Calla plants are perennial herbaceous species, native to Africa, belonging to the family of araceae and the genus of zantedeschie; they produce a wide rhizomatous root, from which depart long leaves in the shape of an arrow, fleshy and shiny, often covered by a dense series of white or silvery dots.
The Ethiopian Zanthedeschia can be cultivated in the garden, or even as indoor plants; in the second case, the flowering can be stimulated in any period of the year, even if, generally, it is more likely that the callae cultivated in the house will bloom at the end of winter or at the end of summer. The big flowers are, in effect, inflorescences, formed by long pointed spikes, wrapped around themselves, enclosing a spadix, usually white, which carries countless small white or greenish flowers.
The spathes are usually white, but there are hybrids and species with spathes of various colours, from the green to the yellow, from the red to the pink; usually, each rhizome produces some inflorescences, and it is good to remove them as soon as they wither; the callae are often utilized also as cut flowers.
How to cultivate them
These large rhizomes are cultivated in a soft and rich soil, which can easily moisten but which is not subject to excessive water stagnation; a good universal soil is generally used, mixed with a little sand and a little shredded bark. Calla plants seem to develop best if grown in small containers, so it is advisable to avoid placing a single rhizome in a large pot.
During the vegetative development, let’s water them very regularly, avoiding leaving the water in the saucer, but always trying to keep the soil moist; if the air in the house is very dry let’s place the pot of Zanthedeschia etiopica in a pot holder full of expanded clay and remember to always leave at least a couple of centimeters of water in the container; in this way the water will evaporate constantly, increasing the ambient humidity.
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Calla – Ethiopian Zanthedeschia: And after flowering?
After flowering, remove all the inflorescences; the plant will tend to deteriorate and the leaves to yellow. As it happens for most of the bulbous plants also the calla plants need a period of vegetative rest to be able to produce flowers again, so as soon as the vegetation turns yellow let’s stop watering and place the vase in a cool place and not too bright.
After a few months we can start watering again the Ethiopian zanthedeschia to stimulate the development of new vegetation and new inflorescences. Plants that develop bulbs, tubers or rhizomes use the nutrients stored in the bulb or rhizome to develop the flowers during the following season; for this reason, if we remove all the foliage from our calla immediately after flowering, the calla will not have the opportunity and time to store nutrients for the next flowering.
So as long as the foliage of our calla is vigorous and green, we continue to water it and provide fertilizer for flowering plants, so that the flowering of the following year will be guaranteed.
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