Zantedeschia aethiopica
Common Name: calla lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White spathe with yellow spadix
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 8, and may survive Zone 7 winters with protection. Plant rhizomes 3-4” deep and 12-18” apart in spring after threat of frost has passed. Best in moist soils with full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade in the St. Louis area. Lift rhizomes in fall and store in a damp medium such as peat or immediately replant in containers to overwinter as a houseplant. Calla lilies may be planted in up to 12” of water in mud at the edge of ponds or water gardens. In this case, the rhizomes could arguably survive a St. Louis winter if the covering water does not freeze to the bottom. May also be grown year-round in containers that must be brought indoors in winter before first frost. Overwintering containers placed near a window with bright indirect light can make attractive houseplants.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Zantedeschia aethiopica, commonly called calla lily, is a rhizomatous perennial native to southern Africa where it can be found growing in a wide variety of habitats including coastal marshes, montane grasslands, and old homesteads. Mature clumps typically reach 2-3' tall and 1.5-2' wide. The large, arrowhead-shaped (sagittate) leaves and 3' tall scapes (leafless flowering stalks) emerge from underground, fleshy rhizomes. The showy flowers are of the typical arum family form, consisting of a yellow, 3" long, spike-like spadix surrounded by a bright white, funnel-shaped spathe that can reach around 9" long. Commercially grown as a very popular cut flower.

Genus name honors Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773-1846), Italian botanist.

Specific epithet means African, usually South African.

The common name calla lily comes from the Greek word kallos meaning "beauty" or "a thing of beauty". These plants are not true lilies, but rather members of the arum family.


Rhizome rot. Japanese beetles may feed on the flowers/foliage.


Borders, containers, pond peripheries, water gardens or houseplants.