Garden Design

Guide to Calla Lillies: Planting Elegance in the Spring

Guide to Calla Lillies: Planting Elegance in the Spring
The calla lillies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower–suitable to any occasion. Remember the famous line from Katharine Hepburn in classic movie “Stage Door.” Gaining in popularity of late, this South African lilly is a beautiful choice for bouquet or garden and is easy to grow. Here is the what, when, where and how of calla lillies. (The why is obvious–just look at them.)
Zantedeschia aethiopica
Zones 7-10
Long, trumpet-like blossoms in a variety of colors (white, yellow, pink, orange, purple)
Medium green foliage, sometimes spotted
Low maintenance
Grows from bulb, spreads by rhizome
1-3 feet high (except for some extra tall varieties)
Up to a 3-foot wide plant
Easy to grow
Deer resistant and provides ground cover
When the ground is warm, damp and soft
Can be started indoors and may bloom indoors
I have a cala lilly on my desk at home. Grown indoors in a terra cotta pot by my son during this harsh Western New York winter, the bulb produced 2 perfect white flowers during the first week of March.
Where Full sun to filtered sunlight
Beds or borders
In soil which drains well (Soggy is not good.)
In shallow holes with eyes up and exposed to the air
Look for sprouts and roots in 2 to 3 weeks after planting these bulbs.
Keep soil moist but not soaking.
Divide plants to keep them healthy (more air and sun and fewer bugs and fungi). Water them first, and dig up the entire root system with a shovel. Split at root level. Plant them right away; make sure you have scoped out other sites beforehand. Calla lillies spread easily; so dividing them keeps them within borders.
Don’t leave all your calla lillies in the garden. Cut and enjoy singly or as a bouquet in a vase. They will last a good week or more. They are also popular for wedding bouquets. Individual stems sell at florists for $5 or more each. Your gardening efforts can pay off in a very real way with this outstanding flower! General flower care