Calla Lily: A Beautiful and Easy-to-Grow Flower

HomePlantsFlowersCalla Lily: A Beautiful and Easy-to-Grow Flower

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Calla lilies are perennial plants that grow from rhizomes, which are underground stems that store nutrients and water. They can grow up to three feet in height, displaying broad, variegated leaves that are often speckled or patterned in distinct configurations.

The stunning flora is a remarkable spectacle, boasting intricately modified leaves, known as spathes, that gracefully enclose a slender yellow spike, called a spadix. The latter comprises the small, yet refined floral organs of the plant, nestled amid the exquisite arrangement.

Calla lilies burst into vibrant bloom from late spring to early summer, subject to varying climatic and botanical conditions. Their magnificent spectacle attracts both casual and sophisticated garden enthusiasts alike, captivated by the exceptional visual and olfactory splendor they emanate.

Water

Calla lilies require moist but well-drained soil and are not tolerant of drought or waterlogging. During the growing season, they should be watered regularly when the weather is hot and dry, and water reduced in the fall and winter when dormant. To check if they need water, insert your finger up to the second knuckle into the soil; if it feels dry, it’s time to water.

Sunlight

Calla lilies thrive in bright, indirect sunlight and require at least 6 hours of exposure per day. They can tolerate some direct sunlight in the morning or evening but not during the hottest midday hours. Overheating can scorch their leaves and flowers, while inadequate light can hinder blooming. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, east or west-facing windows provide optimal light conditions.

Fertilizer

Calla lilies require regular fertilization during their growing season, using a balanced fertilizer suitable for flowering plants. It is recommended to apply the fertilizer every two weeks from spring to summer but to stop fertilizing in the fall and winter when the plants are dormant.

Soil

Calla lilies require rich, organic, slightly acidic soil with good drainage. To improve soil quality, compost, peat, or manure can be added before planting. To prevent soggy soil, sand, perlite, or vermiculite can be added as needed for better drainage.

Pruning

Calla lilies do not require much pruning, except for removing dead or damaged leaves and flowers. You should cut off the flower stalks after they fade, to prevent seed formation and encourage more blooming. You should also cut back the foliage after it turns yellow or brown in the fall, to prepare the plants for dormancy.

Propagation

To propagate Calla lilies, you can divide their rhizomes in the fall or winter, or grow them from seeds. For rhizome division, carefully dig up clumps and separate them into smaller pieces with at least one eye or bud. Replant them immediately or store them in a cool and dry place until spring.

Growing from seeds is more challenging and time-consuming, with low germination rates and long maturity. Collect seeds from ripe pods, sow them in a moist potting mix, and keep them in a warm and bright place. Transplant them into larger pots when they have several leaves.

Temperature

Calla lilies are sensitive to extreme temperatures and prefer a moderate range of 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C). They can tolerate short periods of frost or heat but not prolonged exposure. Outdoor growth should be protected from frost by mulching with straw or leaves in winter, while indoor growth should be away from heating or air conditioning sources that can cause temperature fluctuations.

Container

Calla lilies can be grown in containers or on the ground. Choose a container with sufficient space for the rhizomes and drainage holes. Use a good potting mix with organic matter and well-draining properties. Water container-grown lilies more frequently as they dry out faster. Repot every two years or when root-bound.

Planting time

The best time to plant calla lilies is in the spring, after the last frost. These plants prefer bright but indirect sunlight and well-drained soil. Dig a hole twice the width and depth of the rhizome, with the eye or bud facing up. Cover it with soil and water thoroughly. Space the rhizomes 12 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety.

Characteristics

Calla lilies have strong stems and graceful flowers that can last for several weeks when placed in a vase or pot. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, including classic white, vibrant pink, and exotic black. These beautiful and diverse flowers are highly prized for their aesthetic appeal.

Distribution range

Calla lilies are native to South Africa, where they grow in marshy areas near streams and ponds. They have been introduced to other parts of the world, such as Europe, North America, and Australia, where they have become invasive in some regions. Calla lilies are widely cultivated for ornamental purposes, both indoors and outdoors, and are used as cut flowers or potted plants for special occasions.

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