The calla lilies are a beautiful genus of flowers that have been enjoyed by humans for centuries. The calla lily grows from a type of bulb called a rhizome and produces very large green leaves, typically covered with lighter-coloured spots. The flower blooms from the top of a rather thick stem and sort of resembles trumpet shaped rolled paper, having a texture ranging from rather fleshy to wet autumn leaves. A grouping of calla lilies is a wonderful addition to any garden, since they are relatively easy to grow and are an absolute favourite as a cut flower inside the house. Keep on reading to learn more about calla lilies and how to grow them for your own gardening pleasure.
Calla Lilies – What’s in a Name?
You might find it quite interesting that the calla lily is not a lily at all, and although it is related to the calla genus, it is not really a calla either. Calla lily is actually the common name for the zantedeschia genus which once was a part of what today is known as the calla genus. The calla genus was separated into several smaller genuses since (through advanced tests) it became apparent that they were not as closely related as biologists first thought. They all still share the same family though, the Araceae family.
Calla Lilies – History
The calla lily, or zantedeschia, is a genus of twenty-eight different species all native to the southern parts of Africa with a tropical climate, from South Africa up to Africa aligned with the northern point of Madagascar. The genus calla was originally named by the famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus but as it became apparent that the genus needed to be split up, the German botanist Karl Koch named the new genus after his fellow botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi from Italy. It became a major hit in Europe and is still very popular, especially as a wedding flower, although it has been known to appear at funerals as well.
Calla Lilies – Growing
The calla lily grows from bulb, more properly called rhizomes, and will therefore, as most other bulbs, spread by producing even more bulbs. These bulbs can be dug up, and replanted in another location. The calla lily is a very hardy and strong genus that will grow in more or less any soil as long as it the climate is humid enough. In many of the countries from where the calla lily originates it is thought of as a weed and is ferociously cut down to make way for agriculture. The calla lily can also be propagated through its seeds but it takes a little more finesse than to just dig up those extra bulbs.
Calla Lilies – Caring
Caring for a calla lily is relatively easy since it, as already mentioned, grows in almost any soil. Because the calla lily originates from marshlands one needs to keep the soil damp at all times, but not too damp, as the bulb might rot. Otherwise the calla lily needs little care and can even survive a minor frost. If one wants to, and the climate permits it, the calla lily can bloom all year around but will then need extra nutrition as it will miss out on the periods of rest it will get in the wild. The calla lily can also work as a very beautiful and long-lived cut flower if treated right.