Zantedeschia aethiopica

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Zantedeschia aethiopica
Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Zantedeschia aethiopica or white calla lilly has gorgeous white inflorescences.

The rhizome of most cultivars is frost resistant down to -12 ° C. The cultivar ‘Crowborough’ is the most rustic.

This plant can be grown either in the garden, in a pond, in pots on a patio or as a houseplant.

Note: All parts of the plant are toxic!


Zantedeschia aethiopica is a perennial herb of about 60 cm high, taller in the shade. It has a thick, fleshy, underground rhizome.

Leaves are evergreen, hairless and form a rosette. They are leathery, usually broadly oval with lobes at the base.

The inflorescence grows on a stem of up to 60 cm long. The spathe is about 15 cm long and 12 cm wide, ivory-white on the inside and bright green at the base and gradually white upwards on the outside. The lower part forms a wide funnel-shaped opening and the much broader upper part spreads to a curled tip. The spadix has an upper zone of about 7 cm long with small bright yellow stamens. These produce thin threads of white pollen when ripe. The lower zone is covered with yellow-green to white pistils, interspersed with mushroom-shaped sterile structures.

Fruits is a green berry  that are soft and orange at the base when they are ripe.


Common names:

Calla lily, florist calla, lily of the Nile, white calla lily


Arodes aethiopicum, Calla aethiopica, Calla ambigua, Calla moschata, Colocasia aethiopica, Otosma aethiopica, Pseudohomalomena pastoensis, Richardia aethiopica, Richardia africana


Zantedeschia: honoring Zantedeschi Giovanni, an Italian botanist of the 19th century
Aethiopica: latinisation of Ethiopia (Ethiopian, from Ethiopia)


South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland


Swampy places, 20-2,250 m altitude


USDA zone 8-11
Leaves die at 0 °C



Rich and humid or moist. May be planted in water at 5 cm depth.


Shade, semi-shade, light
More light promotes flowering, more shade promotes vegetative growth


Must always be moist to wet


In the garden: a good dose of organic fertilizer in spring
In pot: inorganic fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season


Division in spring or autumn, sowing.

Sowing instructions:

  • sow in humid substrate
  • sow at the surface, it needs light to germinate
  • 25 °C
  • sow the seeds quite apart, the tubercles are big and need ample space to develop
  • germination: 30-90 days
  • repot when the seedlings are big enough to handle