The calla lily – Greetings from South Africa

Garden Life
The calla lily originates from South Africa. There, it grows in a marshy soil high in nutrients, which dries out in summer. It is one of eight varieties of zantedeschia. Its majestic, elegant flowers are unmistakable and unique. It is available in different colours. It is not one of the easiest plants to care for. However, those who observe the following tips will be able to preserve potted calla lilies for a sustained period of time.


The correct location is one of the most important tips for the care of your plant. A place where the calla lily receives plenty of light, but remains protected from full sun, is ideal. In summer, they can also stand in a protected location on your balcony or patio. However, they should not be subjected to any rain. With good care, your potted calla lily will continue to grow for some years.


Water which is low in lime, for example rainwater, is the best water for your plant. The calla lily must be kept well watered during the growth and flowering phases. The roots must never dry out during the growth period. During this time, it doesn’t even matter if water is left standing in the saucer. Once the calla lily has flowered, the rest phase begins. Now the plant should be kept very dry. The plants originate from marshy areas. Their tubers collect mineral substances and humidity from the soil, this way they can survive longer spells of dry weather without damage.


The calla lily begins to grow in early autumn. During this time, the plant should be kept cool at temperatures of between 10 – 15° C. During the growth phase and when flowering commences, the plant can stand in a warmer location. During the flowering period, it is however important that the location is not too warm, as the flowers will otherwise wilt prematurely, shortening the flowering phase. Temperatures below 21° C are ideal.

Outdoor growth

The white calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) can cope with temperatures down to minus five degrees in winter. In warm regions they can also be grown outdoors. They are mainly seen at the edges of ponds or on the banks of waterways.

Flowering period

During the flowering period, the calla lily should be fertilised regularly, i.e. approximately every two weeks. After flowering, for example October to January, it should be kept dry. The plant is then prepared for its rest period.


The leaves, flowers and tubers of the calla lily are poisonous to humans and animals. When ingested, its toxins can have serious consequences. In addition, the plant excretes excess water containing irritants through its leaves. If this liquid comes into contact with the skin, it will cause redness and allergic reactions. Therefore it is best to wear gloves when working with this plant.

Photo: © irisphoto1 -