Who can resist the elegance and style of the calla lily? These curled white flowers, also known as the alum lily, are becoming ever more popular in the UK. They are not true lilies, but their exquisite shape charmed the botanist Carolus Linnaeus in the 18th century and he named them as such. The calla’s name comes from the Greek word for beauty (an apt name!) and the Victorian’s associated it with purity and rebirth as part of their complex language of flowers.
Featured everywhere from wedding bouquets to striking event displays, the calla lily is a truly versatile flower. Though native to the warmer climes of South Africa, they can be grown in gardens and homes in the UK. Here are more reasons to love the calla lily and how to use this exotic flower in arrangements for the home and special occasions.
There’s no mistaking the graceful shape of a white calla lily. The quiet simplicity of these very modern blooms make them perfect for wedding bouquets for the stylish bride. For a romantic touch, add delicate little lily of the valley flowers that complement the calla like tiny bells. Or make them the complementary players to big statement blooms like white roses and peonies.
White calla lilies displayed in a tall vase make a simple, elegant statement. On their own they are stunning, but these white flowers look beautiful arranged with garden gathered flowers in hues of green and white. Consider cow parsley, ferns and green hydrangeas to create a subtle bouquet for the home.
Kaleidoscope of Colours
The elegant white variety is perhaps the most well-recognised, but the calla lily flowers in a rainbow of magical colours. Think lemon yellows, pastel pinks, dark purples and warm oranges.
Deep purple callas are mysterious wonders that will appeal to those with gothic sensibilities. As wedding flowers, the rich hue makes a striking contrast with the white bridal dress. Paler purple shades also make stylish additions to minimalist décor and add a subtle splash of colour to white and monochrome interiors. Some purple varieties can be so dark as to appear black, making an especially unusual choice for displays and bouquets.
Canary yellow callas twisted in a glass orb vase make a stunning arrangement for events or a special summer dinner party. This shade also pairs beautifully with freesias and white roses, for a summer bouquet. It’s a perfect gift for friends or to brighten the home during the warmer months.
Grow Your Own Calla Lilies
Those who fall in love with these flowers can become their own florist and grow their own. The hardier form of the calla lily (known as the arum lily) is easy to grow in the garden in beds, borders and pots and also makes a beautiful houseplant. If planting in the garden, make sure they have loose, well drained soil and plant them in spring. Tuburs can be bought from flower shops and garden centres and each will produce between 10 to 30 sculptural blooms. With a small amount of effort, crops of this graceful flower will appear year on year.