Caring for your Zantedeschia (Calla Lily, Arum Lily)
Calla Lilies (not considered true lilies) are a very popular flower, especially as a cut flower for weddings and bouquets. Native to southern Africa, they are also known by the names Zantedeschia and Arum Lilies, they are ideas for garden beds and borders, but can also be gorwn in containers.
Calla lilies will bear narrow, lance, or funnel-shaped flowers and are particularly healthy when grown in groups, within a border, or planted in pots and spread out on the patio. The blooms are trumpet-shaped and come in an assortment of colors from yellow, pink, white, purple and orange.
Generally, they don’t require too much attention and are easy to grow, so long as they are planted properly and located appropriately.
- Soil type: Loose, well-draining, peat-free potting compost high in phosphorus
- pH level: between 6.0 - 6.5
- Humidity: normal
- Planting period: February to June
- Light: Full sun to partial shade (ideally bright, indirect light)
- Hardiness: Not frost tolerant (winter hardy in USDA Zones 8-10)
- Great cut flowers: vase life of two weeks
- Warning: Toxic to dogs
- Height: 50 cm
- Width: 35 cm
Planting Calla Lily bulbs
Classified as rhizomes rather than bulbs, make sure that the threat of frost has passed before you plant. A good rhizome will be firm and plump.
Calla lilies need to be planted quite deep, at about 10 centimetres, and spaced approximately one foot apart. Space bulbs around 30-45 cm apart.
Once you have planted your calla lily bulbs, keep the soil moist. They will do well with a monthly dose of fertilizer throughout the rest of their growing season.
Calla lilies need to be watered when the soil gets slightly dry. Avoid allowing these plants, as it can lead to root rot. Typically, outdoor calla lily bulbs will start to sprout within eight weeks of planting and will flower after sixteen weeks– all they need is well-drained, porous soil.
You can keep your calla lilies blooming by deadheading them whenever necessary. This will encourage the plant to flower more frequently.
Growing Calla Lily in pots
Calla lilies can perform well in pots, but they need to be able to drain well so as to prevent any rot and fungal diseases.
Although generally an outdoor plant, they can grow well inside given the right care.
Wintering your Zantedeschia
In mild climates, they can grow in the ground all year round. If you live a USDA hardiness zone cooler than 8, you must dig up your bulbs for winter.
The calla lily blooming period begin slows in the autumn months. At this point, you should gradually cut back on watering to allow their foliage to die back.
Cut off the foliage from the top of the rhizomes, leaving about 2 to 3 inches of the dead leaves. Once you dig up a rhizome, simply gently brush off any remaining dirt. Do not wash or rinse the rhizomes as it can cause rot.
Allow the rhizomes to dry in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place for four to seven days, then place them in storage (such as a ventilated paper bag or wood chips). Store them in a cool, dry place, somewhere that stays around 50 F, such as a garage or basement works well.
You can propagate your rhizomes by separation the following spring.
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