As a garden or terrace plant, the zantedeschia has had a little trouble making a breakthrough. That is a shame, but it is also understandable: I have noticed that there is a lot of unawareness when it comes to the zantedeschia as a garden or potted plant. If I look for information about this plant on the internet, I find a lot of stuff that is only half true and that offers little useful information on how to successfully grow zantedeschias.
The main reason behind this incomplete information, is that there is no understanding of the different kinds of zantedeschia available. The first type is the zantedeschia aetiopica. This is a perennial which, if she does not get frost and gets enough water, will behave like an evergreen. This is a real swamp plant that we usually see near a pond: that is a place where she does exceptionally well. This type of zantedeschia is a plant that survives with her thick, swollen roots and likes to stay in the ground at all times. This zantedeschia is best handeld and sold as a potted garden plant, like most other perennials. But this is not the zantedeschia I offer. The zantedeschias offered here are tuber zantedeschias.
Tuber zantedeschias are, like the crocus and the gladiolus, tubers. They can survive above the ground for some time. This zantedeschia is very easy to use for florists and pot plant growers. You can store the tubers easily, which means you can move the exact time of the flowering a little, so you can decide when you want to have them in bloom and sell them. These are also the ideal zantedeschia’s for the garden or the terrace. If the ground temperature starts to rise in early spring, in the beginning of may, you can start planting the tubers. When you are using a flower pot you can start earlier, the end of March will do then, but then you will have to store the flowerpot at a warmer place. An unheated greenhouse or a garden shed is ideal, but at a sunny place around the house will work as well.
Like the previously mentioned perennial zantedeschia, the tuber zantedeschia also comes from South Africa and loves the sun. That is another misunderstanding I seem to read a lot on the internet: that zantedeschia would need shadow. It is quite the opposite, actually: the zantedeschia loves the sun and the more sun you can give to her, the more flowers she will give you. Her very well maintained flowers will not bloom any shorter because of the sun.
The tuber zantedeschia’s I offer are mostly crossings between several species, South African zantedeschias, like the zantedeschia rehmanii, zantedeschia albomaculata and zantedeschia elliottiana. When developing these new tuber zantedeschia’s, most attention was paid to rich flowering and a beautiful shape of leafs with a good pattern. But the most important is of course the flower shape and the colour, and that is something the growers definitely succeeded at.
Perfectly shaped flowers with beautiful colours are here for you in out new assortment of zantedeschia’s.
I hope you will find the time to try a few and will love them as much as i do.
How do I Plant Tuber Zantedeschia’s?
Plant the tuber zantedeschia with at least 10 cm of soil on top of the tuber. The Zantedeschia makes roots on the lower end of the sprout that will grow out the upper side of the tuber (so the roots appear on the upper side of the tuber) A good layer of soil on top of the plant is therefore very important.
Can the Tuber Zantedeschia Remain in the Soil for the Winter?
The tuber zantedeschia cannot handle any frost. If there is any contact with ice, she will most definitely die. The perennial zantedeschia is able to handle a little bit of frost, but it is fatal for the tuber zantedeschia. I advise to cover her up really well for the winter, so the cold cannot reach her. If you have your doubts about this methods, my advice is to dig up the tuber and store her at a frost free place like the begonia and the dahlia, in your shed or garage for example.
The tuber zantedeschia that remains in the ground as well as the tuber zantedeschia that is dug up and kept in the shed can bloom for another year, albeit a little less extravagant than the first. This is because the grower that sends the zantedeschia’s treats them with a special plant hormone called gibberelline. This hormone, that is in minuscule amount added to a special bath, makes the tuber form more flowers. This is for you as a customer fantastic, because every tuber will bloom freely. But no matter how pretty it is, you will get a distorted idea of what this zantedeschia looks like. Only in the second year you will see her true form. It is different for all sorts how big the difference is: some species will do better in their second and third year than others.
The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) from Great-Britain has planted a trial field at Wisley Gardens last year. They had 75 different sorts of zantedeschia’s to judge for an Award of Garden Merit. As a member of their Bulb Committee I was involved in this trial and was able to help assess what zantedeschia’s do best in the garden. The amount of flowers the plant produces in its second and third year will be of great importance. The species that have an excellent comeback will certainly receive an AGM. I hope to learn a lot from this trial in the near future and be able to add and share information with you on my website.
Carlos van der Veek