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Botanic Garden > Question and Answer > Floral Arrangements > Finding out about calla lillies

Finding out about calla lillies

2016/8/4 9:48:32

Question
Hi Sue,
My name is Leo and I am currious about the history and the general backround of calla lilies. What is their origin? How do they grow and for how long? When do they flower? What is their "character"(is it considered gentle, hardy, fragile)? On what occasions are they usually given (i.e. weddings)Does the flower carry any social significance (i.e. red rose=love)?
The reason I am asking is that an artisian is currently making me an engagement ring for my (hopefully soon to be) fiance. The artisian's style is to use calla lillies in her design of the ring and I want to know the story behind the flower to fully appreciate the artist's work and to impress my girl.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Curious Leo

Answer
Hi Leo

What a lovely idea. Calla lilies have become very popular recently and they are a truly elegant flower. They are also known as arum lilies and are available in various colours; white, cream, yellow, gold, mango(which is a delicious colour, orangey gold), pink, and burgundy. They have quite attractive leaves which are heart/arrow shaped and sometimes have white spots on them. They have fleshy stems and grow from a rhizome and prefer a marshy soil. In Great Britain, where I am based, they need protection in the winter from frosts. You can buy them in pots, in flower, over here and some people enjoy them indoors whilst they flower. As a cut flower, the white ones are popular at Easter and in wedding bouquets where they epitomize the 1930's glamour. They have such superb lines that they have been used frequently in Art Nouveau. Lalique I am sure used the calla in his designs, I know I have seen this flower used somewhere. Picasso designed a pottery vase with an arum on it too, so they have been used by some very famous people. Has the person making the ring explained his/her reason behind using this symbol? They certainly are fashionable and very suitable in design for this use. It will look fabulous, I'm sure.

As for the symbolism of this flower, I have been looking all through my books and the only meaning I found said they symbolised.....wait for it..............ardour, which in my dictionary means feelings of great intensity and warmth, which is an entirely appropriate meaning, don't you think.

So well done you for taking such time and care for this very special gift, your lady is very lucky indeed.

Best wishes and good luck for the future

Sue Lefley


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