The calla is a very beautiful and quite common garden plant, it is a perennial bulbous plant characterized by tall and erect stems, on top of which there is a yellow spadix wrapped in a leaf with a characteristic funnel shape, which can be white or colored. The calla, whose scientific name is Zantedeschia and is native to the African areas below the equator, can be, as mentioned, with white or colored flowers, note that the difference between the two varieties can be deduced simply by observing the bulbs. The bulbs of white calla, the most common ones, are in fact very large (even 12 cm) and have an elongated shape; a sort of large clod is born from the bulb which initially develops a sprout and then, developing, produces others. On the other hand the bulbs of colorful calla lilies they are much smaller, rarely exceeding 8 cm, and have a round and not elongated shape; great difference in the shoots, the white calla develops a single shoot, which then multiplies in the development phase, on the contrary, instead, from a bulb of colored calla, several shoots bloom immediately.
The calla, being a plant of African origin, can only be a great lover of the sun and an enemy of the cold. In fact it is good to choose a rather sunny place, where perhaps for an hour or two the plant is also in contact with the sun's rays, to plant your bulb, while, otherwise, if you keep it in a vase, it is not a bad idea to keep it in the sun for a couple of hours a day. The plant, however, during the winter period can have some problems with the cold, it is however necessary to clarify that if the temperature does not drop a few degrees below zero there is no problem. If you live in a very cold area it is a good idea to dig up the bulbous plants after flowering, to do so wait for the foliage to become dry, and store the bulbous plants in a cool and dry place until the favorable period for flowering. One thing not to do absolutely is to cover the plants with nylon sheets, these sheets do not let the soil transpire and rather than repair the plants from the cold they create condensation and humidity; if you deem it necessary to cover the plant then use breathable sheets, but keep in mind that in general it is a decidedly useless thing.
The calla should generally be planted in a rather rich and fertile soil to which it is good to add a little peat to give it more consistency. If you plant them in pots, it is usually a good idea to add a little sand to the bottom, in order to make the soil in which the bulb will be buried more draining, thus creating the ideal solution to avoid too much humidity and consequent rot.
Once the soil has been prepared it is time to plant the bulbs, the calla is divided into two species, some with early flowering, others with late flowering. The early flowering species will be interred between the end of August and the middle of September, no later than; the late flowering species, on the other hand, should be planted at the end of February. Repotting has no particular indications other than to bury the rhizomes of late flowering species at least 10 cm deep, for the timing the one already specified is fine.
Calla lily watering is divided into two phases, recognizable because the first is identifiable with the growth of leaves and flowers, while the second is characterized by their absence. When the plant is beginning to give birth to foliage and buds, it is advisable to start watering the plant regularly, increasing the dosage more and more until you get abundant irrigations when the plant is in bloom. Conversely, when there are no leaves and flowers, stop irrigation, and give a little water from time to time just to keep the soil from drying out. Obviously it is always necessary to keep in mind the general principle of not "drowning" the plant, avoid wetting the plants directly and do not create a pond under it, too much water can cause humidity as always, making the bulb and roots mold.
Fertilizing the calla plant is a job of a few months, in fact it is reduced only to the flowering period. In fact, when you see the first buds sprout, since you have begun to water with greater generosity, dilute the liquid fertilizer in the water, avoiding following the doses indicated on the package you buy, put a little less in the water but give it consistently every ten or a fortnight during the flowering period, the results are sure to come. Without going to see one by one the elements that the fertilizer must contain, choose in your trusted garden a product designed for plant growth, which is therefore, to be clear, rich at least in potassium and phosphorus.
The calla multiplies through the rhizomes. To reproduce the plant, therefore, at the time of repotting, cut the rhizomes that you will find very carefully. Please note that the cut must be clean and precise, made with a sterilized and very sharp knife; after cutting it is advisable to treat the severed part of both the main bulb and the rhizome with fungicide products to avoid any negative onset. After the treatment, buried at a depth of at least 10 cm, the soil must be a good mix of fertile earth and peat, water very rarely just to keep the soil from drying out and keep the jar in a very warm place. When you see the first sprouts it will be a sign that the operation has been successful, at this point you can repot the new plants and you can begin to treat them as adult specimens. The multiplication of the calla can however also take place by seed, however it is a very long more than complex operation, just think that it takes something like four years to see a seed generate a beautiful flowering plant.
This plant does not need excessive pruning, the only thing to do is periodically check and eliminate the dry leaves and withered flowers, which can be a vehicle for parasitic diseases and can in any case take a lot of energy from your plant. For the rest there is no need for further or deeper pruning.
Regarding flowering, we have already specified a couple of paragraphs above that there are two different general categories of calla lilies, those with early flowering and those with late flowering. Early flowering calla lilies bloom in a period between February and May, obviously depending on the type of climate they encounter and in which they are grown; the late flowering calla lilies, on the other hand, have a flowering period that goes from March to October.
The leaves of the calla are very sensitive and serve as a yardstick to measure the quality of watering and the goodness of the place chosen as a dwelling. In fact, if the leaves are too yellow it means that the soil remains too dry between one irrigation and the other, and it is good to increase the frequency and quantity a little, if instead the leaves are burned it is perhaps due to prolonged exposure to rays. of the sun, remember that this plant is certainly a great lover of the sun but spending too many hours in contact with the direct rays of the sun can do a lot of harm to your calla, also be careful not to wet the leaves when watering, the drops of water work like real lenses and can promote burns. It is very important to prevent aphids and parasites, which usually attack the calla. Frequently using a good pesticide is in most cases more than enough, however, if this is not enough, it is good to contact your garden for advice on a good product to combat the problem. Attention also to the cochineal, easily recognizable for the formation of flakes very similar to cotton balls in the lower part of the leaves, this disease is not particularly serious and you can remove the white parts even with cotton well soaked in alcohol; however, be careful if the phenomenon becomes too widespread and frequent, in this case contact your garden and ask for a suitable product to permanently eliminate the infestation.
Keeping in mind what has been said so far, if you go to a garden to buy an already formed calla plant try not to take one destined to death. Usually the gardens take great care of their plants but keep in mind a couple of tips: in the meantime, generally, the plant should have a non-dry soil, this will indicate that the plant has been well cared for by the shopkeepers and has not been abandoned to itself, also always try to take plants that are not too flowering, always check if there are some with some flowering buds and others about to blossom, and without further delay buy the latter. Keep in mind the flowering periods because often if you take flowering plants out of season it could mean that they have been forced. However, this is not always true, sometimes in fact the cultivation in greenhouses at set temperatures allows you to manipulate the flowering period, but it is still good to ask the staff for information.
Calla aetiopica is one of the most common varieties, this is white and blooms early; it is a variety that is very afraid of the cold and therefore needs an effective shelter during the winter. Among the other colorful and late flowering species we mention the albomaculata, the pentlandii, the elliottiana and the rehmannii, all brightly colored and very bright, and all without the need for special care or that go beyond what has been said in this short page of explanations. .
The origin of the name of this plant is really curious, it arrived in Europe in the eighteenth century and took the scientific name of Zantedeschia as it is dedicated to the Italian botanist Francesco Zantedeschi, however its popular name, which has Greek origin, is much more widespread. Calla in fact comes from Kalos, which in Greek means beautiful.
Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum). Photo: walmart.com
In North America, the tradition of Easter flowers doesn't go that far back. This is partly because many of the first settlers were of Puritan stock and not given to becoming too excited about gaudy blooms. And it was a hard scrabble life for many generations: people tended to concentrate more on keeping the family fed and clothed than blooms. And also, in the Northeast especially, there really wasn't much in bloom you could use as a floral decoration that early in spring (North America is the coldest continent after Antarctica, with spring weather arriving many weeks later than in much of Europe) . Even on Palm Sunday, which is celebrated with palm fronds elsewhere, North American colonists had to be make do with whatever vegetation they could find that was still green, such as fir and spruce branches.
It really wasn’t until after the First World War that the first discernable Easter flower came to the fore in North America. The white trumpet lily (Lilium longiflorum), from the Japanese island of Ryukyu, began to be grown in pots for Easter on the West Coast and was soon selling as “the Easter lily,” a name it has kept ever since. Now it’s so popular that more than 12 million are grown for Easter every year. And our society is less puritanical these days — and richer, too, better able to afford buying flowers — and has therefore opened up to other Easter flowers as well: spring bulbs, potted hydrangeas, etc.
Elsewhere in the world, though, floral traditions associated with Easter are much older, often going back centuries. Indeed, most predate Christianity and even the death of Jesus, holdovers from long-forgotten pagan spring festivals. Few homes and churches elsewhere in the world are not filled with flowers each year at Easter time, as they have been for centuries.
Here are some examples of Easter flowers throughout the world.
In England, the pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) (the name means Easter flower) has long been the staple Easter flower, but the pussy willow (Salix spp.) is even more popular. It has the advantage of blooming so early that even when Easter comes in March while pasqueflower are still dormant, the fuzzy white flowers of the pussy willow are always available.
The traditional Easter flower varies by region in France. In some regions, it is, as in England, the pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) in others, the lawn daisy (Bellis perennis), which the French call pâquerette (little Easter flower). In general, though, and also in other European countries, the yellow daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus and others) is the prime floral symbol of Easter. It is closely associated with the resurrection because the flower seems to appear out of nowhere from a seemingly dead earth.
In Ireland, there is an Easter lily (lile na Cásca in Irish), but it’s not a real lily (Lilium) at all. Rather, it's the white calla (Zantedeschia aethiopica). This tradition began after the Easter Rising of 1916 when around 400 people died and white calla flowers were given away at the funerals. Today, this false Easter lily is considered a symbol of peace.
The red tulip is the traditional symbol of Easter in Germany. Its intense color is said to represent the blood of Christ.
In addition to the yellow daffodil, the iris is a popular Easter flower in these two countries, especially the purple Dutch iris (Iris × hollandica), as the color purple is associated with the passion of Christ.
As in England, the pussy willow, the first spring flower in most of Russia, is the traditional Easter flower. Besides, it is the traditional substitute for palm branches on Palm Sunday in Orthodox churches, given the general absence of palms trees in Russia and its neighboring lands. Orthodox priests bless pussy willow branches on Palm Sunday, then people take them home and display them in their homes until the following year. They are then ritually burned on Shrove Tuesday (Масленица) providing the ashes for Ash Wednesday (Пепельная Среда), the first day of Lent.
Although we all know it by the vulgar name of Calla (a name that was initially attributed to the genus by Linnaeus, then remained in common use), it belongs to the botanical genus Zantedeschia.
The name already makes us understand which plant we are dealing with, in fact "Calla" derives from the Greek "Kalos", meaning "beautiful", in short, this flower has always been highly appreciated!
A little curiosity derives, in addition to the vulgar name, from the botanical name "Zantedeschia", in fact this name was given to it by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel, dedicating it however to an Italian botanist friend of his, Giovanni Zantedeschi, with whom he held a close relationship epistolary.
In the texts it is in fact correctly named as Zantedeschia aethiopica (Linn.) Spreng., Thus attributing the first identification to Linnaeus and the current binomial nomenclature to Sprengel.
The name of the species "aethiopica" derives from the area of origin of the species, which is not what we know today as Ethiopia, but in a generic way the southern part of the world that was known at the time, more or less identifiable as the area to the south of the Sahara desert.
In English it is known by the vulgar name of Arum lily.
We find ourselves once again within the fascinating world of Araceae, a family that never ceases to surprise us with the vastness and charm of its genres. This affiliation will be understood by lovers of botany for many characters common to the Araceae of our apartments, first of all the beautiful spadix inflorescence.
The genus Zantedeschia includes 8 species of rhizomatous or tuberous perennials, usually found in humid and marshy soils, often at the edge of the stretches of water located in eastern and southern Africa.
Attention: Z. aethiopica it should not be confused with other species of Zantedeschia such as Z. elliottiana is Z. rehmannii, nor with their recent commercial hybrids, often denoted by colorful spathe and spotted leaves. These, in fact, unlike the Z. aethiopica, have a reduced hardiness at low temperatures and should be kept in a cold greenhouse during the cold season, except in areas with mild winters.
There Zantedeschia aethiopica, is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial, acaule, evergreen in mild winter areas.
It has radical leaves (those closest to the root, which seem to arise from it) with a long spongy petiole. The leaf blade is sagittate or astate.
The flower is typical of the Araceae: an inflorescence formed by a central bright yellow spadix that bears the male flowers (staminate flowers) in the upper part and the female ones in the lower part (in the lower quarter, for 1-2 cm.) (pistillate flowers). The spadix is wrapped in a white spatula (a particular type of bract, or a transformed leaf that accompanies the flower).
The blooms start at the end of winter and last until late summer.
When fully developed, it reaches the size of about 90 cm in height and the same in width.
Originally from South Africa and Lesotho.
CARE AND CULTIVATION OF THE CALLA
It is possible to grow Z. aethiopica indoors, as an indoor plant: it will tend to remain evergreen but a period of summer vegetative rest is welcome.
More frequent is the use of this plant outdoors, both in the flowerbed and as a water margin plant, for example in the areas of the banks of ponds and streams: in the latter case it should be grown in baskets of 25-30 cm in diameter, containing greasy and heavy substrate, the pots must be submerged throughout their depth, making the surface of the soil coincide with the surface of the water.
Aethiopica tolerates winter lows down to -5 / -10 ° C (H4 according to RHS rating, USDA zones 8-10) and is therefore rustic throughout the peninsula, with the exception of the pre-alpine and northern alpine areas.
In areas subject to frost, it is good to mulch the soil at the end of autumn (often in less mild areas it tends to go into vegetative rest depriving itself of all or part of the foliage), for example with dry leaves, straw or mature manure.
Alternatively, in colder areas, it is possible to extract the rhizomes from the ground before the arrival of frosts, keeping them well cleaned and dry in a cardboard box, in a cool place and away from light.
If grown indoors, domestic temperatures around 20 ° C are ideal, the plant will tend to appear as evergreen.
In general, we keep in mind that sudden changes in temperature are annoying for the plant.
During winter, autumn and the first months of spring it is advisable to give the Calla as much light as possible, even direct. In the warmer months it is preferable to post it in a more sheltered and cool location. If grown in pots, on the other hand, the best placement is in areas with screened light.
In general, however, it is a plant that loves sunny positions and tolerates even half-shade solutions very well.
Being semi-marshy plants, if grown in pots, it is good that the jars are always kept immersed in a few centimeters of water, perhaps with the help of deep saucers. Alternatively, it is still good to always leave the soil moist, being careful not to let the substrate dry out during the months in which the plant is vegetated.
The abundant wettings gradually decrease after the withering; the wettings must decrease until they are reduced to just enough to always keep the soil moist. A good practice is to stop wetting at the end of summer by sending the plant to rest and leaving the rhizome completely dry for at least two months, in order to trigger a period of vegetative rest in this case the wetting will resume at the beginning of winter, increasing it in concert with the development of new vegetation.
As for the soil it does not have difficult tastes, a moist and well-draining soil with an acidic, alkaline or neutral pH will be sufficient. As always, we recommend our trusted One plus, One or Florenpot. Unless you decide to grow it as an aquatic one (in which case we will use a heavy soil), it is good to remember that, although you love persistent moisture in the soil, a draining substrate should be used.
For those who love to build their own substrate independently we can recommend a mixture of equal parts of peat and leaf earth with a generous addition of sand and charcoal grits.
Fertilization must be done during the vegetative phase and in particular during flowering, fertilizing about twice a month with a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants diluted in irrigation water. It is advisable to reduce the doses a little compared to those recommended on the label and obviously halve the monthly doses if we opt for fertilization every two weeks.
It propagates by division of the rhizomes taking care to leave one or more buds on each portion of them. It can also be reproduced by sowing the seeds brought into the berries of the infructescences, bearing in mind that this second method is generally slower.
If you opt to start with your own cultivation from bare rhizomes, they should be planted in early spring (March / April or in any case after the cold, until May) at a depth of about 5-10 cm. It is advisable to space the bulbs by about 40-50cm from each other as the large leaves of the Calla need space to be able to develop at their best.
Pay attention to the soil: as already pointed out it must be cool and moist.
As for the position, it is better to choose an area with a sunny surface but which still remains cool.
For the rest, here is a guide on how to plant bulbs!
A real pruning is not foreseen but it is advisable to remove the blackened leaves after the frosts and in general to keep the plant clean from dryness.
It can be done as needed, normally the calla is repotted more or less every 2 years.
It can be the object of attacks by aphids and thrips, which can be controlled with a specific insecticide and to a lesser extent it is vulnerable to fungal diseases, bacterial and virosis rot.
Its main enemy, however, is the snail, greedy for its leaves. To control these creatures there are alternative products to classic snails (very toxic and potentially deadly for animals and people) such as rock dust.
Under its beauty lies the danger, it is in fact very toxic (only in case of ingestion) both for humans and for animals. The sap can irritate the skin and eyes, so it is advisable to use gloves and / or other safety devices when handling it.
The calla, a plant with splendid foliage, already decorative even without the flower, is not suitable for growing all year round in the open ground in cold climates while it remains in vegetation for most of the year in the milder areas. In pot it is proposed as a seasonless plant because it can be easily forced. It blooms between winter and spring. The colored-flowered varieties have been selected to stop at a height of around 50 cm, forming tufts about 40 cm wide.
Plant cards: Zantedeschia aethiopica, colored calla
A surprise awaits tourists from the northern hemisphere visiting these countries at Easter, because the traditional Easter flower is… the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), which is our Christmas flower! But of course, the seasons are reversed in the south of this continent and the poinsettia thus blooms during their fall, when Easter occurs. In fact, they call the poinsettia flor de pascua (Easter flower). Its red color doesn’t upset anyone, but is rather considered a symbol of the blood of Christ!
If you thought the passionflower (Passionflower spp.) had any relation with romantic passion, you’d wrong. The name signifies the passion of Christ. From the 16th century on, Spanish missionaries used it as a tool to teach the story of Christ to the natives in the following way: the flower's ten tepals represented the ten faithful apostles (this excludes Peter, the denier, and Judas Iscariot, the traitor ), the three stigmata recall the three nails, the five anthers are the five sacred wounds, the tendrils symbolize the whips of flagellation and the circle of filaments in the center of the flower allude to the crown of thorns. Quite the Easter flower, in a very lugubrious way, don't you think?
In some areas of Brasil, a large shrub with purple flowers, Tibouchina mutabilis, is the symbol of Easter. And the Northerners' Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera spp.), which actually comes from Brazil, blooms in the opposite season there and is thus called Easter cactus (cactus de Páscoa) in that country.
Since Australia is also in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter takes place in the fall and therefore it’s mostly fall flowers that are associated with Easter celebrations. And the New England aster or Michaelmas daisy (Symphotrichum novae-angliae), although native to North America, is the most popular Easter flower. Logically, it's called Easter daisy in Australia. And the Easter lily (Lilium longifolium), which North Americans have to force in special greenhouses to get to bloom at Easter, flowers quite naturally at Easter down under.
No matter where you live, therefore, you can celebrate Easter with flowers. Go to your local garden center and discover the profusion of beautiful pots of bloom that await you!
The Calla Lily is a beautiful plant, whether grown outdoors or indoors in a decorative pot by a sunny window. This elegant plant, native to the marshes of South Africa, is not really a lily at all but a member of the Araceae family. The extraordinary funnel or trumpet shaped waxy flowers of a Calla Lily, grow on tall thick stems and have a yellow spadix emerging from their center. The long tapered green leaves of the plant may be streaked with faint white or yellow spots. Today, thanks to the many new hybrids developed by breeders throughout the world, Calla Lilies can be found not only in white, but also pink, orange, fuchsia, red, yellow, and cream. The long lasting flowers are popular in wedding bouquets where they are a symbol of purity and beauty.
LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS: Calla Lilies require at six hours a day of very bright indirect light. Direct sun during the middle of the day may burn the leaves and flowers.
CARE INSTRUCTIONS WATER: These plants like moist soil at all times. Calla Lilies are not drought resistant and should never be allowed to totally dry out but will not do well if the soil is too soggy or they are allowed to sit in water.
FERTILIZER: Fertilize an indoor Calla Lily every two weeks when the plant is flowering with a liquid plant food low in Nitrogen. When the plant is producing only leaves and no flowers, fertilize monthly. Always dilute the plant food to ½ the recommended strength. If your Calla Lily is planted outside, use a granular plant food instead of a liquid fertilizer.
TEMPERATURE: Room temperatures should be between 50-75 ° F, 10-24 ° C for optimal growth. Keep Calla Lilies away from heating and air conditioning vents. If planted outdoors, be sure to dig up the Calla Lily bulbs and bring them inside before temperatures dip below freezing.
HUMIDITY: Calla Lilies do well in average humidity.
FLOWERING: The flowers of a Calla Lily are really spaths similar to those of a Peace Lily but much more impressive. The plant usually blooms for about six weeks during the late spring and early summer. Keeping the plant potbound encourages more blooms. Calla Lilies may be forced into bloom at any time indoors it all depends on when the bulbs become available and when they are planted. The long lasting cut flowers are perfect in bouquets and flower arrangements.
PESTS: Examine a Calla Lily frequently for signs of scale or Aphids.
DISEASES: Calla Lilies are susceptible to various viruses and bacterial infections, especially rhizome rot and gray mold. These problems become evident when leaves and stems start to turn yellow before the plant is normally entering its dormant phase.
SOIL: Use a good peat moss based potting soil that is well aerated and drains quickly. You can add builder’s sand or perlite if the soil seems too heavy and clay-like.
Talking of bouquets, during weddings, the bride would generally like to prefer a traditional bouquet and none other than white Mini Calla Lily would be able to make an impression, which we are finding in bouquets. There’s new to this however an upcoming trend with it- a classic touch to your wedding. Brides are going for more vibrant colors in this flower such as yellow, burgundy. It depends upon the season of a celebration whether it’s summertime or winter or an autumn one, the color combination is generally decided upon seeing the same.
There are many uses to this flower and have no limitations to its creativeness when applied. They can be grown in one’s garden or backyard. Where ever they are used they simply look chic and superb and adds an aura to the occasion.
When you have decided to make a calla lily bouquet, the first step is usually to decide which colors to get. This is, of course, a very individual decision, since all people have different feelings towards different flowers. A calla lily bouquet that one person describes as an outstanding composition of truly vibrant colors, can look loud and totally inappropriate in the eyes of someone else.
There are however a few guidelines regarding color selection that you can stick too if you feel confused. Don’t be too coy when selecting your floral arrangement. Cards, bridesmaid dresses, and similar will usually look best if you stick to one color theme and avoid mixing several strong colors together.
When you get to the part where you are choosing your floral arrangements, you can, however, allow yourself to get a little wilder. The calla lily is a dramatic flower, and you can often combine several powerful calla lily colors without creating a tacky or overwhelming effect. Flowers originate from the wild and combining several strong colors will often produce a very festive effect, while still looking coordinated. You can use the color theme from cards and bridesmaid dresses as a base and then add 2-3 other matching colors.
The second rule is not to panic if you receive calla lilies where the colors vary slightly from flower to flower. As mentioned above, using flowers is to add a wild element to the festivities, and flowers will usually look great even when the colors vary somewhat. Remember, flowers are not printed cards. You can not order one hundred #4522 calla lilies.
The second step when creating calla lily bouquets is typically to determine how many calla lilies you wish to include in the arrangement. Will you need calla lilies only for a bouquet, or do you want to use them in centerpieces and vases too? How about corsages and boutonnières? Do you wish ceremonial decorations for an altar? Should a car sport calla lilies?
Some florists will offer you extra-tall calla lilies. These calla lilies are ideal when you wish to create a very tall calla lily bouquet or experiment with different stem lengths within an arrangement. Extra-long calla lilies look great in upright vases, arm-held bouquets, and cascade style arrangements. If you plan to create a more compact floral arrangement or a bouquet that features many different flowers in addition to the lilies, you rarely need to get extra long calla lilies.
Extra-tall calla lilies will sometimes have a flower that is somewhat bigger than those found on ordinary calla lilies. This is why some people order extra-tall calla lilies for corsages and boutonnières even though the stem itself is of no importance.
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