Calla, Zantedeschia - care and wintering of the houseplant

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Calla Zantedeschia

If one takes it exactly, the "flowers of Calla" are not a bit spectacular: The actual flowers sit inside the "large-leaved flowers", on the yellow pistons, as numerous as tiny. What we perceive as a white, yellow, orange, burgundy or black-lilac flower and appreciate for its high decorative value, are actually leaves; Bracts around the sprouts.
These flowers appear in the most famous room calla with botanical name Zantedeschia aethiopica, for example, from January to April. Since they are actually (robust, fleshy) leaves, they last a very long time, three to eight weeks.
Since the Zantedeschia aethiopica blooms here in a wrong world (its flowering time is quite normal in the summer, only in the South African summer), it takes a little "persuasion", so that it develops flower flaps and colored bracts:
  • The plant should be kept so that it lives through similar life cycles as in Africa
  • The swampy meadows of their African homeland will dry in May
  • So the Zantedeschie goes into hibernation from May and pulls her leaves
  • You can take the Zantedeschia out of the ground in May, dry the tubers and plant them again in the fall
  • You can also cultivate the calla
  • She then needs super good care during the main growing season in winter
  • In the late spring, summer (their winter) the calla is poured a little
  • Scarce watering already enough to lure them to "go through" (without pulling, nothing hibernation)
  • In the middle / end of September to December the calla for flower induction needs a stay in cool 10 - 12 degrees
  • During flowering induction, it is not fertilized and poured a little more, but moderately
  • Thereafter, it is placed in an environment of 13 to 15 degrees, each bright (as bright as possible)
  • From January, in the warmer environment, she gets a lot more water
  • As soon as the first buds "push", the calla gets flowering fertilizer
  • From this point until the end of flowering once a week, towards the end more and more economical
The summer calm in a dry or calming almost dry attitude, the Zimmercalla can also live outdoors. As soon as the thermometer shows 12° C plus (also during the night), the Zantedeschia can be placed in the garden, on the terrace or on the balcony. The quantity of light, which is much higher than those in living spaces, strengthens the plant, as shown, among other things, by its easier flowering later in the year.
The outdoor location should be sheltered from the wind, on the wall or in the shelter of other plants. On hot days, the Zantedeschia are happy about showers from the spray bottle, which can completely replace the casting during the break.

Planting and repotting

Usually, room calla are bought in the pot, which is usually too small. The calla should therefore be planted or replanted as quickly as possible in a bucket, in a completely fresh soil (the soil in the pot is usually not just of award-winning quality).
You can also plant Zantedeschia, which is to spend the summer in the garden, in the garden. But the time has come for the soil to reach temperatures of at least 10° C and to be safe, in most regions around mid-May.
If you are already an expert, you have bought Zantedeschia tubers at the nursery. They are planted by digging about 5 to 7 cm into the potting soil or garden soil and then covered with soil.

Calla Zantedeschia

In the autumn, "summering" Zantedeschia is repotted in the garden, namely in the pot, where they spend the cold season in the house. Otherwise Calla should be repotted once a year because synthetic fertilizer concentrate such as green plant fertilizer and flowering fertilizer can never be dosed so precisely that no salts accumulate in the soil. The Zantedeschia reacts more sensitive than many other plants on such residues of the fertilizer and therefore regularly needs fresh soil. But not necessarily every time a bigger pot; It only needs it when the rhizomes abut the pot wall.
Vegetable juice of Calla, z. B. from the trimming of rhizomes during repotting, should always land on a pad that can be disposed of after work (old newspaper). He does not only irritate (see tip below), but causes stains on all sorts of materials.

To cut

When Calla's bract flower is long in life, its leaves turn yellow, become dry, and eventually fall off. For the plant, it would be best if you wait for the overly ripe parts of the plant to say goodbye, because they are involved in plant metabolism until they finally separate.
In a Zantedeschia on a constantly falling in the view parking space that can visually disturb, then the flower stalk can also be cut away.If it is one of the first flowers of the season, the removal of the flowered stems also has the advantage that the Calla puts her strength in the formation of other flowers (and not in the seed).
After flowering (at the end of the growing season), some leaves of the calla usually turn yellowish. These leaves can be cut away, as well as all old and dried plant parts.

Types and varieties

The calla described here with the bloom between January and April is called Zimmercalla or Ordinary Calla and botanically Zantedeschia aethiopica. "Calla", "beautiful", is the name after the fabulously beautiful Greek goddess Kalliope, because she was said to have been beautiful as well. "Zantedeschia" is the name after Giovanni Zantedeschi (Italian botanist), who discovered Calla in the 18th century and brought it to Europe.
For some time, in addition to the classic South African beauty three other varieties Calla in the (well-stocked trade) relate:
  • Zantedeschia albomaculata, spotted calla, arrow-shaped silvery-white speckled leaves
  • Zantedeschia elliottiana has a similar leaf shape and translucent white spots on the leaves
  • Zantedeschia rehmannii has lanceolate leaves, pure green without drawing
These Zantedeschien come also from Africa, but there from areas with a lot of rain and constant day-warmth in the local winter, in which they also bloom (in contrast to the Z. aethiopica, which bloom in the South African summer and in our winter).

Calla Zantedeschia

These three species bloom in our summer, from June or July, and are cared for much like the Zantedeschia aethiopica; but considering the completely different life cycle, the time of rest is here in our winter.
Cultivars with colorful flowers are now available from all Zantedeschia species. Zantedeschia aethiopica is more in soft colors, pale yellow, pink, flamingo. Zantedeschia albomaculata produces magnificent flowers with orange-golden gradient or a dark purple calyx, Zantedeschia elliottiana and rehmannii "can have many colors": white, orange, pink, dark purple.
The summer-flowering Zantedeschien naturally make themselves even better as garden or container plants than the winter-flowering classic, because they adorn the open-air stand with their blossoms.
The newest varieties of Calla can stay right in the garden and hibernate there:
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Crowborough': hardy calla with huge white flowers (from July) and lush foliage
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Glencoe' new and hardy like Crowborough, but brighter and stronger
  • Both Calla should tolerate frost to minus 20 degrees, which corresponds to USDA climate zone 6b, fits once to the German WHZ 6-8
  • However, both cultivars are "still very fresh hardy" and therefore "seizure sensitive"
  • You should z. B. not like other perennials are planted in the fall, but need the summer for rooting
  • It is also recommended to have a sheltered location, which should not be too hot or too dry
  • The hardy Calla moves in late autumn in the above ground area completely
  • "The rest" (the tubers) can be preserved with some winter protection in the form of brushwood before decaying in case of temperature drops
  • Buckets with the colorful new varieties can be overwintered after freezing (= feeding) dark


Sowing is possible, but not common and not recommended: If you want to buy seeds, you will have to do some searching in the retail trade. Whether even collected seeds germinate is not certain. When they do, the young plant needs years to flower first.

Calla Zantedeschia

It is better to grow young plants from rhizomes (Z. aethiopica) or tubers (summer flowering species). They are available to buy (exchange); But you can also try on the purchase of secondary tubers or rhizome pieces of their own plants and their rearing. Whether zantedeschies can be propagated by dividing the tubers is controversial, so it seems to be a risk.
Sensitive people, infants, pets should care for or be cautious with the Zantedeschien. All parts of the plant are slightly poisonous, they cause v.a. severe mucosal irritations, possibly the slightest contact with the sap. From Zantedeschia aethiopica one knows that, with the conspecifics it may therefore be presumed. The leaves of Z. aethiopica should even be edible, which should be of interest to very curious gourmets.

Video Board: How to Grow and care for Calla Lily / 10 years of experience.

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