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Calla Lilies -Zantedeschia

The 'Green Goddess' Calla Lily

The Calla Lily is an easy care bulb or rhizome that produces attractive flowers in spring to summer. They can be grown in the garden however are equally at home in containers. In many zones this is a more suitable method for most gardeners as it makes them easier to protect over winter.

Although we call them Calla lilies, however they go by the botanical name of Zantedeschia, and the hybrids now available give us a colorful group of flowering plants

If we do a search for the botanical names we will come up with pictures of the white species, well known and widely grown. However it is the many colorful named cultivars and varieties that gardeners around the world are now using in the garden.

Zantedeschia aethiopica is the flowering species is often planted in wet or damp soils, although it does grow well in any good humus rich soil.

The new hybrids prefer drier conditions although they do like a humus rich soil with some moisture.

Although we see calla lilies almost year round in florist shops, flowering season in around June to July. The blooms appear as tight spathes, and they open to reveal the spadix.

Best picked for indoors before they open fully. And remember that these plants are toxic, so wear gloves and take appropriate safety precautions when handling.


In general calla lilies have very few problems however sometimes gardeners will find that Calla Lilies will not flower. There are a few reasons why calla lilies do not flower or flower poorly

  • Firstly calla lilies need sun, those planted in very deep shade will struggle to flower.
  • Overcrowding is another problem. As clumps age they become overcrowded and bulbs compete for nutrients. Its time to divide the clump.
  • Using the wrong fertilizer. Using a fertilizer that is to high in nitrogen can cause the plants to put on lots of leaf growth and no flowers.Use a balanced fertilizer.
  • Bulbs drying out over spring to summer. Calla lilies like to have a moist cool root run, so bulbs that are planted to close to the surface or in dry soil will often decide not to flower. Plant a little deeper and mulch well.