How to Take Care of Calla Lilies

Views: 33635 | Last Update: 2009-07-30
Caring for calla lilies depends on the type of lily, as white callas can be grown well in cooler, moist conditions while colored callas require a more arid and warm climate. Follow appropriate steps to help a calla lily thrive in the ground with helpful... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen from vanveenbulbs.com and in this segment I'm going to talk about how to grow calla lilies, some of my favorite plants from South Africa. So in order to know how to grow them we need to figure out where they're native and what their native conditions are and there is two families of calla lilies that grow in very different conditions so we have got to figure out what part of South Africa are they from and what conditions do they grow in. So when most people think of calla lilies they think of the traditional white calla, the calla lilies are in bloom calla. Now they are from the western side of South Africa so they really like moist cooler conditions because of the Atlantic Ocean, very stormy, they can handle shade or they can handle some sun as well if you're near the coast and they can sit right in a bog of water because they're from a very wet Winter area whereas the colored Calla lilies are different altogether. They are from the other side of South Africa the Eastern side and they have the influence of the Indian Ocean which is very very warm compared to the Atlantic Ocean and they're from a much more arid desert region so they will rot right out if they sit in water. They like full hot sun. They won't bloom in the shade whereas the white callas in most conditions love the shade so you've got to realize are they the traditional white calla which is from the western side or are they the colored callas or the zantedeschias? So aethiopica usually the white calla is from this side and the zantedeschias are from that side. So when you're planting the bulbs the bulbs themselves look totally different. If they are the colored callas or the zantedeschias they have more of a round a circular flatter bulb and they look like the sun so I remember if it is a sun shaped it is probably a colored calla. You want to plant that, there is a side that has a bulls eye, that looks up. If you can't tell go sideways. Plant it about three inches deep and put it in the sunniest hottest spot you can find. If you live in a really warm climate though you can put them in shade. If you are in southern California they do better in shade if you're in the northwest they have to have full hot sun to bloom whereas the traditional white calla is more of a raindrop shaped. It looks like a big fat side and then it tapers down to a shorter side so these like more wet conditions and shady conditions so a lot of times they'll cook in the heat of the sun unless you live on the coast where it's a little bit colder. So when you're planting either one of them I always plant them in a container about three inches deep so I would fill the container about half way full, just set the bulb either sideways or up and down because they grow from every little knob and every little piece will regenerate so that's why once you have got them you'll never get rid of them. Then just cover it so it's at least about three inches deep. O'kay now I have just got the top of the stem coming up and then I'm going to put that in this is a traditional white calla so in the northwest I'm putting it in part shade because it will sunburn in the full hot sun. If you live in a mild climate even in the northwest most years they will Winter over in the ground as long as they are in raised beds with good drainage and you mulch them well, you never lose them just as long as you have got those colored ones in full sun. Now if you live in a warmer climate you don't have to worry about it just leave them in the ground they'll come back from year to year and even if you live in a mild climate I always say if you put them in a pot keep the pot dry for the Winter especially on the colored ones because you can lose them real easily in the pots they rot real easily whereas a traditional white calla will never rot when it's wet but it will freeze out if that pot turns into an ice cube so if you live in a colder climate where it could turn into an ice cube protect it inside in the Winter and you can enjoy either kind of calla in almost any climate. They are both gorgeous additions to your garden.