'I loved the sculptural qualities of these flowers' J J Marshall
Large white Calla Lilies can grow to six feet tall, but the coloured ones are the dwarf variety that grow to eighteen inches, and come in shades of yellow, orange, green, pink, lavender and purple. Callas aren’t really lilies but are related to the wild Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and their flowers aren’t really flowers but funnel-shaped ‘spathes’ of coloured outer leaves that surround the yellow ‘spadix’ in the centre. They are an ‘architectural’ flower, their well-defined shape and structure adding drama and substance to any flower border, whilst their often white or cream speckled leaves add interest to border foliage. They also thrive as a houseplant in humid conditions, but it should be noted they contain oxalic acid, which if ingested can cause swelling of the lips and throat, and vomiting.
Callas are a native of South Africa and are a rhizomatous, herbaceous, perennial that if grown in moist conditions are also evergreen. Their preferred habitat is on the bank of a stream or pond, in partial shade, so in a garden they can be used for those often difficult darker, damper positions not enjoyed by many others.
As a cut flower, they are usefully long lasting and look striking either as a simple arrangement of a few blooms or with other flowers.