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Giant white arum lily     

Zantedeschia aethiopica

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Belonging to the Zantedeschia genus, Giant white arum lily has a botanical name of Zantedeschia aethiopica.

Calla lilly is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial with pure white flowers. Harmful if eaten/skin & eye irritant. They are heavy feeders and benefit from organic fertilizer or manure. The leaves are slightly glossy dark green, sometimes spotted, heart or lance shaped on tall stalks.

Although called the arum lily, it is neither an arum (the genus Arum) nor a lily (genus Lilium).2 It is an excellent cutflower and lasts a long time in water. These days, there are coloured cultivars. The striking arum lily “flower” is actually many tiny flowers arranged in a complex spiral pattern on the central column (spadix). The tiny flowers are arranged in male and female zones on the spadix. The top 7 cm are male flowers and the lower 1.8 cm are female.2

The flowers are faintly scented and this attracts various crawling insects and bees which are responsible for pollinating the flowers.2 It likes marshy areas, and in climates with a dry season, it will remain dormant during that season.2

The raw plant is toxic due to microscopic, sharp calcium oxalate crystals, but it can be boiled and eaten2.

It is easily cultivated by seed or division. It can be grown in deep shade, but won’t flower well in those conditions2.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   White and   Golden yellow. Leaves appear approximately as a   North Texas Green and   Bottle green

Giant white arum lily is a flower / houseplant perennial, it will last at least up to several years in its native climate.

Giant white arum lily is known for its clump-forming habit and growing to a height of approximately 1.50 metres (4.88 feet). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer.

Try planting Giant white arum lily if you'd like to attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

Popular varieties of Giant white arum lily with home gardeners are Crowborough, Green Goddess, Marshmallow, White giant and Marshmallow Pink.

South Africa is believed to be where Giant white arum lily originates from.

Giant white arum lily is known to be toxic to humans and/or animals, so be careful where you position and how you handle this plant.

Due to how easy it is to grow in a variety of conditions, Giant white arum lily is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Giant white arum lily have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Giant white arum lily

  • Dappled Sun

  • Full Shade

  • High

Arum Lilies can be left outside in most frost-prone areas if it is given a deep winter mulch. It can withstand a frost if protected by trees 1.

Grow in moist soil with heavy loam soil in water 30cm (12") deep. Mulch plants well in winter by folding the leaves over the plant.

Arums can tolerate sun, but do best in partial shade 1.

Enjoys a dappled sun / full shade position in your garden and remember to water often. Keep in mind when planting that Giant white arum lily is thought of as half hardy, so remember to protect this plant from frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Giant white arum lily to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Giant white arum lily from seed

Germinate seeds in wet sand 1. The grey seeds can be sown in clean seedling mix and covered lightly. Take care not to sow them too thickly as they will need space to form the fleshy roots2.

Transplanting Giant white arum lily

The fleshy rootstock can be divided when the plant is dormant, it should be re-planted about 5 cm deep. It may also be propagated by division where the plant is not dormant, use a sharp spade to cut out a section for replanting.2

As Giant white arum lily is half hardy, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

Harvesting Giant white arum lily

The more the flowers are cut, the more the plant will produce, but take care as the sap/juice is an irritant to mucous membranes 1.

Seed Saving Giant white arum lily

The fruit is ripe when it has turned yellowish and is soft. The pulp should be removed and the seed dried off. 2

How long does Giant white arum lily take to grow?

These estimates for how long Giant white arum lily takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

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24 days

Average 24 days | Min 21 days | Max 30 days (2)

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Giant white arum lily Etymology

The genus Zantedeschia was named in honour of the Italian physician and botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773 – 1846), who published works on the flora of the province of Brescia in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.2

The species name aethiopica is not directly related to Ethiopia – in classical times it meant south of the known world i.e. south of Egypt and Libya. Several southern African plants were given this specific epiphet early on. 2

Giant white arum lily Folklore & Trivia

- the flower means “forsaken” when used in a bouquet 1

Other names for Giant white arum lily

Calla lily, Calla, Arum, common arum lily, white arum lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng., Calla aethiopica, Richardia aethiopica

Misspellings: Cala Lily, Calla Lilly

Latest Giant white arum lily Reviews

  • Beautiful white flowers with tiny dark purple blotch inside. Hardy here in zone 6a. Requires full sun for good blooms. Loves lots & lots of water. Stunning green foliage. No pest problems at all.

    5 stars

    orientallily about growing Calla Lily, Z. aethiopica 'Crowborough'

See all Giant white arum lily reviews and experiences »


1 :Growing Herbs with Margaret Roberts; First published 1985

2 Zantedeschia aethiopica on the South African National Biodiversity website, PlantzAfrica:

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