How to Grow Zantedeschia aethiopica Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Arum lily

What is Zantedeschia Aethiopica?

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a member of the Araceae family of plants (Arum family).

It grows from a bulb and is native to Southern Africa. Plants grow well in USDA zones 7 to 10. It is considered to be mainly hardy in the UK and is classified in zone H4.

Zantedeschia aethiopica plants
Zantedeschia aethiopica plants, photograph by Iraia Martínez; CC.

Despite being commonly known as the Calla Lily, African Lily, or Arum Lily it is not a true lily.

In mild climates, the Calla lily grows as a perennial. Whereas in colder climates, it will grow as an annual or may be potted and over-wintered indoors.

Arum lily
The beautiful things you find in the garden photograph by [[[Matias]]], CC.

Arum Lily is a stem less plant that grows upwards of three feet (90 cm) tall and tends to clump together forming clusters of tall white flowers surrounded by a base of lush green leaves. The leaves are large, green, and showy.

Zantedeschia aethiopica leaves
Zantedeschia aethiopica leaves, image by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Zantedeschia aethiopica plants make striking additions to garden borders and are popular in cut flower arrangements.

In spring and/or fall it carries elegant, white flowers that resemble champagne flutes with flared tops. These surround a yellow spadix of flowers in the middle of the bloom.

Zantedeschia aethiopica is typically grown in containers, around ponds, or as a part of a rain garden.

It grows best in riparian environments along watercourses and water bodies with soil that is rich in decaying, organic matter.

Orange Calla Lily
Orange Calla Lily plant, photograph by Puddin Tain; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Arum Lily

Blooms in spring and fall seasons. Prefers full sun to partial shade

Requires wet soil conditions and does not tolerate drought.

It makes for a lovely potted plant that thrives in 2-gallon (7.5 L) pots with rich, consistently damp soil. Grows to an average of 3 feet (90 cm) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide.

While it makes a lovely addition to gardens as an accent or border plant, it should be noted that Zantedeschia aethiopicais considered toxic to humans and pets.

Thus, it should be planted in an area where it is least likely to be in close contact with or consumed by people, pets, or livestock.

Zantedeschia aethiopica Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Zantedeschia aethiopica
  • Common Name: Calla Lily, White Calla Lily; African Lily; Altar Lily; Arum Lily, White Arum Lily; • Egyptian Lily; Lily of the Nile; Richardia; Trumpet Lily
  • Growing Zone: USA: 8 to 10
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Indoor Plant, Perennial

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 24 to 36
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 12 to 24
  • Time of Bloom: Late spring through mid-summer
  • Flower Details: White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Quick
  • Suitable Soil Types: Loamy, Neutral
  • Soil Moisture: Moist/Wet

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Medium
  • Propagation: Propagate by division in spring
  • How to Prune: Not needed
  • Pests: aphids, Japanese beetles
  • Diseases: Usually pest free, Rhizome rot

Further Information

  • Best Garden Use: Border, Container Garden, Specimen.
  • Family: Araceae
  • Closely Related Species: Arum, Anthurium, and Caladium.

  • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage, Is not a native plant of N. America, Naturalizing, Some parts are poisonous, Wetlands plant, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers / blooms
  • Genus Detail: Zantedeschia
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

Arum Lily Flower Closeup
Close up of an Arum Lily Flower, photograph by Geoff McKay; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Zantedeschia aethiopica. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Aglaonema modestum and Caladium plants.