Thursday, March 26, 2015

Calla Lilies - Flowers for All Occasions

The Calla Lilies are plants belonging to the Zantedeschia genus in the Araceae family. The genus contains seven plant species and they are all commonly referred to as Calla Lillies. Some of them have other common names as well. Zantedeschia aethiopica is also known as giant white arum lily and common arum lily. Zantedeschia albomaculata is sometimes sold as spotted arum lily, and Zantedeschia rehmannii is known as the pink arum lily. Zantedeschia elliottiana has a yellow shade and is therefore called yellow or golden arum lily. The other three species, Zantedeschia odorata, Zantedeschia jucunda and Zantedeschia pentlandii, are usually called just Calla Lilies.

photo credit: wrir4.ucdavis.edu
All the Calla Lilies originate from the African continent and are found wild between north Malawi and South Africa. They are often referred to as Arum Lilies. The Calla Lilies should not be confused with the flowers found in the genus named Calla that can be found in the Araceae family. This genus contains only one species, the Calla palustris, and unlike the Calla Lilies, this plant is native to cool regions in the temperate zoon and grows wild in Europe, North America and northern Asia. Another source of confusion regarding the Calla Lilies is that they actually do not belong to the family of the lilies.

photo credit: fineartamerica.com
The Calla Lilies are all rhizomatous plants that can reach a height of 1-2.5 meters. The leaves will grow up to 45 centimetres. The name Calla is derived from the Greek language and means 'beautiful' and this is a very appropriate name since the Calla Lilies are appreciated world wide for their exquisite beauty. In regions too cold for these flowers, they are cultivated indoors in homes and greenhouses. When you plant your Calla Lily, it is important that the soil is free from salt since Calla Lilies are very sensitive to salt. As long as you provide your Calla Lily with appropriate soil, plenty of water and lot of sunlight it is actually a though and durable plant that grows fast. Use a nutritious soil that drains easily. Place your Calla Lily in direct sunlight or light shade. Calla Lilies will do best when the temperatures are kept over 70 degrees F.

photo credit: cubits.org
An outdoor living Calla Lily will usually require no fertilization as long as it has been planted in rich soil. Indoor Calla Lilies, or outdoor Calla Lilies that are planted in pots, should be given liquid plant food regularly. You can either mix a very weak plant food solution and use every time you water your Calla Lily, or mix a little stronger - but still quite mild - solution and feed your plant every three weeks.

photo credit: ausgardener.com.au
When the blossoming period is over, you should allow the foliage of the plant to mature. Remove the flowers as the start to fade and wither. Slowly decrease the amount of water until the leaves have turned black. The tubers need at least 3 months to rest before they can bloom again. Since the Calla Lily grows fast it will eventually require repotting, and this is the ideal time to do so.

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