The South African Calla Lily is primarily known as a floral flower and is one of the most popular stems for bridal bouquets. Thanks to its popularity during the Art Deco period, many of us see a single white stem as a symbol of pure beauty. But this elegant flower is easy to grow, hardy, and happy in just about any yard.
Although the white Calla Lily is the most popular, the Calla comes in many other varieties. Most popular are the salmon-colored Cameo, the bright yellow Golden, and the pink Superba. A bouquet of multi-colored Calla Lilies arranged in a vase in a country kitchen changes the flower’s disposition from all-white elegance to bright cheerfulness.
Planting Calla Lilies
To grow Calla Lilies, plant them outdoors in a bright, sunny location. Morning light is best. They like some shade in the afternoons, especially in hot areas. They like soil amended with lots of organic matter. To start Calla Lilies, plant them inside in a pot in March. Add the Calla Lily rhizomes into a pot with a good potting soil mix and some peat (to help retain moisture). Water thoroughly, but then only to keep moist until shoots appear.
Try to keep the temperature inside at about 70-75 degrees during the day, and about 55 at night. Once the danger of frost passes, plant them outdoors about 1 to 2 feet apart and about 4 to 6 inches deep. If you plan to keep the Calla Lilies planted in pots – and they are quite happy to be kept there – set them about 6 to 12 inches apart.
If you have clay soil, the Calla Lilies will handle that just fine. They also like to be planted under trees and other shade-happy areas. As long as the Calla Lilies get a few hours of sunlight in the morning, they’ll be happy. The Calla Lilies will bloom off and on all summer, often providing blooms long after other flowers have faded away.
Once the Calla Lilies begin to fade in late summer, bid adieu and allow the inevitable fade. The Calla Lilies can stay in the ground in most zone 9 to 11 areas, but in other areas, dig up the Calla Lilies, let them dry out, and leave them dry until late winter. Then pot them, start watering and watch them come back to life.