Calla Lily: Beautiful flowering plant comes in multiple varieties based on flower colors

Calla Lily: Beautiful flowering plant comes in multiple varieties based on flower colors
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Image by Jan Haerer from Pixabay

They are ornamental plants grown for their beautiful flowers. The plants are easy to grow and have low maintenance if grown in suitable conditions. They are grown from rhizomes and can be grown in beds and borders.

Quick Details of Calla Lily

Other Common NamesArum lily, Pig lily, Easter lily
TypeFlowering ornamental outdoor/indoor plant.
MaintenanceLow/ moderate
FloweringSpring, summer and autumn
LightBright indirect light
WaterRegular watering. Require more watering in growing season.
TemperatureWarm climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil. Keep the soil mulched to retain moisture in the soil.
FertilizerAny liquid plant fertilizer. Require more fertilization in the growing period. Use of organic fertilizers is best.
HabitatLesotho, South Africa, Swaziland 
ToxicityToxic to animals
Common DiseasesRoot rot, crown rot, spotted wilt
Scientific nameZantedeschia aethiopica

Calla Lily Buying Instructions

  • Based on color or flower, Calla Lily come in multiple varieties. Pick plant of your choice.
  • Very good plant to gift someone.
  • Plant should have multiple shoots coming up from soil.

Overview of Calla Lily

They are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants belonging to the family of Araceae. They are evergreen plants under favourable climatic conditions. They mostly grow in streams or ponds or on their banks. The plants can grow up to a height of 3-4 feet fall. The leaves are dark green in colour and the flowers are either white spathe or yellow spadix. The ingestion of the plants can cause burning sensation and swelling of lips, throat, tongue and stomach pain. The plants contain calcium oxalate which causes irritation.

Special Features of Calla Lily

It is the national flower of Saint Helena. The plants are considered to be a symbol of purity, hope, faith, rebirth. The white flowers are used in weddings as a symbol of devotion. It is also used in funerals to symbolize rebirth and purity. The purple flowers denote royalty and yellow stands for appreciation.

Usage and Advantage of Calla Lily

  • The plants are mostly grown for ornamental purposes.
  • In some parts of Africa, the rhizome of the plant is used as medicine.
  • The flowers have cultural significance and are used in many ceremonies.

General Care for Calla Lily

The care for calla lilies varies. The plants with white plants are semi aquatic and require soggy or water logged soil whereas the other varieties prefer a well-drained soil.

Soil: The plants with coloured flowers prefer sandy soil or any well drained soil. They grow in rich fertile soil. The wild varieties with white flowers prefer a heavier soil that can hold water in them.

Watering: The coloured varieties do not prefer extensive watering. Water only when the soil is dry. The white flowered plants however prefer moist conditions and should be watered regularly to maintain the moisture in the soil. the plants should not be watered after the blooming period as it enters a dormant stage (November)

Light: They prefer bright indirect sunlight. The plants should not be placed in shade as it can affect the formation of the buds. Excess exposure to the sun can also harm the plants. The plants can be kept indoors during winters.

Pruning: The leaves can be cut down or removed once it dries off. The plants should be re-potted before the blooming period

Fertilizer: Any fertilizer rich in nitrogen, compost ones in a month.

Pests and other problems for Calla Lily

The plants are prone to many diseases:

The plants can be affected by different types of rot resulting in poor growth and death of the plants.

Crown rot can cause yellowing of the whole leaves while root rot causes the leaf margins to change colour. The Pythium rot causes formation of water lesions on the leaves. Soft rot is seen to affect the rhizome of the plant.

The plant is also susceptible to powdery mildew, gray mold, blight and leaf spots.

Spotted wilt and dasheen mosaic are two common viral diseases caused in calla lilies. This causes the formation of yellow or white spots on the flower leaves. The spotted wilt is spread through thrips and dasheen wilt is spread through aphids.

Control: the diseases can be controlled by making sure that the plants are not over watered. The diseased parts of the plants can be removed. Removing the debris of the plants from the soil also prevents the growth and spread of the fungus. In severe cases the plants can be sprayed with neem oil or any fungicides. The pests can be removed by spraying pesticides or hose spraying water. The parts of the plants infected with the virus can be chopped off.

Propagation of Calla Lily

The propagation is done through rhizome. The rhizomes are to be buried at a minimum 4 inches deep. The plants prefer moisture. The soil should be watered regularly and care should be taken to ensure there is moisture in the soil. They are usually planted in the spring (February to June)

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