Lily – Calla Lily

The regal calla lilies are native to Southern Africa.  They produce flowers that are called ‘bracts’: a funnel-shaped spathe surrounding a central finger-like spadix.  The leaves are either solid green or speckled (silvery-white to cream-yellow) and spear-shaped.  Many new varieties continue to be hybridized to produce thicker stems with more and larger blooms that have less green in them.

It should be noted that white callas are semi-aquatic and their rhizomes thirst for water, but their colourful cousins (such as zandtedschia hybrids) hail from higher ground and their tubers demand drainage.

Plant anytime between February and June (after all danger of frost has passed).  Bright indirect sun is the best.

  • Plant 4 inches deep in porous soil directly in the garden (or in containers).
  • Water when soil is slightly dry but don’t over–water as hybrid callas dislike soggy soil.
  • Eight weeks after planting, flower stalks begin shooting up, and should bloom for the next couple of months.
  • Treat as a tender perennial.
  • The color-soaked hybrids prefer a well-drained, porous soil.  Sandy soils are good if you add fertilizer; clay soils can be tricky, but watch out for too much fertilizer as excessive nitrogen encourages leaves and long stems, squelching bud production. In a fertile soil, no further food is needed.
  • Once you have planted your bulbs they can be left undisturbed in the ground for many years.  Every spring simply give them a top dressing of manure or compost, and this together with regular, deep watering is all they will need to stimulate flowering again.
  • Large overwintered clumps can be divided in the same way as other perennials, by lifting the plant before there is much top growth, and chopping through the roots with a spade and dividing into smaller sections.

 

Calla Lily Majestic – Zandtedschia Hybrids

  • Flowers between July and August
  • Prefers full sun or partial shade
  • Grows 60-80 cm high.
  • Zantedeschia is relatively disease and pest free if grown correctly but watch out for slugs and snails. Caterpillars and especially hawk moth caterpillars sometimes feed on the young leaves of at the start of the growing season, making plants appear leafless.

 

 

 

12 July 2018: I planted long overdue to be planted corm/bulbs for creamy white to fuschia pink flowered canna lily.  Calla Lily Majestic – Zandtedschia Hybrids.  This poor plant is supposed to flower from July to August, and wants to be planted in full sun or partial shade.  We bought the bulbs at Morrisons ages ago – probably already then quite late, but then they languished, forgotten.  Oh well, they have two chances – thrive or die.   So I dug them into the empty spots behind the lavender at the start of the long railway flower bed.  Four sets were planted in, at just over a foot between them.  Good luck to them!   (My mom had lovely white calla lily growing along the stone wall by their driveway at Lahinch, Ireland, so I do live in hope that they will recover from their horrid neglect and sprout growth, then come to flower for us next summer).

 

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