of the month
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calla, Calla lily, Arum, Arum lily, Pig lily, Trumpet lily
flowers are made up of a long, funnel-shaped spathe that
surrounds a yellow, fingerlike spadix. Glossy green leaves are
often shaped like arrowheads and sometimes speckled with white.
Zantedeschias grow from tubers and are perennials
include white, yellow, orange, pink, red, lavender, purple,
black, green and bicolors. They tend to color differently under
varied growing conditions, so two flowers of the same variety
may have slightly different coloration within a bunch or from
planting to planting. Retailers should think in terms of a
“color range” when ordering.
Callas last from
four to eight days.
available year-round from domestic and foreign sources.
callas have a head size up to about 6 inches and stem lengths
ranging from 20 to 48 inches. Miniature callas’ head sizes range
from about 3 to 5 inches and stem lengths range from 8 to 32
Carefully remove callas from packaging to avoid bruising the
flowers. Cut at least 1 inch from the bottoms of the stems—avoid
removing all of the white stem end if possible—and place the
flowers immediately into a clean container partially filled with
properly mixed flower-food solution. Callas do not benefit from
the sugar in flower-food solutions, but they do benefit from the
biocide. Leaving part of the white stem ends, the portion that
was underground, helps with water uptake and vase life while
reducing the chances of stem splitting or curling.
callas at 33 F to 35 F.
Callas are not ethylene sensitive. Contrary to popular belief,
callas do not produce significant quantities of ethylene and can
be stored safely with other flowers, according to the Society
of American Florists’ (SAF) Flower & Plant Care
WATER Check the nutrient
solution level daily, and replenish as needed. Recut the stems
every two or three days.
WHEN TO BUY Purchase flowers at
the stage of openness desired for sale or use. If cut too tight,
flowers may not open properly, if at all. Buy callas close to
the time they are needed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Blooms should be
free of spots, blemishes or splits, and the stems should not be
soft or slimy. Note that flowers shipped dry may arrive a little
limp, but they will revive after being recut and hydrated.
• If callas’ stems are curved and need to be straightened,
loosely in newspaper, like tulips, and store them upright in a tall
bucket, vase or container.
Often, the stem ends of callas will split and curl. To
wrap the stems near their ends with waterproof tape. To make
splitting and curling less likely, don’t cut off all of the white portion
the end of the stems.
WHAT'S IN A NAME
The genus is
named for Italian botanist Francesco Zantedeschi, who wrote
about Italian plants around 1825. The word “calla” is Greek for
members of the Araceae (Arum) family. Relatives
include Anthurium, Caladium, Dieffenbachia,
peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema),
arrowhead (Syngonium/Nephthytis) and elephant's ear (Alocasia).
HOME SWEET HOME
Callas are native
to South Africa.
called “calla lilies,” these flowers (Zantedeschia/ Araceae)
are not related to lilies (Lilium/ Liliaceae).
Zantedeschias also are not the same as the actual genus
Calla, which consists of a single species of perennial that
grows in boggy areas and is commonly known as the water arum or
Reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Amy Bauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
courtesy of CallaCo, a Division of Golden State Bulb Growers.
Some information provided by:
by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
CallaCo, a Division of Golden State Bulb Growers,
Council of Holland,
Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center,
Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Flower & Plant Care manual