Calla Lilies

This post, “Calla Lilies” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies

As I am getting older, I find that I want to have around me plants that my mother or grandmother had in their gardens when I was a child.  I find that many gardeners I talk to feel the same way.  I don’t know if it is being nostalgic or what.  Is it a longing for a time when as a child there were no problems or just remembering those that have left us?

Anyway, one of the first things I planted when we bought our house was two white calla lily bulbs (Zantedeschia aethiopica).  My mother grew them in our back yard.  I remember she had a whole bed about 10 feet long of them.  Because of this, every year I would buy a few more bulbs until finally I had a small bed.  This past fall I added more soil and compost and have been rewarded with a flourishing bed.  They should bloom very well this spring.

Last year was the best year for blooms, and I expect this year will be even better.  When I first planted them, they were slow to grow. But as I learned more about gardening, and found out about improving soil and fertilizing they have begun to thrive.  I do keep them well watered, esp. in the hot summer.  Often they will die back in the heat of August, but by October they are sprouting up again.  I have mine on the east side of the house, so they really only get morning sun.  They seem to like the location, so maybe in our hot summers less sun is better.  They do not seem to be bothered by the occasional freezes we have here in south Louisiana.  If the tops do freeze, they come back up in time for spring blooms.   I find that the calla lily is a great perennial – easy to care for and gives a lush tropical feel.

I have had great success with the white calla lilies, but not so much with the colored ones.  Two years ago I planted a yellow one and a Crystal Blush one.  They both did well the first year, but only the yellow re-bloomed the second.  The plant also remained rather small.  I have heard that the colored ones are more difficult to get to re-bloom.

One more good thing about the calla lily is that for cut flowers they can’t be beat.  Just one to three in a vase makes a very elegant arrangement.

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