Read our guide to Zantedeschia Aethiopica for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting and caring for Calla Lily!
Are you looking for a spectacular flower available in a multitude of colours to decorate your outdoor space? Look no further than Calla Lily!
Zantedeschia Aethiopica, commonly known as Calla Lily, is an extraordinary flower that everybody wants to have in their garden. While this flower isn’t considered a true lily, it is a sought-after plant for the beauty of its blooms available in a wide range of colours.
Symbolizing purity, rebirth, holiness, faithfulness, and rebirth, Calla lilies are very popular flowers for special occasion bouquets and other floral arrangements. These gracefully shaped flowers are long-lasting, which makes them a top choice for floral wedding arrangements. And, although you are probably familiar with Calla Lilies in flower arrangements, you might not be aware of the fact that these elegant ornamentals can also be grown as houseplants.
Growing Calla lilies is really easy. These lovely flowers require very little attention. The only essential things that gardeners need to consider are proper planting and location. The fact that they thrive with very little attention also helps with their self-propagation. For example, in coastal California and Western Australia, Calla Lilies are listed as aggressive weeds and invasive species.
Ready to learn more about growing and caring for Calla Lily? Keep reading below!
About Calla Lily
- Calla Lily belongs to the family of Araceae, a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants, and it is native to southern Africa, in areas like Lesotho, Eswatini, and South Africa.
- The botanical name of Calla Lily is Zantedeschia Aethiopica. Other common names of the flower include Arum Lily, African Lily, Trumpet Lily, White Arum Lily, and Calla Aethiopica. In Greek, Calla means beautiful, and this is how this plant got its common name.
- It is important to mention that the Calla Lily is not a member of the real Lily family. In fact, this plant belongs to the Araceae group alongside many popular ornamental houseplants such as monstera, alocasia, colocasia, dieffenbachia, caladium, ZZ plant, and philodendron.
- The most common Calla Lily flowers are white, and they feature a yellow spadix. Other popular cultivars of this plant produce blooms of different colours and have a slightly smaller stature. The most popular types of Calla Lilies include Zantedeschia “Edge of Night,” Zantedeschia “Red Alert,” Zantedeschia “Picasso,” and Zantedeschia “Sunshine.”
- Calla Lilies can find their place in any outdoor space. They are very popular for the spectacular effect they create when planted in drifts through beds and borders and near ponds and other water features. Besides that, Calla Lilies also make excellent houseplants, and they can be used in a number of bouquets and floral arrangements for special occasions.
- Calla Lily has a tropical nature, so it clearly needs a warm environment to thrive, including plenty of light. This flower prefers to grow in full sun to partial shade.
- In terms of soil, Calla Lilies prefer rich, moist, but well-drained soil. These flowers often thrive while growing alongside ponds and other water features and can easily tolerate a location with moist soil. However, good drainage is essential as these flowers are susceptible to root rot.
- Watering is a minimal task with Calla Lily, and this flower doesn’t need to be watered too heavily or too often. Once established, they only need watering once a week if the weather conditions aren’t especially hot or drought-like.
- Again, the tropical nature of this flower also influences the temperatures it prefers. More precisely, Calla Lily likes a relatively warm environment with temperatures between 60-80 °F (15-26 °C). When temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °C), the plant enters dormancy, which is nothing more than a period of rest and metabolic inactivity. During dormancy, Calla Lilies conserve their resources to survive weather extremes. However, frost can kill the plant.
- Calla Lilies are susceptible to several issues, including bacterial soft rot, fungal diseases like Botrytis, and pest infestation. Aphids, slugs, and spider mites are the most common pests that can be an issue for Arum Lilies. Avoiding overwatering is the solution to prevent fungal and root problems. You can treat pests infestation with mild insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Calla Lily Features: An Overview
- Calla Lily is a herbaceous or semi-evergreen perennial that can grow up to 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) tall and 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) wide.
- Calla Lilies feature spectacular trumpet-shaped flowers that are adorned with a yellow spadix. The blooms stand out against long-stalked, dark glossy green leaves.
- In summer, Calla Lilies bloom, producing flowers of a wide range of colours from white to pink, coral, maroon, orange, and yellow, but white Calla Lilies are by far the most popular.
- The magnificent colourful, tubular blooms act like magnets for pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. So, if you want to fill your garden with flowering plants that attract butterflies and other beneficial insects, Calla Lilies are a great option.
- Calla Lily is toxic to both humans and pets. More precisely, all parts of the plant are considered poisonous. This flower contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which, if ingested, can lead to symptoms like vomiting, hypersalivation, and an overall unpleasant experience. The sap of this flower can also irritate the skin and eyes. So, make sure that you plant your Calla Lilies out of your kids’ and pets’ reach.
- Calla Lillies make great additions to woodland gardens, pond gardens, bog gardens, cottage gardens, and any other garden style as long as they get plenty of sunlight and moisture. When grown as perennials in woodland gardens, Calla Lillies can be paired with Impatiens, Irises, Hostas, Ferns, Ligularias, and Astilbes. The best companion plants for annual Calla Lilies that grow in containers are Alyssum, Arums, Heliotrope, Creeping Jenny, Petunias, Dichondra, Geraniums, Marigolds, Zinnias, Asters, Pansies, and other similar flowering plants.
- If the plants mentioned above are not what you’re going for, you can find other plant combinations that suit your garden better. Choosing companion plants for your Calla Lilies isn’t a difficult task, all you have to do is to take a few aspects into consideration. First, it’s important for the plants to have similar needs and to thrive in the environment found in your garden or in your home. Soil type, climate, hardiness zone, light are a few major aspects that will influence your decision. When it comes to Calla Lilies, it is important to pick plants that thrive in moist soil and plenty of sunlight and that have shallow, non-invasive roots.
Growing Calla Lily
Growing Calla Lilies is an easy task, even for inexperienced gardeners. These flowers generally don’t require much of your attention as long as you make sure they get the most vital growing conditions they need.
One essential thing to consider when growing Calla Lily is the right amount of sun exposure. Generally, Calla Lilies prefer to grow in full sun to partial shade. More specifically, if you live in an area with hot and humid summer weather, it’s best to keep your Calla Lilies in a spot where they get partial shade. However, if summers in your area involve a more temperate climate, your flowers can handle and thrive in full sunlight.
Like most flowering plants, your Calla Lilies will also appreciate some feeding that encourages flower growth. These spectacular flowers need feeding upon planting and every spring right before the growing season to help them produce their fantastic blooms. We recommend using a well-balanced fertilizer. However, avoid choosing a blend that includes too much nitrogen as this can reduce the plants’ flowering.
Calla Lilies don’t need regular pruning to thrive, but it is essential that you deadhead the flowers as they wither. Also, don’t prune your flowers in late autumn or early spring, as this may affect potential blooms. When handling Calla Lilies, don’t forget to wear gloves, as their sap is highly irritating.
Planting Calla Lily
The first thing that you are going to need when planting Calla Lilies is a few high-quality rhizomes. High-quality rhizomes can be a bit pricey but they will be worth it as a single rhizome can give more than ten flowers. Calla Lilies are hardy in zones 8-10. They can adjust to zone 7 if you protect them with mulch during the cold season.
- They are stemless plants whose flowers and leaves rise directly from rhizomes.
- Its preferred habitat is in streams and ponds or on the banks.
- They are easy-to-grow and care free, they thrive in full sun or partial shade.
- Applications: Balcony, roof, garden, living room, study, windows, office, etc.
- Grow:Calla lilies are easy to grow and do not require much care,they thrive in full sun or partial shade.
- Air Purification:Calla lily can decompose toxins, fresh indoor air, but also improve the mood, let people feel comfortable, create a warm environment
- Ornamental:Calla Lily long flowering period, can be used as living room, study, office, balcony decoration.
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Planting Calla Lilies is an easy task as well. However, it is essential to properly plant these flowers to help them thrive in your outdoor space. To do so, you need to consider a few aspects, including sun exposure and soil preferences.
First of all, note that it is best to plant your Calla Lilies in spring. However, make sure to wait until the risk of the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed enough for these plants to find a suitable home for your plants.
Next, you need to decide on the best location for your Calla Lilies, depending on the right amount of sunlight they need. As mentioned above, you should choose a spot where your plants get full sun if you live in an area with a more temperate climate and a place where they get partial shade if your summers are particularly hot and humid.
You also need to consider the soil preferences of these flowers. Calla Lilies need rich, moist and well-draining soil. To make your garden soil richer, you can amend it with organic matter, like compost or farm manure, before planting your Calla Lilies. Plus, to improve your soil’s ability to allow extra water to drain properly, you can mix the soil with coarse sand, coco peat, or perlite.
Also, note that these flowers should be planted rather deep to obtain the best results. More precisely, plant your Calla Lilies about 4 inches (10 cm) deep. Plus, make sure to space them about 1 foot (0,5 m) apart.
Finally, after planting your Calla Lilies, make sure to water the area well. Calla Lilies will bloom for 3-8 weeks from midsummer to early fall. Their blooming period can vary based on variety, light, and other environmental factors. Once your Calla Lillies start to bloom, you can harvest their flowers and use them in bouquets and flower arrangements. When the blooming period ends, you might be tempted to cut the foliage. However, it would be best not to, as the leaves will continue to provide nourishment for the plant and prepare it for the next flowering season. You can remove the foliage once it starts to wilt and turn yellow.
Watering Calla Lily
When it comes to watering your Calla Lilies, there are a few critical aspects to keep in mind. More precisely, Calla Lilies like to sit in moist soil, but they don’t like wet feet as they are prone to root rot and other fungal diseases.
Generally, Calla Lilies love moisture, so it’s best to adjust the watering schedule based on the weather in your area and on the surrounding environment. These ornamentals are not resistant to droughts. If your summers are scorching and involve drought-like conditions, water your Calla Lilies more frequently and don’t allow the soil to dry out. Ideally, the soil of Calla Lilies should be evenly moist but not soggy.
One good way to determine when to water your Calla Lilies is to allow the top few inches of the soil to dry before watering again. This will also help you avoid overwatering your plants.
Being big fans of moisture, Calla Lilies can be planted near ponds. But, don’t forget that these plants are quite toxic, so if your pond is populated by fish, don’t submerge these plants in water and keep them away from places where your fish might be tempted to munch on them. For best results, you can plant your Calla Lilies in the boggy areas near your pond. The ideal planting depth for these ornamentals is 5 cm deep (2 inches).
Experts recommend using extra-large fabric planters when placing your Calla Lilies in the pond. You can plant three Calla Lilies in one such planter and it’s recommended to place the planter in a sunny location of your pond area. When growing Calla Lilies in the pond, make sure the water is about 3 cm (1 inch) above the roots.
Propagating Calla Lily
There are two ways in which you can propagate your Calla Lilies: by dividing their rhizome or rooting structure or via seeds. These flowers have a tendency to grow in large clumps that you can divide into separate plants and use for propagation, as discussed in the Planting section. Know that plants grown from rhizome division will grow and flower much sooner than plants grown from seeds.
Dividing a Calla Lily rhizome for propagation is easy. Use a shovel or pitchfork to cut a circle around the root and pull the plant from the ground. Clean off any dirt from the root and place it in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sun exposure. Do not wet or water it at this point. After it has dried out, separate the rhizomes using a sterile and sharp knife. Replant the rhizome in rich, moist, and well-draining soil in your garden or a potting container containing well-draining soil.
If you don’t have any Calla Lilies in your garden, but want to try your hand at growing these stunning ornamentals from seed, you’re going to need a lot of patience and, of course, some seeds. You can purchase Calla Lily seeds from nurseries, growers, and flower catalogues. It is important to mention that although growing Calla Lilies from seed isn’t a difficult task, it might take up to three years for the plants to reach maturity and finally produce blooms.
If are the lucky owner of Calla Lilies, you can harvest the seeds from the spent flowers. Each Calla Lily seed pod consists of one or two seeds that will take a few months to reach maturity. So make sure you leave the seed pods attached to the flower until they are mature and ready to be harvested. In general, Calla Lily seeds can be harvested in the fall. The seeds need to go through a dormancy phase after harvesting, so the ideal planting season is next spring. If you plan on growing the plants indoors, in containers, you can try your hand at sowing them right away.
So, the first step is starting the seeds on a damp paper towel that’s placed in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight. When you notice the first signs of growth, you can plant the viable seeds in the soil and discard the ones that don’t sprout. The ideal containers for your seedlings should have drainage holes. Fill them with well-draining soil and plant two seeds per container. Keep the soil evenly moist until your seeds sprout.
The seedlings need plenty of indirect light and moisture to grow. If you want to transplant them in your garden, do it in late spring or early summer when temperatures are warm and make sure that the seedlings have several pairs of leaves. Plant the seedlings at a similar depth in the garden bed as they were planted in the container and make sure they get at six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Calla Lilies need plenty of water to thrive so make sure you don’t allow their soil to dry out completely.
Calla Lilies Pests and Diseases
Calla Lilies are stunning ornamentals that thrive in moist environments, and as you might already know, moisture attracts a wide range of pests and diseases. Very common enemies of Calla Lilies are fungal and bacterial diseases. Calla Lilies can be affected by several types of rot that usually lead to wilting, unhealthy plants, and eventually death. Pythium rot, root rot, and crown rot are all examples of issues that occur due to poorly-drained soil.
The first signs of Pythium rot are water-soaked lesions that appear on the foliage of infected plants. Yellowing leaf margins can be a sign of root rot, while crown rot manifests as yellowing leaves. Another bacterial disease that affects Calla Lilies is soft rot. All of these types of rot tend to develop in moist and warm conditions.
Calla Lilies can also be affected by grey mould, leaf spots, blight, Armillaria rot, and powdery mildew. Some viruses such as dasheen mosaic and spotted wilt can also attack Calla Lillies. Dasheen mosaic can be the result of an aphid infestation and the first signs are unhealthy-looking plants and mosaic-like patterns on the foliage. Spotted wilt manifests as white or yellow spots or streaks that appear on the foliage, on flower stalks, and petioles and are usually spread by thrips.
The easiest way to keep your Calla Lilies healthy is by ensuring that your plants don’t grow in soggy soil. By avoiding overwatering, you avoid a large number of issues, including the ones described above. Weeds and decaying plants act as magnets for pests and fungal pathogens. So, it is very important to keep your garden clean and to remove any decaying plants and debris.
Growing Calla Lilies is an easy and rewarding task. These flowers will make a great addition to your garden, your pond, or your home and they will reward you with their spectacular flowers. Another great thing about Calla Lilies is the fact that these ornamentals attract pollinators that benefit your other garden plants.
Calla Lilies look fantastic in any outdoor space, and you can also take them inside as cut flowers or use them to create some magnificent floral arrangements and bouquets. Are you growing Calla Lilies? Let us know in the comments!