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Everything you need to know about Calla Lilies
You’ll have a hard time finding a more unusual flower with such a deeply rooted cultural and historical significance as the calla lily. This elegant flower is one of the most popular choices for weddings, and there is a reason behind this.
Just as other flowers have a distinct symbolic meaning or associated emotions, so does the calla lily.
Calla Lily history & origin
Calla lilies are not technically part of the real lily family. Instead, this is a different type of flower with a bloom similar to other true lilies; it is a member of the Araceae group which includes the philodendron.
And just like the philodendron, the calla lily has fantastic air purifying qualities. The calla lily is associated with the Greek goddess, Hera, and its name is derived from the Greek word for beautiful – calla.
According to the legend, Zeus brought Hercules (his son from another woman) to Hera, his wife, while she was asleep to drink her milk. When she woke up, she pushed him away and drops of milk flew across the sky to create the milky way. The drops which fell on the ground grew into beautiful calla lilies.
Fun facts about calla lilies
- The calla lily is the symbol for rebirth and resurrection
- The calla stands for purity, holiness and faithfulness
- Calla lilies are native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland.
- It is classified as a toxic weed and pest in Western Australia
- It can grow up to 1 meter tall.
- The most common colour is white, but they also come in yellow, light blue, pink, green, orange, lavender and purple.
- Calla lily is the national flower of the island nation of Saint Helena, where it grows abundantly.
Grow your own calla lilies
It is fairly easy to grow calla lilies. These plants do not generally require too much attention. Calla lilies prefer to be planted in loose, well-drained soil, and like full sunlight or partial shade in warmer climates.
The best time to plant them is in spring but you should wait until the threat of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed sufficiently before planting your calla lilies.
Calla lilies should be planted rather deep, about 10 cm (4 inches) for the best results and spaced approximately a foot apart. Once planted, the area should be watered well.
Calla lilies enjoy being kept moist and will also benefit from a monthly dose of fertiliser throughout the growing season.