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Re: [aroid-l] Calla lily

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Calla lily
  • From: Paul Tyerman ptyerman@ozemail.com.au
  • Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 20:07:32 +1000

>The biggest problem for me is that they want to germinate and grow
>immediately, which - when sown in the fall - is winter, requiring
>greenhouse space which I need for other things. (I grow all my
>zantedeschieas except aethiopica outdoors year-round - they're fairly
>hardy - but they've never self-sown for me.) I've found that even small
>seedlings can be gently led into dormancy, popped into some damp sand, and
>stored cool (35 F, 1-2 C) until spring (or even the following spring,
>should you overlook a few).

Steve et al,

I have never thought of Zantedeschias as setting seed in autumn?  Our
flower in late spring, then seed a month or so later, just after their
parents are dying off at the height of summer.  I have never yet harvested
any seed from mine, but they have self sowed a few times around themselves
(particularly rehmanii and albomaculata).  In the self-seeding the seed
head slowly gets heavier and heavier until it ends up on the ground, where
it rots and the seeds are dispersed into the ground in that area.  In
spring the following year I get a little clump of seedlings up.  If they
germinate immediately then they do not put anything above ground until
winter is over, at least not here that I recall, but wait until their
"parents" are growing the following spring.  

I am MUCH milder in winter than most of you I'd imagine, but the
Zantedeschia seedlings definitely wait until the following spring as far as
I know.... where their parents grow little green leaves would be obvious in
autumn when the parents are gone, so nothing comes above the ground until
the following spring.  If they germinated immediately then they must stay
below ground until after winter.  They obviously don't mind the fruit pulp
as the whole cluster of them germinate in a small packed space wherever the
fruit has lain.  I have also had this recently happen with a couple of my
hybrids (a couple of times with 'Dominique') where I have forgotten to cut
off the old flower head as I usually do.  I really don't need any more of
them so I tend to not want seed <grin>.  I shall be interested in teh case
of Dominique though to see what the seedlings look like as it is a blend of
a solid purple with some flushings of yellow, particularly towards the
edges.  Who knows WHAT would result from a selfing of that.... I guess I'll
find out in a couple of years when the seedlings flower eh?

If I was wanting to sow seed from one of the hybrids I'd let the head
mature on the plant until the stem started to wither.  I'd leave the
seedhead sitting on the ground until it started to break apart as it
rotted, then I'd just plant the whole lot into a pot and wait until the
next spring and then divide them when they come up.  I did this last spring
when I found a clump of seedlings coming up.  They did not at all seem to
mind being "repotted" (in my case, lifted out of the garden and split apart
into individual plants) one the leaves were a few inches long.  They
continued to grow just fine.  I potted them into a self-watering trough so
that they would have plenty of water as they wanted it.

Is this any help to any of you?  Hopefully.  It almost surprises me that
there could be a problem with these guys given how often seedling clumps
come up around the Zantedeschia species <grin>.  Good luck with your
seedling endeavours.  Sure will be interesting to hear what sorts of
colours you end up with.


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Cyclamen, Crocus,
Cyrtanthus, Oxalis, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just about
anything else that doesn't move!!!!!

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