Zantedeschia, or calla lilies, are comprised of 6 species of rhizome-rooted plants from southern Africa, as well as numerous hybrids. Callas are made up of a “flower” or bract (in a number of colors) which surrounds a central spike or spadex. The foliage is green and sometimes very glossy, arrow shaped or lanceolate and often spotted.
Calla lilies are beautiful in wedding bouquets and fresh floral arrangements. The perennial types make a lovely addition to the woodland or cottage garden, while annual varieties add a lot of color and structure to summer containers and warm season borders. Perennial varieties of calla lilies bloom throughout spring while the annual varieties bloom throughout the summer.
Flower colors for perennial callas commonly found at Portland Nursery include bright whites and dark purple/blacks. Annual varieties sold at the nursery have flower colors ranging from red, yellow, orange, pink and purple. Good companion plants for perennial calla lilies planted in the woodland garden include ferns, astilbes, hostas, ligularias and impatiens. In a container, annual calla lilies combine well with petunias, dusty miller, allysum, creeping jenny, heliotrope or dichondra.
A few types of Zantedeschia sometimes found at Portland Nursery include:
Hardy, Zones 5-9, 3 feet high and wide. Large white flowers in spring with a yellow spadix. Dark green, glossy, arrow-shaped leathery foliage. Reliable in the Pacific Northwest and long spring bloomer. Part shade.
Zantedeschia ‘Edge of Night’
Hardy, Zones 8-11, 28 inches high and 1 foot wide. Flowers are dark purple to black in color, resembling black velvet. Leaves are glossy green with silver flecks. Spring blooming. Part shade.
Zantedeschia ‘Red Alert’
Tender, Zone 8. Bright orange and red flowers bloom from May through August. Speckled foliage. Plants are two feet tall and 12 inches wide. Full sun preferred.
Tender, Zones 8-11. Flowers have a dark purple center with pink edges. Blooms throughout summer. Plants are 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Full sun preferred.
Tender, Zones 9-11. Cultivar has white flowers with a purple throat. Speckled foliage. Blooms throughout summer. Plants are two feet tall and 1 foot wide. Full sun preferred.
Tender, Zones 9-11. Flowers are bright yellow and very cheerful. Speckled foliage. Blooms throughout summer. Plants are two feet tall and 1 foot wide. Full sun preferred.
Family: Araceae (Arum Family)
Common Name: Calla Lily
Origin: South Africa
Culture: Well-drained garden soil that is consistently moist is best. Callas can even adapt to growing partly submerged in water and are able to live full time in pots, given adequate moisture. Sun exposure varies from full sun for annual varieties and morning sun to dappled shade for perennial varieties. Calla lilies do not bloom their best in full shade.
Maintenance: Perennial types should be mulched with organic matter in winter after the foliage has died back to the ground. Prior to mulching, dead foliage can be removed as part of fall garden clean up. Rhizomes of annual types must be lifted from the garden during the fall and stored in a cool dry place over the winter. Be careful not to damage the rhizomes as they are being removed from the soil. A balanced organic liquid fertilizer can be applied throughout the bloom season for both types.
Pest and Disease: Snails, slugs, aphids and botrytis can all affect calla lilies.