Plant Profile: Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

There are so many fantastic plants that I could profile this week…the perennials are blooming their little hearts out, the annuals are giving their all and the gardenias are filling the air with their sweet perfume. But I decided to look at Calla lilies instead. Why calla lilies? They’re so elegant and have a sort of mystique with Mid-Atlantic gardeners. They’re technically hardy to Zone 8 but with careful siting, they can flourish in Zone 7. In more northern climates they can be brought in during winter and set back out in the spring.

calla lilies


The calla lilies in the picture above are sited near a pond where they receive the warmth from the water as well as the stones that surround it. Speaking of ponds, calla lilies are very tolerant of moist conditions and can even survive in the shallow end of your pond. They’re also fairly tolerant of dry conditions…not bone dry soil but drier areas. Many people grow their calla lilies in containers so that they can easily lift them and bring them indoors during the winter. If your containers are anything like mine, they dry out quite a bit between waterings. It’s not an issue for calla lilies.

The flowers of calla lilies are stunning and vary in color from red to pink to white and even yellow. Their vase-like flowers are borne in summer and usually begin in late May. While most people grow calla lilies for their flowers, in my opinion, their foliage can be just as striking. Some callas have plain jane green foliage but there are others that have lovely white speckling.


calla lilies
Photo courtesy of


Pretty fantastic, am I right? Don’t be discouraged by the fact that calla lilies aren’t necessarily hardy in your area. Experiment and try a few in a container…or in your pond. Push the limits in your garden and see what works. I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your efforts. Have you grown calla lilies in your garden? What has been your experience? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me so that other readers can benefit from your experience. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Happy gardening!

June 27, 2012Permalink 1 Comment

One thought on “Plant Profile: Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

  1. a friend of mine gifted me some plants and my survives are a vine and what i think is a calla lily. it has the speckled leaves. im wondering how much light it needs. and i think it needs a bigger pot. does it need special soil?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *