How to Grow Zantedeschia Plants

Guide to Growing Arum Lily, Calla Lily, Lily of the Nile, and Varkoor

Zantedeschia are beautiful plants that are usually grown as an annual in the garden though they are really half hardy perennials.

Zantedeschia range in height from 30 cm to 2.5 m and have large arrow shaped leaves.

They bloom in the early summer when they carry exquisite funnel flowers consisting of white, pink, yellow or red petals surrounding a spadix that can be purple, white or yellow.

Some of the common varieties of Zantedeschia that are grown in the garden include Arum Lily, White arum lily, Lily of the Nile and Calla Lily.

Latin names of these plants include Zantedeschia aethiopica; Zantedeschia calla; Zantedeschia elliottiana; and Zantedeschia rehmannii.

Zantedeschia aethiopica
Antedeschia aethiopica - Calla lily by Warrenski; Creative Commons.

Calla Lily
Calla Lily by Cygnus921; Creative Commons.

Quick Zantedeschia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Arum Lily, Calla, Calla Lily, Lily of the Nile, Easter Lily, Varkoor.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 24 to 100 inches (60 to 250 cm).
Native: Southern Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.
Flowers: Start of summer.
Flower Details: White, pink, yellow, red. Mottled. Funnel shaped Spathe. The spadix is prominent and yellow, purple or white.
Foliage: Long. Broad. Deltoid/Arrow-shaped.
Sow Outside: Seed: surface. Rhizome: 2 inches (50 mm). Autumn. Spacing 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm).
Sow Inside: Usually started indoors. Soak seeds for one day. Germination time: one to three months in the light. Temperature 75 to 80°F (24 to 27°C). At the end of winter/beginning of spring. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost; temperature should not drop below 50°F (10 to 27°C).
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 5 to 6.5. Humus. Mix in manure. Regular feed. Regular watering. Bring rhizomes indoors over the winter in cool areas. Propagate: dividing in the spring.
Miscellaneous: The genus is named after Giovanni Zantedeschi, an influential Italian botanist and physician.

How to Grow Zantedeschia, Arum lilies

Zantedeschia species such as Arum lilies and Calla lily can be grown from rhizome of seeds; plant zantedeschia bulbs at about 5 cm deep and 30 to 40 cm apart.

If growing Arum lilies from seed then it is best to start off indoors. First soak the lily seeds for a day in warm water, then sow on the soil surface at the start of spring. It will take about one to three months for Arum lilies to germinate at a temperature of 21 to 28 degrees centigrade in the light. Once ready transplant the young Arum Lily seedlings in the spring well after the last chance of frost. Ideally the soil that plants grow in will be acidic, humus rich, and enriched with manure.

Caring for Zantedeschia Plants

It is easy to look after Zantedeschia species such as Arum lily and Lilies of the Nile. They require regular watering to keep the soil moist, and as they are quite hungry they should be fed regularly with a liquid fertilizer during the growing period. If you require more plants then propagate Arum lilies by division of the tubers in the spring.

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