Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Swartberg Giant'
Swartberg Giant Calla Lily
Item #: 9192
Zones: 7b to 10b, at least
Dormancy: Summer, Fall
Height: 54" tall
Origin: South Africa
As we headed to the top of South Africa's famed West Cape Swartberg Pass, we stopped at 4,300' elevation when we saw a patch of Zantedeschia aethiopica growing in a wet seep along the steep mountain cliffs. Of several seedlings from different locations on our month-long trek, this clone stood out in our trials for its luscious, tropical-looking, 21" long, heavily ruffled, dark green leaves and insanely huge 7" white flowers, starting in April (NC). For us, the clumps have topped out at just over 4' tall, while the flowers reach 4.5' in height. This is a truly impressive selection, although our quantities are somewhat limited...a 2013 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction!
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
Leaf Color: Green
Bloom Time: Spring
Container Role: Thrillers
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