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Richardia Zantedeschia aethiopica

Phonetic Spelling
zan-teh-DESK-ee-uh ee-thee-OH-pih-kuh
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Calla lilies are a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant in the Araceae (Jack-in-the-pulpit) family native to Africa.  Contrary to the common name, they are not true lilies, the genus name is derived from Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773-1846) and the species name aethiopica means South African nodding to its origins.  This plant is known for its very large showy white flowers that are popular as cut flower in the floral industry.

They typically grow 2 to 3 feet tall and maintain their large deep green evergreen leaves in habitats with high rainfall and moderate temperatures but are deciduous when cold temperatures hit or there is a prolonged dry season.  They are commonly found growing along stream banks and ponds margins, marshes, where they can be considered weedy in some habitats.  

Plant in the full sun to partial shade in moist,  organically rich soil with plenty of leaf mold, rotted manure, and humus.  In hotter climates, partial shade is preferred to avoid leaf and flower scorch though flowering may suffer.  They are hardy to zone 8 but can survive in zone 7 if protected, otherwise, they may need to overwinter indoors. If you do not bring them indoors they can be considered an annual in the landscape.   If transplanting rhizomes dig a hole 4 inches deep and place them 12 to 18 inches apart when the weather has warmed up in the spring and the threat of frost has passed.  Typically found growing in clumps, they can be propagated easily by division during the growing season or grown from seed planted sparsely to accommodate the future fleshy root growth.  

Callas will bloom from June to July with large showy funnel-shaped white spadix flowers.  ThaThey can survive in up to 12" of water so they work well along pond margins or rain garden. It is a popular choice for cutting gardens or mass plant it along a border.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Japanese beetles can feed on the leaves and flowers.  Rhizome rot is an occasional disease problem.

More information on Zantedeschia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Crowborough'
    Cold tolerant, suited to cooler climates
  • 'Green Goddess'
    Green stripes on spathes, longer lasting flowers.
  • 'Pershore Fantasia'
  • 'Pink Mist'
    Pink spathe and spadix, best in partial shade, more difficult to grow
  • 'Red Desire'
    Red spadix
  • 'Royal Valentine'
    Burgundy spathe spotted leaves
  • 'White Sail'
    Very large white spathe
Crowborough', 'Green Goddess', 'Pershore Fantasia', 'Pink Mist', 'Red Desire', 'Royal Valentine', 'White Sail'
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#rain garden#fragrant flowers#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#interiorscape#pond margins#moist soil#spadix#large flowers#rhizomatous#border planting#cutting garden#pollinator plant#marshes#clumping#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#wet soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Crowborough'
    Cold tolerant, suited to cooler climates
  • 'Green Goddess'
    Green stripes on spathes, longer lasting flowers.
  • 'Pershore Fantasia'
  • 'Pink Mist'
    Pink spathe and spadix, best in partial shade, more difficult to grow
  • 'Red Desire'
    Red spadix
  • 'Royal Valentine'
    Burgundy spathe spotted leaves
  • 'White Sail'
    Very large white spathe
Crowborough', 'Green Goddess', 'Pershore Fantasia', 'Pink Mist', 'Red Desire', 'Royal Valentine', 'White Sail'
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#rain garden#fragrant flowers#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#interiorscape#pond margins#moist soil#spadix#large flowers#rhizomatous#border planting#cutting garden#pollinator plant#marshes#clumping#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#wet soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Zantedeschia
    Species:
    aethiopica
    Family:
    Araceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Africa
    Distribution:
    Kenya, Madeira, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, coastal California and Australia
    Wildlife Value:
    Beetles and bees pollinate the flowers. Fruits are dispersed by birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 3 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Water Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Berries are clusters of round yellow-orange and 10 mm in diameter
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spadix
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Large, showy white spathes that taper to a point appear on leafless stalks. Yellow 3 1/2 long spadix in the center. Lightly fragrant blooms appear from June-July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Feel:
    Fleshy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large fleshy simple heart to arrow-shaped (sagittate) green leaves with wavy margins and thick stalks.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    This plant is stemless, leaves come directly off the rhizome.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Poor Soil
    Rabbits
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Oral irritation, pain, and swelling of mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, stomach pain, vomiting (not horses), diarrhea, difficulty swallowing
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    calcium oxalate
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Stems