The ornamental Calla Lily takes center stage this Aloha Friday. The species in my yard is called the Zantedeschia aethiopica and it is native to southern Africa. The Calla Lily is the national flower of the British territory of St. Helena and has been a symbol of Irish nationalism since 1926. These flowers are popular among brides who like to use the elegant lilies in their bridal bouquets and wedding décor. Most varieties of lily are white or light yellow in color, but there is also the less common ‘black’ calla lily, which is actually more of a dark purple or burgundy color.

This is such a regal plant, with it’s thick, shiny, green leaves, and slender, snow-white flower. Like so many other things in my yard, it is a lover of rain, and seems to thrive when it’s really wet and rainy out. The photos above wonderfully capture the essence of the relationship between the thriving plant and the thirst quenching rain. While it is important to have plenty of rain, the soil should also be well drained and loose. I find that the ones I have planted on a slope seem to do the best because of the natural drainage flowing down-hill. My lilies are also planted in full or partial sun and need this balance of sun and rain to do well all year long. They are easy to pull apart and re-plant elsewhere because they develop rhizomes and are a ‘clumping’ plant. It is recommended to fertilize regularly, but I have found that mine have never needed fertilization, but perhaps that is because they are planted down slope from my chicken coop.

There are various places to look for growing information about lilies and it all depends upon what zone you are located in as to what tips you should follow. For example, the Black Thumb Gardner has some useful tips and information regarding growing lilies outdoors in a cooler climate, like New York. I encourage finding a variety of lily suitable for your particular growing environment and giving them a try, as mine give me plenty of beautiful flowers for my kitchen table all year long.

 

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