Sunday, December 16, 2012

Zantedeschia x elliottiana, Calla Lily

 I am beginning to get a bit cautious about putting a cultivar name to a particular bulb or seed which comes labelled as one thing but looks remarkably like something else when it comes into flower. This Calla lily is called 'Hot Chocolate' which is supposed to be a dark burgundy colour but these flowers look very much like another called 'Pot Black'. I need a Kiwi Calla grower to give me a correct ID as New Zealand is the country of origin of many of these wonderfully coloured summer flowering hybrids. The Zantedeschia  species are native to South Africa, so, like a lot of their flowering bulbs, they need a dry dormant 'downtime' such as over winter in this case.  If grown where winters tend to be wet and cold the bulbs can rot unless you have well drained sandy soil. I grow them in pots and at every stage of growth they look remarkable. The newly emerging leaves are pointed spears ,spotted white and edged with black eye liner. As the leaves mature the stems turn red like rhubarb (pictured below) and look terrific when placed in a clear glass vase with either the Calla flowers or those of a different type. If growing Callas in pots, regular applications of liquid fertilizer encourages the production of more flowers with stronger stems. Bulbs are usually available during winter for spring planting.

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