Callas everywhere

By late spring a year ago I noticed handfuls of big leafed seedlings scattered through the garden. The thought occurred that these looked much like a calla lily (and not the caustic Giant hogweed that was a popular topic at the time). I was reminded since a neglected, nearly forgotten, somewhat cold hardy calla (rated as zone 7b in this 7a/6b garden) was moved from beneath a wide spreading Oakleaf hydrangea sometime the prior season. This calla lily never amounted to much, partly because it was too shaded, but also I expected that it was stunted by winter’s cold, and since it was marginally cold hardy I figured it could never amount to much. I questioned that the seedlings were calla lilies only because I had never seen a flower on the one that was transplanted, so how could there be seedlings?

The original calla lily was moved to a less shaded area, where it has thrived.

A year later (now), it is most definitely a calla, or an arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), and several are growing with exceptional vigor. All are beginning to flower. So, again we have a partially explained mystery. I know where it came from, but how seeds came from a barely surviving calla hidden beneath an Oakleaf hydrangea, I can only guess. But, I’m not complaining, and while surviving this mild winter just past was not challenging, I’ll be interested to see what happens when we have a real winter.

Of course, Arum lily is the least colorful of the callas, and I suspect that in deep shade its flower was completely green so that it didn’t stand out from the leaves. Even with the splashes of white, this hardiest of calla lilies is not an eye catcher, but I’m happy to have it, though a few of the seedlings are likely to be moved to give them a bit more room.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    Is this in dry shade, or good moisture?

    1. Dave says:

      All are in areas with good moisture.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    ?! Ours are solid white! They are barely naturalized, and not at all aggressively invasive. Those in San Mateo County are likely descendants of those that Diego Rivera painted.

    1. Dave says:

      Certainty, others in this area have planted this hardier calla, but it’s not common so it’s unlikely we’ll ever see them escape a garden.

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