Calla Lily
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This article is written by kunsang choden.

Calla lily also known as Arum lily is one of the most beautiful, elegant and colorful flowers of the bulbous origin. The word ‘calla’ is a Greek word meaning ‘significant beauty’. It belongs to the Araceae family. It consists of genus with twenty-eight species. This plant mostly grows in marshy areas. Its common names include arum lily, trumpet lily, pig lily and miniature calla lily. This flower has been the most special flower for the American gardeners since the history.

This flower has an outstanding color that attracts the eye of every passer-by. They form the beauty of the garden and can also be well planted in a container. It is used in beds and borders.

Caution: Despite the beauty of this flower, falls in the category of poisonous flowers for it contains oxalis acid that can kill people and animal when consumed raw. Even its roots are poisonous.

This perennial bulbous flower is native to Northern Hemisphere, South Africa to Malawi and the island of Madagascar.

This plant can be grown outside in the garden or the container can be placed near the window in case if it is used as a houseplant. This plant is not considered as the true lilies.

Origin of calla lily: The flower originated from southern Africa to Malawi to island of Madagascar. The tropical climate (steady temperature, rainy seasons and dry seasons) of these places makes it suitable for the plant to thrive easily. There is no real winter in these places thus, the plant survives throughout the year where sufficient energy, nutrition and water are available.

Calla lily to Europe: The real travel of calla lily to Europe is unknown but from the illustration from the Royal Garden in Paris 1664 A.D. we can say that calla lily was prevalent in Europe from a long time.

Calla lily around the world: Although calla lily plantation was not possible at some countries, the plant got imported in   cut flower form for it can survive for a couple of days. Some countries have planted the plant in the greenhouses.

Meaning of calla lily:  Calla lily holds different meaning to different people, for some people it signifies beauty while for others it signifies death. Its classic meaning is magnificent beauty.

The pure white flower of calla lily is associated with Virgin Mary and the chastity, virtue and purity that she embodies. But the phallic pistil symbolizes lust and sexuality. Thus, this flower is used during the wedding representing the bride’s virginity in white and her awaiting future. Calla lily is also used during funerals and near the tombstones signifying the broken death of a soul before time.

Description: Unlike the other flowering bulbs; calla lilies require deep plantation of about 4 inches and a foot wide space will do enough.

Calla lily has a lasting effect if planted and taken care well. It is a perennial plant and can also turn out to be an evergreen plant when extra good care is given. It is tall plant of about 2 to 3 feet tall, easy to spot due to the dark green stem and large leaves. They are easy to grow and are grown from bulb or rhizome. This plant grows in late spring.

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Order: Alismatales

Family: Araceae

Genus: Zantedeschia

Flower: This flower has the most stunning effect with its beauty and elegance. It is in trumpet shape. The flower comes in pure white color and has a yellow spadix. The yellow effect to the white flower makes the flower more attractive and you will easily be able to figure out calla lily from afar. calla lily is considered as an elegant and an attractive flower with wide variety of colors with shades of pink, green, yellow,  purple and also orange.

What does the variety of calla lily signifies?

White calla lily       : purity and innocence

Yellow calla lily      : joy, light-heartedness, friendship

Orange calla lily     : energy, enthusiasm, confidence, satisfaction, passion for life and success

Red calla lily          : admiration, courage, desire, strength and passionate love.

Pink calla lily          : love, youth, gentleness    and happiness.

Purple calla lily       : royalty, accomplishment,           admiration, dignity, tradition and success.

Lavender calla lily    : femininity, refinement, grace and elegance.

Leaves: Calla lily has dark stem with large leaves and arrowheads in shape. The basal leaves arise from a thick rhizome. The large leaves of calla lily makes easier for us to spot the flower from afar. It enhances the beauty of the flower. Its leaves are in rich green color with white or silver speckles.

Calla lily bulbs: Calla lily emerges from the bulbs; it is the heart and soul of calla lily. The bulbs resemble roots but they are not exactly roots, only small roots sprout out from the big bulbs that when planted will sprout out into a new plant.

Uses: Calla lily is the best houseplant, good for beds, borders and flower arrangements. Calla lily is an expensive flower for it is found in few places of the world. This plant is available in the bouquet shops. People use this flower mainly during the funeral ceremony in case of the Christian culture. You can also give it as a gift to your friend for it is the symbol of beauty and magnificence.  People use this flower in decorating their rooms and in making their garden appear more attractive. You can see this flower mostly in the five star hotels and in big business companies as a part of decoration.

Reason for calla lily plantation: Calla lily has big price in the market. Some pharmacists use this plant in preparation of animal pest for it contains toxic called Zantedeschia. The plant contains this toxic with a reason that it can survive in the wild without being attacked by the wild creatures.

If you eat this plant raw, you will experience swelling of lips, tongue, throat, burning sensation and pain in the stomach.

Tips to grow: Calla lily is not just beauty in its appearance but it has certain good qualities too i.e. it is not fussy in growing and taking care. It is easy to plant and take care of calla lily. This plant can easily thrive in the tropical environments. It can thrive even in the greenhouses. Keep the soil moist for the plant is originated from a marshy land but not too damp that may rot the plant. Make sure to provide enough water to the plant as this plant is a thirsty plant that cannot tolerate dry soil.

There are certain things to keep in mind while planting this plant. We must be careful in choosing the proper location for a healthy calla lily.

Keep in mind the following tips while taking care of calla lily:

1. Start planting calla lily during the time of spring or wait until the frost has ended and the ground is warm enough for the plant to thrive.

2. Plant the bulb/rhizome in a loose well-drained soil.

3. Make sure that the plant receives full sun or partial shade in case of warmer climate.

4. It will grow best when planted deep of about 4 inches and a foot space.

5. Water to keep the soil moist after plantation.

6. Also keep in mind to fertilize the plant monthly especially during its active growth season.

7. Once the bloom ceases, stop fertilizing and stop watering too.

8. This plant requires some period of dormancy. Lift the bulb from the ground and store the plant in a dark environment at this period of dormancy.

During the time of dormancy, make sure to get rid of soil from the bulb and dry it in the sun for a couple of days in order to avoid rot. Store it in a dry area of 50 to 60 degree F.

Care for calla lily in Pot: The following things must be considered when dealing with calla lily in a pot.

1. Provide excess water to the plant as much water is lost from the hole in the pot.

2. Provide fertilizer to the soil.

3. Replant the plant in new soil each year so as to let the plant grow in a healthier manner.

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