Photo by T. Avent taken at S. Hogan Gdn, OR
Zantedeschia aethiopica 'White Giant'
White Giant Calla Lily
Item #: 3695
Zones: 7a to 10b
Dormancy: Summer, Fall
Height: 72" tall
Origin: South Africa
We first saw this giant calla lily at the California garden of plantsman/garden writer Sonny Garcia and were blown away. Lining the walkway were these giant, green and white speckled-leaved Zantedeschia aethiopica, whose foliage topped out above waist high. Even more amazing were the 6' tall flower stems towering above our heads. The flower is the classic, large, creamy-white cup typical of the species...except Zantedeschia 'White Giant' has been doing some really good steroids. In our garden, we have only been able to muster 4' tall stems, 2' long x 1' wide foliage and 5.5' tall flower spikes, but that's still not bad. Keep in mind the height increases each year as the diameter of the tubers increase.
Calla lilies (Zantedeschia) are low maintenance. To keep them at their most attractive state, merely remove leaves and flowers as they fade. When grown in an area with alternating warm and cold spells in the winter, the lush growth produced by Zantedeschia aethiopica during a warm spell can be frozen by a cold spell; merely cut away the damaged foliage and they will soon put up new growth. They do not seem to be harmed by this interruption. The other commonly grown species remain dormant through the winter.
Zantedeschia aethiopica is at its best when grown in a wet site. Indeed it will thrive grown in a pot submerged in water. Its performance in a drier location will be disappointing. Please note that this applies to this one species of calla lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica. The other commonly grown species:the yellow flowered Zantedeschia elliottiana, the white flowered, white speckled leafed Zantedeschia albomaculata and the pink flowered, Zantedeschia rehmannii will thrive in soils of medium moisture level. This also applies to the hybrids between these 3 species. All are winter hardy in zone 7 so the tubers can be left in the ground over winter.All want sun for at least half a day. It is best to remove spent flowers so seeds are not produced. Named cultivars could be swamped by inferior seedlings if the seed was allowed to drop and grow.
The flowers of calla lilies are of course very showy and dramatic. They are also superb cut flowers, lasting many weeks. The broad foliage of most species is also an asset, contrasting with finer textured plants. The white speckling of some species, or the gold striping of Zantedeschia aethiopica 'African Gold' is an additional ornamental feature.
Flower Color: White/Cream
Container Role: Thrillers