The calla

Irrigate calla

The calla is a wonderful plant that grows spontaneously along the roadsides if it finds the right soil. It is often found along streams and waterways, is native to Africa and is also called the lily of the Nile. The calla lilies are grown using bulbs, which are buried in the garden or in a pot in spring. The outdoor soil must be prepared well by tilling it and mixing a little peat with it; the bulbs must be spaced apart to let the flowers grow and develop freely and sown at a depth of about 20 cm. The calla, or Zantedeschia, is an evergreen plant that blooms in spring and the bulbs should be placed in the ground when the temperature reaches at least 15 °. When the plant has reached a height of 15 cm, it is necessary to start fertilizing it and giving more water, intensifying during flowering. The calla is grown to be used as a cut flower, or to create flowering spots in the garden. When there are no flowers, the water must be limited to the maximum, making sure that the soil does not become completely dry, while from February to October it is necessary to abound a little more by nebulizing the leaves to keep the environment constantly humid.

Cultivating calla lilies

The white part of the calla that everyone believes to be a flower, in reality it is not, but it is about rolled leaves that wrap around the internal inflorescence. The yellow rod in the center of the final part of the white stem has female flowers in the lower part and male ones in the upper part. Cultivation begins with the bulb and, once the plant is born, it should be watered regularly and fertilized in moderation to keep the flower for a long time which will be removed once it dries up. The calla can exceed one meter in height and also produces fruits consisting of inedible berries. Cultivation is mainly done to sell cut flowers, which must be placed in a vase with a little water and specific fertilizer for flowers. The plants can be of two types, spring flowering or autumn flowering; in the first case the flowers will develop in May and in the second in October. In both cases, once flowering is complete, the plants require a rest period that lasts at least three months from the fall of the last flower. They are plants that love humid environments, therefore it is good practice to spray them regularly to avoid the flower that could get stained.

Fertilize calla lilies

The plant must be fertilized only when it blooms with a liquid fertilizer diluted in water. During the other months, in addition to almost completely suspending watering, fertilizer must be avoided. For the species that bloom in spring, fertilization begins in February and ends in June, while for the autumn ones it must be done from April to October. The fertilizer must have a higher percentage of potassium, little phosphorus, even less nitrogen and of course all the essential minerals such as zinc, iron, manganese, boron, molybdenum and magnesium. There are also specific fertilizers for calla lilies on the market, which must be administered to a slightly lesser extent than what is written on the package. Too much fertilizer is bad, especially if exposure, soil and irrigation are correct. The dry leaves must be removed, in order to preserve the onset of fungi and parasites and the fertilizer must be given only when there are flowers once a week in the soil or on the leaves. The calla lilies grown in pots should be repotted every two years in larger containers with new soil, leaving them for a few months without any type of fertilizer.

La calla: Avoid stagnation of water

The calla fears the stagnation of water that causes the rotting of the roots, a very frequent and fatal pathology for every flowering plant. To further protect the roots, calla lilies grown in the garden or in pots on the balcony should be sprinkled with mulch around the stem, because frost is one of the worst enemies of this plant. Some more delicate species must be removed from the earth once flowering is complete and repotted between December and January. In addition to root rot, calla lilies are subject to all the most common types of infestation of outdoor plants. A frequent parasite is the cochineal, which is immediately noticeable to the naked eye and must be eradicated immediately before it kills the plant. Attention must be paid to the red spider, which can be seen with thin filaments under the leaves that have roundish and brownish excoriations on the upper part. The only remedy is the insecticide that you buy in any store. When the leaves curl up it is not always due to fungi or parasites, but it could be due to little water and when they burn the plant exposed to direct sun has been misted too much.

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