Confused by Calla Lilly...outside?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by lainyg, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. lainyg

    lainyg Active Member

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    I've been watching this plant since the spring...my inexperienced eye was expecting hostas but today we have a lovely calla lilly!

    Aren't these supposed to be tropical? Is it unusual for them to be growing outdoors in BC?
     

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  2. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Hi lainyg, congrats on your spectacular Calla Lily, Zantedeschia sp.

    Calla's are rhizomatous perennials. Up here, they're considered "tender" perennials, that may or may not survive the winter outside. I'm assuming you're in zone 7 like me. we're on the edge of whether they can stay outside. If you're the nervous type ;o) you could dig up the rhizomes and winter them in a more protected (warmer) spot than outside. But if they're doing fine where they are and coming up by themselves, I'd leave them alone and just mulch them thoroughly in the winter (cover them with leaves or hay or something like that).

    Some people have different "microclimates" in different areas of their gardens where the zone may be slightly warmer or cooler depending on...a lot of things. Some people can actually "push a zone" by their treatment of certain areas in the garden enabling them to grow things that really shouldn't be able to grow there. In any case, yours seem to be doing great. However, if we have a really bitter cold winter, you could lose them.

    I hope this helps,
     
  3. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Sea Witch - what we call "Calla" can be any of two genera, actually. Calla palustris, the only member of its genus, is the only one that should truly bear the name. Zantedeschia, commonly called Florist's Calla, is the second (and the plant pictured, Z. aethiopica is the most commonly grown species.) Zants used to belong to Calla but were separated out a while back due to phylogenetic differences.

    Lainyg - I used to grow Zantedeschia in Zone 3. It all has to do with selecting the correct microclimate in your yard, and then (normally) lifting and taking good care of the rhizomes over the winter. In Zone 7 (theoretically where you are) they're a perennial that requires little other than mulching for protection.

    Now that you've got your Zant up and blooming, though, there are a few tricks to keep it happy and in flower until the frosts come. If you want the flowers for your table, grasp the stem near the base, and pull gently. They'll pop out like rhubarb stems. This is healthier for the plant than cutting the stems and leaving them on, and will stimulate vigorous reblooming. The same technique is used for deadheading and removal of spent leaves. Other than that, water and a teensy bit of high phosphorus, low nitrogen fertilizer and you're good to go.
     
  4. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Thank you, lorax, I stand corrected. I thought the Zantedeschia were the only ones called a "Calla Lily".

    I looked it up, and it sounds like Abbotsford may be in Zone 8--which surprises me since I'm closer to the ocean. Alas.
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I always used to envy British Columbians from my frosty perch in northern Alberta. I could only grow these things if I was especially conscientious about them, and even then there were plants that simply never worked for me.
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    On the other hand, the true calla can be grown far to the north (incl. Yukon and NWT):

    Calla palustris.

    One just needs a suitable aquatic habitat.
     
  7. lainyg

    lainyg Active Member

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    Thanks everyone. Wow...I never thought I'd find so many interesting things in this yard! I had another look at my Zants today and there are quite a few blooms coming up. I think I will pull some for the table :)

    I had a look at the hardiness zone map and it doesn't really make sense to me either, Sea Witch, but I'm in zone 8a! Seems that should open up a lot of interesting possibilities!
     
  8. lainyg

    lainyg Active Member

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    We picked a bunch yesterday and brought them in...just had to share a picture!
    2012-07-09_19-12-06_763.jpg
     
  9. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Those are lovely lainyg!
     

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