Coves care

Calla Lilies , also called water lilies , are native South African plants that are very popular in gardening for their elegant appearance, thanks to their striking flower stem that emerges directly from the rhizome.

They offer one of the most beautiful and striking flowers for gardens and indoors, which also give off a very pleasant fragrance. If you want to learn about how to take care of coves and learn about their characteristics, join us in this article where we show you all the cares for coves to keep them in an optimal state.

Coves characteristics

These are the main characteristics of the coves :

  • Scientific name: Zantedeschia aethiopica.
  • The rhizome or the bulb of the calla lilies are normally acquired.
  • They do not have a stem as such, the leaves and flower stems arise from the rhizome.
  • They need a lot of humidity.
  • It can reach up to 150 cm in height.

Popular for their large blooms, these vivacious herbaceous plants are far sturdier than many might think for their graceful appearance. These are plants that, as long as they have abundant watering, can develop well both indoors and outdoors in most temperate or hot climates. Let’s see what are the main aspects to take into account when caring for water lilies.

Calla care - Characteristics of the cleats

Temperature, light and location

The ideal temperature for the coves is between 14ºC and 20ºC . However, they can tolerate much lower temperatures. Faced with mild frosts, the aerial part of the plant is likely to freeze and die due to its fleshy leaves and stems. Even so, if this happens, the most common is that the rhizome survives, so that in the following season it sprouts again. Very severe frosts could end up damaging the rhizome as well, so in case of cold climates the plant must be moved indoors and stored until the warm months.

Regarding the location and the light for the coves , it largely depends on the climate in which we live. In hot climates, the cove will be best in a partially shaded place , where it receives light for a few hours in the morning. In cold climates, on the other hand, it will ask us for all the possible light, although indoors we must avoid placing it next to windows that can make a magnifying glass effect and burn it.

Calla care - Temperature, light and location

Pot and substrate

The calla can be planted both directly in the ground and in a pot. In case of planting the calla lilies in a pot , we will do it in a considerable size to give the rhizome enough space to develop well.

The most important thing in this sense is that the soil or substrate offers good drainage , since the plant needs constant levels of humidity. We recommend mixing it with a third of worm humus , a third of coconut fiber and a third of peat, to which we will add vermiculite and perlite to improve its absorption and aeration properties. This substrate for calla lilies is very nutritious and light, offering excellent drainage and good oxygenation. In a pot, the calla will require regular transplanting, approximately every two years. Given your watering needs, it is essential that the pot has drainage holes.

Outdoors, especially in cold climates, it is recommended to mulch the substrate with a layer of mulch , which will keep the rhizome at a suitable temperature and improve moisture retention.

Irrigation and fertilizer

Irrigation is undoubtedly the most important point in the care of this plant. From its constant need for water it receives its nickname of water lily , and it is very common to see coves grow in swampy areas or next to streams or ponds, sometimes even with their rhizome under water. Thus, we must always maintain constant humidity levels , although always without flooding. It is better to water regularly than to flood the pot once every many days.

In the warm months, the cove will appreciate a contribution of fertilizer or compost every 15 days , which can be organic and ecological and can go in the irrigation water or directly in the substrate.

Calla care - Irrigation and fertilizer

Pruning and multiplication

The only pruning of the calla lilies that is really necessary is to remove the leaves and flowers that dry out so that the calla lily does not waste energy on them.

If we want to reproduce the calla lilies , it will be much easier to do it by division of the rhizome than by sowing. At the base of any mature plant we can see a large number of suckers: by cutting one or more of them together with a piece of rhizome, with sterilized tools, we can transplant them to another pot or space with soil without problems.

When do calla lilies start to bloom

If you wonder when calla lilies bloom , consider that calla lily bulbs are usually planted in autumn, which is when they are easiest to find in nurseries and specialized stores. It is at this same time that they can be planted and will usually flower sometime between February and October, depending on whether the particular variety is late or early blooming.

It should be said that what is usually called a calla flower are actually its bracts, which in this case are called spathe and tend to be white, although currently there are several types of calla lily and spathee of many colors. So, if you are looking for colored coves , you will have varieties such as: white cove, black cove, pink cove, fuchsia cove, green cove , etc. and some that combine a couple of colors at the same time. In the center of the spathes the inflorescence grows, yellow in color and called the spadix.

Calla care - When calla lilies start to bloom

Pests and diseases of the cove

Finally, we explain the pests and diseases of calla lilies that are the most common problems when it comes to caring for them:

  • If the leaves dry out or pass quickly it is probably due to lack of watering, while if they turn yellow it may be due to the opposite. 
  • When the leaves show burned parts, it means that the sun is too intense for the plant, or that perhaps it has been watered in the hours of intense sunlight and the drops of water have made a magnifying glass effect concentrating the sun’s rays.
  • Although coves do not usually have problems with many pests, they can be attacked by the cottony mealybug , aphids or spider mites . Before the signs of these pests, act as soon as possible by removing the infected parts and applying ecological insecticide. 

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