Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Zantedeschia flower of unnamed plant

Looking down on the same flower
     Several years ago I got a Zantedeschia which had been grown from seed by my friend Terry Stanley.  She is a garden designer who used to live on Bainbridge Island, and now lives in Kingston, on the Kitsap Penninsula.  At the time I got the plant from her, she owned a nursery called Mesogeo, which specialized in Mediterranean plants and she grew many great and unusual plants from seed.
     This Zantedeschia, also known as calla lily, grew and bloomed well for a couple of years in a fairly damp, partly shaded spot in my garden right over the septic drainfield.  However, for the last couple of years, although it put out a great deal of foliage, which, by the way is spotted, it did not flower.  So this spring I dug up all the bulbs and found that it had greatly multiplied.  I got at least 50 bulbs from that one plant.  I replanted these bulbs, which had been very congested in their old location, into various places in the garden and all but the smallest of those bulbs are blooming now.
     When the flowers on this plant first open, they are a pale yellow, almost white.   If you look down into the flower you will see a dark throat in the center.  As the flower matures, the yellow gets deeper in color, eventually turning sort of mango colored.  As you can see, it is a very beautiful flower.
     In my gardening career I have grown a number of different calla lilies, including some of the white ones like the one called 'Crowborough'.  I have to say, that since it had white flowers and since it was eaten by the slugs I got rid of that plant.  I also once grew a lot of almost black flowered callas when dark flowers were in fashion.  I am not enamored of so called black flowers either, since they are hard to see in the garden and they are not colorful.  I like color, as I think I have said on more than one occasion, so out with the black flowers, too!  I do, however, love the orange flowered callas in particular, and I would not object to yellow or pink flowered ones either.
     Based on my experience growing these, they seem to do best in full sun in our climate in fairly damp soil.  The bulbs can rot, however, if the soil is not well drained enough.  They also seem to require dividing every few years, since if they get too congested they will not bloom well.  The plants I have in the garden now do not seem to be bothered much by slugs, but I use Sluggo regularly in the garden and that has cut down on the slug problems I used to have.


  1. Lovely calla! So, I'm hearing you say that you might like color just a smidge, right?

    I Mesogeo no more? Their website is still up but the phone number listed is not working. It was at Mesogeo that I got a variegated gingko that I love and cuttings of Solanum quitoense which are still thriving.

    1. Yes, sadly Mesogeo is no more. It seems like that happens a lot--good specialty nurseries go out of business. So everyone out there should support these great but small nurseries.