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The common name calla indicates some species of rhizomatous plants, originating in central and southern Africa, very common in cultivation; the botanical name is zantedeschia, and the most widespread species is zantedeschia aetiopica, a medium-large plant, with long leaves and inflorescences that can reach one meter in height, with showy white bracts. The white calla lilies they are commonly grown in the garden, in a sheltered, bright but semi-shaded place, and bloom in the late spring and summer months.
In the nursery we find other species of zantedeschia, some even hybrid, smaller in size with bracts that are lively and variously colored; these calla lilies are often grown as houseplants, so you can enjoy the flowers as early as January or February, until late spring. Often these are hybrids of the zantedeschia remannii species, a fairly rustic and resistant species, which is afraid of frost, and therefore cannot be grown in the garden, except in regions with a very mild winter climate.
Cultivate calla lilies from the apartment
The calla lilies are very widespread as potted plants, to be cultivated at home or on the terrace, as despite the fact that they require little care, it is possible to obtain from the same rhizome more blooms, always better from year to year. They are grown in capacious pots, with a good rich and soft soil, so that the large rhizomes can easily develop a good root system; generally the hybrid calla lilies tend to develop at best in containers that are not too capacious, it is in any case good to avoid putting an excessive number of rhizomes in the same vase, all crowded together. To cultivate the colored calla lilies in vase in general a couple of rhizomes are placed in a vase with diameter 25, choosing two rhizomes of the same variety we will have a fuller and more rich effect of flowers. In nature, zantedeschie are plants that develop in areas that are quite humid, to best cultivate them we will have to try to imitate this type of climate, keeping the soil always slightly wet, but not soaked in water, waiting for it to dry a little before watering again . Unfortunately it is not possible to indicate an iron rule for watering the streets, as the outdoor or home climate has a great influence on the water needs of the plants; therefore we will have to arm ourselves with patience and dip our fingers in the ground, which must always be fresh and moist, but not soaked. Watering should be fairly regular from February to March, or from when the rhizomes begin to sprout, until the foliage begins to turn yellow, in summer.
Colored calla lilies in winter
To allow the plants to rest in winter, as soon as the foliage begins to turn yellow, we suspend the watering. The fertilizations are supplied only in the period of flowering, therefore between March and May. In mid-summer the plants of colored calla lilies they tend to turn yellow and to completely dry out the aerial part: in this period of the year we can store the vases in a cool, dark and dry place, so that the rhizomes enter in vegetative rest; we will resume with watering, and we will move the vase in a luminous place, at the end of winter, when the plants will begin to sprout, to produce new leaves. The colored calla is more delicate than the white calla therefore the vegetative rest is good that it happens where the temperatures remain higher or equal to 0 ° C.
The foliage of bulbous plants
The calla plants bloom for a fairly long period, which lasts several weeks; the plants remain green and luxuriant for a few months after flowering, and therefore we will only have the leaves in the vase. Fortunately, the leaves of zantedeschia are very lush and decorative, and produce a beautiful dark green bush, often spotted with white.
The bulbs, rhizomes, corms, store reserve substances, which they will use the following year to produce their beautiful flowers; in practice we could almost say that from the moment of the first shoots until the end of flowering, bulbous plants use only the substances stored the previous year, without taking new ones from the ground or photosynthesis. In fact something similar happens, and therefore it is very important to allow these plants to store a good quantity of reserve substances, or the following year we will have scarce or even non-existent blooms.
These reserve substances, generally starches, are produced by the plant through chlorophyll photosynthesis; It is therefore of fundamental importance that we take care of the leaves even after flowering, so that they develop strong and luxuriant, to allow the plant to store a good quantity of reserve substances, and therefore have a beautiful flowering the following year .
We therefore let the plants develop as much as possible similar to the natural one, avoiding cutting the leaves when they are still green and fleshy, but instead waiting for them to naturally naturally, indicating that the rhizomes are ready for winter vegetative rest.
Another reason why bulbous plants often produce ever smaller and poorer quality flowers over the years is due to the fact that we have placed an excessive number of bulbs in the pots, which over time also tend to grow or multiply; for this reason, at the end of the vegetative season, before putting the rhizomes in a cool and dark place, for the vegetative rest, it is good to move them in larger vessels, or to divide them if they tend to multiply.
Repotting is a fundamental practice for those who want to cultivate bulbous plants in pots, whether they are calla lilies, or tulips or hyacinths: an excessive number of bulbs in the same vase can lead to scarce blooms the following year.