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Calla and miniature calla (U.S.); Arum lily (primarily in the
United Kingdom and Europe); Pig lily (in their native South
Africa, where they’re common roadside plants); and Trumpet lily
(a reminder of the archangel Gabriel and his trumpet)
consist of funnel-shaped spathes (actually colored petal-like
leaves) that surround fleshy spikes, called spadices. The actual
“flowers” are the tiny “bumps” on the spadices.
Callas’ stems are smooth and leafless; however, the flowers rise
above a base of leaves, which are either arrowhead shaped or
lance shaped and either solid green or green/white speckled,
depending on species and variety.
Standard callas have a head size of about 6 inches and stem
lengths ranging from about 20 to 48 inches. Miniature callas’
head sizes vary from about 3 to 5 inches, and stem lengths range
from about 8 to 20 inches.
Standard callas are
available in white, white/green variegated and blush pink.
Miniature callas also are available in white as well as a wide
range of pinks, reds, yellows, oranges, rusts, lavenders,
purples and bicolors.
Potted callas’ flowers can
last three to nine weeks, depending on variety, care and
environment (see “In-store and Consumer Care”).
can be brought back into bloom in future seasons for several
years although they become weaker every successive season (see
Calla plants are available
year-round, but peak season is spring and summer.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
Potted callas require lots of bright, indirect light (protected
from direct sun).
While in bloom, these plants require constantly moist soil;
however, do not allow pots to stand in water. Allow soil to dry
almost completely while plants are dormant.
When blooming indoors, potted callas prefer temperatures ranging
from 60 F to 75 F in winter and spring and from 70 F to 85 F in
summer and fall.
Calla plants prefer moderately humid environments.
When they’re actively growing and/or in bloom, feed potted
callas every three weeks with a high-phosphorus plant food. Stop
fertilizing after the plant has bloomed.
Any good quality potting soil that drains well is ideal for
off flowers as they fade, and enjoy as a foliage plant for
several more weeks, if desired.
Allow potted callas to go dormant after the first bloom cycle.
Let the plants dry out until the leaves wither, clip off the
foliage and keep the pots very lightly moist in a cool (50 F),
shady spot. Repot the tubers in late fall or winter (December
through March), smooth side down, and coax them out of dormancy
by gradually introducing them to higher temperatures, more water
and brighter light.
Watch closely for spider mites and aphids. Treat infested plants
with insecticidal soap
WHAT'S IN A
Some histories suggest that the genus name Zantedeschia
was given in honor of Francesco Zantedeschi (1797-1873), an
Italian botanist, priest, physicist and professor. Other
records say the genus was named after Giovanni Zantedeschi
(1773-1846), an Italian botanist and physician.
Despite their common names, callas are not related to lilies
(Lilium); rather, they are members of the Araceae
(arum) family, which includes Anthurium, Caladium,
Philodendron, Dieffenbachia (dumb cane),
Spathiphyllum (peace lily), Aglaonema (Chinese
evergreen) and Arisaema (jack-in-the-pulpit).
CALLA VERSUS CALLA
The Zantedeschia genus also is different from the
genus Calla, which consists of a single species that
grows in boggy areas and is commonly known as water arum,
bog arum, wild calla or water-dragon.
Callas are native to South Africa.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.J. Turner
Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®,
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual by Barbara Pleasant
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names by Florists’ Review
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners by William T.
Photos courtesy of Bay City Flower Co., Inc.