Advantages: Provides excellent nutrient and oxygen delivery to the roots. Ideal for plants like Arum and Calla lilies that benefit from occasional dry periods.
  • Disadvantages: Requires a timer and reliable pump to manage the flooding and draining cycles.

Setting Up a Hydroponic System for Arum and Calla Lilies

Choosing the Right Medium

Selecting the appropriate growing medium is crucial for hydroponic success. Arum and Calla lilies thrive in mediums that retain moisture but also allow for good drainage and aeration. Common choices include:

  • Perlite: Lightweight and provides excellent drainage.
  • Vermiculite: Retains moisture well and offers good aeration.
  • Coconut Coir: Sustainable and retains water while providing good aeration.

Nutrient Solutions

Hydroponic nutrient solutions must be carefully balanced to provide all the essential elements that Arum and Calla lilies need. A typical nutrient solution for these lilies should include:

  • Macronutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).
  • Micronutrients: Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulfur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), and Boron (B).

Regularly monitoring the pH and Electrical Conductivity (EC) of the nutrient solution ensures that the plants receive the optimal nutrient levels. The ideal pH range for Arum and Calla lilies is between 5.8 and 6.5. The recommended EC range for these plants typically falls between 1.5 to 2.5 mS/cm.

Light and Temperature Requirements

Arum and Calla lilies require adequate light and the right temperature to thrive. In hydroponic systems, artificial lighting can supplement natural light, especially in indoor setups:

  • Light: Provide 12-14 hours of light daily using LED or fluorescent grow lights. Ensure the light intensity is sufficient for blooming.
  • Temperature: Maintain daytime temperatures between 18°C to 24°C and nighttime temperatures between 16°C to 18°C. Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.

Maintenance and Monitoring

Regular maintenance and monitoring are essential for the health and productivity of hydroponic Arum and Calla lilies:

  • Watering: Ensure the nutrient solution is replenished regularly and the reservoir is kept clean to prevent algae growth.
  • Pest Management: Although hydroponics reduces soil-borne diseases, pests like aphids and spider mites can still affect the plants. Use integrated pest management strategies to control infestations.
  • Pruning: Remove any dead or yellowing leaves to promote air circulation and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.


Growing Arum and Calla lilies in hydroponic systems offers numerous benefits, including faster growth, controlled nutrient delivery, and reduced disease risks. By selecting the appropriate hydroponic system, using the right growing medium, and maintaining optimal nutrient levels, gardeners can enjoy beautiful, healthy blooms year-round. This method not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of these lilies but also demonstrates the versatility and efficiency of hydroponic cultivation.

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