How to grow the water lily or calla

The water lily, also called coves, is one of the most famous flowers in bouquets and ornamental plants, due to its delicate flower. This toxic plant native to southern Africa is tremendously decorative. We tell you the secrets of their care.

Origin and present distribution of the water lily

The water lilies whose scientific name is Zantedeschia ethiopica they belong to a very small genus of plants of only 8 accepted species. Although there are more names, they are synonymous with these 8.

Specifically, the water lily is found today as an ornamental plant throughout the width and length of the planet, but its distribution in the natural environment is another very different story. According to data from, this species is native to South Africa, more specifically in Mozambique and neighboring areas, where it is evident that it is found in a natural state, but today it is widely distributed throughout Europe, the west coast of the American continent, Central America Australia and New Zealand mainly. In Spain, its presence is quite high throughout the peninsula, always in coastal areas.

Historically, they have been known for a long time because they already appear in the Greek mythology linked to Venusgoddess of love, beauty and fertility, and also the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage. Of course, the association of the love ties of the water lily is evident in Classical Greece and has reached our days because you will see this flower in numerous flower arrangements at weddings.

In Europe they were introduced many centuries ago. The first written reference to this plant dates back to 1664 from the Royal Garden in Paris, but it could have been long before its introduction to the continent.

The misnamed water lily is not a lily

This is something important that you should know. The water lily is not a lilyand although they are rhizomatous as some liliesthe taxonomic relationship is zero since they do not even belong to the same family.

Are water lilies white? Not always…

Normally yes they are blancos o of ccream smell although they are becoming increasingly popular pink varieties or including one almost garnet purple, intense burgundy color, and even orange and yellow that almost hurt the eyes! They have very vivid colors.

It is very popular because the flower’s own tissue It’s thick with a really smooth texture that lasts a long time as a cut flower. They are very resistant and also have a very pleasant, sweet and very delicate aroma.

The plant has large leaves, dark green in color and low in size, ideal for indoors, which is why it has become truly popular.

The flowering of water lilies is persistent once it blooms but we have to provide the plant with two things to activate flowering. temperatures warm and humidity. Later we will see it in depth.

It is a toxic plant and if you have pets like cats that tend to purge themselves by eating leaves, move this plant out of their reach.

water lily care

If you live in the right area you can grow lilies outdoors. It is quite possible that many “die” in winter, but the rhizome lies dormant underground until the following spring. And what is that suitable area?

Well, mainly shady, humid and warm environments. All very tropical apparently, but we will see later that there is a wide range of climates. Let’s see variable by variable what the also calls need coves.

water lily

temperature and light

they like the warm environment. One summer day about 25 degrees It is wonderful, although the 20 of a house are perfect for this species, although it can withstand lower temperatures, reaching a few degrees below zero without being very persistent and very aggressive frosts.

According to the hardness zones (they are a classification of thermal rusticity widely used in plants) the water lily supports temperatures of between 1 and -5ºC but not for a long time.

They are seasonal flowers in their natural habitat but at home they can stay green all year round.

Regarding the lighting issue they can’t stand direct sun. Don’t put them near a window. They will like a certain indirect and subdued light and they do not mind grow in partial shade. If you have a room that receives the sun during the last hours of the day, for example, the water lilies will grow without any problem.

It is important to note that temperatures below at 10ºC they manage to inactivate the plant and it will not be able to flower, just like if they have a dry substrate. To see a flower it is important to take these factors into account.

Irrigation and environmental humidity

It is one of the determining factors of this plant. need much water. We always tend to say that many plants tend to err on the side of watering too much, that it is better to stay short because of the feared root suffocation. Well, the water lily or calla is one of those exceptions that confirm the rule.

You don’t have to go too far either, but indoors they may need up to a daily watering indoors. You have to keep the substrate humid continuously, more than humid in fact during flowering, which will be in spring and part of summer.

Once it passes, the irrigation frequency should be gradually lowered until the arrival of the winter where we will rest to the rhizome without any irrigation. When the winter passes we can transplant the rhizome (it is advisable every 2 years) and start watering for regrowth.

Outdoors less since the water retention capacity of the soil is greater than that of a substrate in a pot.

According to the distribution we can find this species in Coast zones, that is, where there is ambient humidity. We have to provide it. Can spray water from time to time and/or put a gravel plate or expanded clay balls with water.

water lily

Soil and fertilizer for water lily

Another of the aspects in which this flat is contrary to the common of the kingdom. Although a floor with a good water retention but well drained is always ideal, it will not suffer if the soil texture it is clayey, that is, heavy.

We must remember that these water lilies are called water lilies because they grow in pond areas, where it is very common to have a waterlogged and caked soil structure, with a silty, heavy and poorly aerated texture. The ideal pH for this plant is neutral or slightly acid.

Fertilization must be done a little before and during flowering. It is recommended to use slow release fertilizers. The fertilization It is important to cause flowering in addition to the control of temperature and humidity.

Water Lily Propagation

Rhizomatous plants are really easy to multiply. Once they sprout from the rhizome we can propagate them by division. Outdoors they will occupy the space that you allow them by themselves in groups.

With time and the passing of years, it is easy for the “mother” rhizome, so to speak, is losing vigorIt is advisable to renew them from time to time. Indoors the transplant should also be done every 2 years.

Common Water Lily Deficiencies and Diseases

Yellowed leaves: It is almost always a symptom of drought. It is a plant that needs a lot of water. It can also be cold heat stress. Keep an eye on these two aspects and you will see that it improves substantially.

Does not bloom: It is also a matter of heat and humidity and/or irrigation. Indoors, it is necessary to go to a gravel plate with water around it to provide the necessary humidity. Home interiors are often very dry. Use a slow release fertilizer.

The content of this article from our section of Agronotips was made by www.agromatica.eswhich was revised and republished by

2023-05-25 09:08:05

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