Calla: Houseplant of the Month for June
The appearance of a lady with the personality of an exuberant girl: Calla refuses to be pigeonholed.
Both stylish and sassy
Elegant, stylish, modern – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe Calla’s stunning shapes. And this houseplant offers all those things. Amidst soft green, sometimes spotted leaves, stems arise that bear beautifully styled cup-shaped bracts. And that’s as far as it goes in terms of restrained chic, because Calla goes totally crazy when it comes to colour. Bright white, pink, sunny yellow, red, purple, orange and even almost black – put together it’s an exuberant sophisticated chaos.
Fun fact The coloured bracts are often thought to be flowers, but the real flowers are very small and are on the spike in the bract.
One important element of the zeitgeist is the quest for unity, because we have more in common with each other than things that divide us. Calla fits perfectly with this trend because the plant is conquering the world across all styles and regions, and is captivating centennials, hipsters and their grandparents. Hot without pretension, stylish without limitation. It’s as if different cultures come together in this beauty as an uninhibited reflection of the inclusive new era.
Beaker of the gods
- The cup-shaped bracts inspired the legend that claims that the Greek gods drank from Calla’s beakers.
- The shape has inspired many artists, such as Diego Riviera (‘The Flower Vendor’) and Georgia O’Keeffe.
- In the Victorian language of flowers the Calla symbolised eroticism because of its sensual appearance. Giving an unmarried woman a Calla was the same as propositioning her. Yay!
Out of Africa
Calla can be found throughout southern Africa, often at the bottom of slopes amidst grass and shrubs where it can be temporarily swampy because of stagnant rainwater. The plant stores that water in its tuber in order to be able to survive dry periods. Calla came north in the 18th century with the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi, who assigned the plant to the Arum family. It derives its scientific name Zantedeschia from him.
- Calla prefers partial shade. The plant can cope with full sun, but will then produce more foliage and fewer coloured bracts.
- The soil can be slightly damp, but the plant prefers not to be standing in water.
- A bit of plant food every week boosts the flowering.
- Calla can also shine outdoors during the warmer months.
- Cut away brown leaves, but do not cut off wilted flowers: instead, pull them out of the plant stem and all with a twisting motion.
You can style Calla within a cheerful mixture of native and exotic elements. Natural materials play the leading role in a palette of pink, orange, purple, brown and green. Folklore from different countries is reflected in patterns and textiles, and you also see a lot of woven materials. Mix Calla’s attractive colours and place the plants in pots that reference other cultures: painted with ethnic patterns, modelled from clay with nose and lips, decorated with a collar or with an eye-catching woven surface. Suddenly Russian wheat patterns fit seamlessly with African bead decorations.
For more information see: www.Thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 21 Maio 2020