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A picture of a Calla Lily

Calla Lily

Zantedeschia spp.

Also known as

Arum Lily, Calla, Pig Lily

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

7b-12b

USDA zone

-15°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.2m

Max

1m

50cm

Min

20cm

2 years to reach maturity

Flowering

    • spring
    • summer
    • autumn
    • winter

    This plant has no fragrance

    More images of Calla Lily

    A photo of Calla Lily
    Zantedeschia (3647511170)
    Arum palaestinum flower
    Cheverny26
    Zantedeschia cv

    Calla Lily Overview

    Zantedeschia is a genus containing around 8 species of herbaceous, perennial flowering plants, native to southern and East Africa. Members of this genus are popular for its striking, upright, spathe around a solitary, finger-like spadix. Flower colour ranges from white, yellow, pink and red. Plants of the genus Zantedeschia are deciduous perennials (may be evergreen) up to 1 m high and survive the dry season through rhizomes or tubers. In most Zantedeschia species, tubers are buried in crevices of rocks. This presumably is an adaptation to keep the tubers and roots cool over the dry season, and in the rainy season, the plants benefit from water channelled into the crevices. Plants in the genus prefer full sun, soil rich in humus, and seasonal watering. Zantedeschia aethiopica grows in both the summer and winter rainfall areas and is evergreen, but will become dormant in dry conditions. All other species (except Zantedeschia odorata ) occur in the summer rainfall region and are dormant in winter. They must, therefore, be kept dry in winter. Zantedeschia odorata, being a winter rainfall plant, is dormant in summer and must be kept dry in the summer months. Indigenous to South Africa, today, numerous Zantedeschia cultivars are available as garden and pot plants and, due to their decorative and long-lasting spathes, they are popular as cut flowers. These cultivars generate high revenue in New Zealand, USA and the Netherlands. A number of hybrids have been developed, that fall in two main groups: Elliottiana hybrids, which usually have dotted leaves and yellow spathes and golden yellow spadices, and Rehmannii hybrids, which have unspotted leaves and white-pink or dark purple spathes, surrounding yellow spadices. Depending on the species, members of this genus can be grown in containers or flower borders/beds in a variety of garden styles, with the species Zantedeschia aethiopica often being cultivated as a marginal aquatic plant.

    Common problems with Calla Lily

    How to harvest Calla Lily

    Generally not harvested, flowers can be cut for floral arrangements as required.

    How to propagate Calla Lily

    Division

    Divide in spring - Check stored tubers and when they begin to show signs of new growth, divide them, making sure each section has a visible bud. Allow the cut areas to dry and callus over for a few days before planting up. In milder areas, lilies can be divided in autumn after the foliage has faded and is easily pulled from the ground. As per stored tubers, ensure each section has at least one growing eye and calluses over before replanting.

    Seed

    Sow seed in spring, one seed per 8 cm pot and keep at 21 C (70 F). Plants should take two or three years to flower.

    Tubers

    Plant out tubers after the last frost. Space them roughly ten cm deep and 30 cm apart, water the area well.

    Special features of Calla Lily

    Attractive flowers

    Attracts useful insects

    Beetles are the most likely pollinators of Zantedeschia flowers.

    Other uses of Calla Lily

    Can be grown as a pot plant indoors or frost-free garden locations. It suits being included in subtropical garden designs.

    Edible

    The tubers of Zantedeschia aethiopica and Zantedeschia albomaculata are reported to be eaten by some African communities in southern Africa. Eating raw tubers causes irritation of the mouth. In the early days the tubers of Zantedeschia aethiopica were boiled and fed to pigs, hence the vernacular name “pig lily". The leaves of Z. aethiopica are cooked as a pot herb by the African and Indian communities in South Africa.

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