Calla Palustris - Calla palustris

Calla Palustris - Calla palustris

The Calla Palustris

In this article we will talk about the calla palustris, a very beautiful aquatic plant that decorates ponds, water basins and the banks of ponds and rivers.

Calla palustris or marsh calla is a perennial aquatic plant native to Europe, America and North Asia. It is a rhizomatous plant that populates above all places such as swamps, ponds, lakes by inserting its roots in the seabed but it can also be of the floating type; it does not have large dimensions, it can reach twenty-five centimeters in height. There calla palustris it has fleshy heart-shaped leaves that can reach a length of twelve centimeters. During the summer it produces very particular inflorescences wrapped in a large white bract, the spathe. The fruit of the calla palustris it is a red berry in which the seed is found.

Environment and exposure

The preferred environment of the calla palustris are swamps, ponds and the depths of the various bodies of water. It loves sunny positions but, being a resistant and rustic plant, it does not fear the cold even if you have to pay attention to frosts.


This type of plant is not particularly demanding about the soil, even if it prefers it a little acidic. When proceeding with the transplant, it will be placed in a container with sand mixed with universal earth and placed in a body of water that is not too deep.


When you proceed with the transplant, the calla palustris will be placed in a container with sand mixed with universal earth and placed in a body of water that is not too deep or it can be planted at the edge of lakes and ponds.

Water and irrigation

It prefers calm and still waters of swamps, ponds, etc., not too shallow because they are more subject to frosts and, as previously mentioned, this plant fears them a lot. They need abundant watering as the soil must always be moist.


As mentioned for other aquatic plants, the palustris plant must also be fertilized by dissolving the fertilizer in the water or the granular type can be used. We can find specific fertilizers for this type of plants in nurseries and specialized shops.


Calla palustris is multiplied by seed or by division of the rhizomes. The first takes place in the autumn season by placing the seeds extracted from the fruits in a soil with sand and peat that is kept moist; when the newborns have reached a sufficient size, they will plant themselves on the seabed or on the edge of ponds. The division of the rhizomes is also carried out during the autumn season, by dividing the rhizomes and leaving them radical in water and then transplanting them in the following spring.


The inflorescences of the calla palustris are very similar to those of the normal calla, are wrapped in a white spathe and develop from June to August.

Diseases and parasites

Being a hardy and very strong plant, it is not particularly targeted by pests and diseases. However, it is possible to proceed with a preventive treatment against parasites and fungi.


In specialized shops it is easily available from April to October.

In addition to the Calla ...

Like the calla palustris, other plants can also be placed on the margins of ponds and molds, below we will list and explain some of them.

Aromatic Calamus: this plant has sword-shaped leaves and can reach a height of seventy centimeters.

Ladle Lanceolata: this aquatic plant can have a development up to fifty centimeters.

Flowering rush: produces pink flowers and can be up to one meter high.

Caltha Palustris: yellow or white, with a height of up to fifty centimeters, it produces double flowers.

Giant Sagittaria: aquatic plant that develops white flowers and reaches a height of fifty centimeters.

Water Iris: produces wonderful dark blue-white flowers, reaching a height of seventy centimeters.

American Lysichiton: has large yellow flowers that bloom in the months of May and April, it is quite small, reaching a maximum height of thirty centimeters.

Lysichiton Camtschatcensis: it has white bracts with smaller dimensions than the previous one.

Lysimachia Thyrsiflora: has yellow flowers that bloomed from the month of May. This plant can reach a height of thirty centimeters.

Mentha Aquatica: has a very consistent development and can reach fifty centimeters in height.


Like many other very beautiful and decorative plants, this one also has a drawback that should not be underestimated, in fact it is toxic if eaten fresh.

Calla palustris is very poisonous, some symptoms of intoxication can be: swelling of the pharynx and tongue, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, tachycardia, coma.

This plant loses its poisonousness if dried, in fact after this process the rhizomes become edible.

Calle differences, bulbs, pond, cultivation of white calla and colored calla (Zantedeschia aethiopica, Calla palustris and rustic hybrids)

The varieties Zantedeschia aethiopica (Zantedeschia aethiopica "Childsiana" is always white, but dwarf,
Z. aethiopica “Green Goddes” has the flowers streaked with green, below).

. they are marsh plants, in the sense that they grow in soggy soil, or in an area that is almost constantly wet.

The rhizome is fat and long (it looks like a carrot). They must be buried as in the photo, with the vertex at the top.
Photo ©

They are native to South Africa in places where drainage is poor. These places are often subject to violent rains, swampy conditions exist for short periods, followed by long periods of drought: for this reason they are very versatile plants, which do not require particular care and are rather rustic.

Here they can be grown in an ornamental pond as they also withstand frost events is they can survive well in partially frozen water in winter, as long as the rhizome is well immersed in the mud.

The apex of the rhizome must not freeze.

However, it is better where it freezes to cultivate in the ornamental pond Calla palustris (Calla di Palude) native to our climates.

Photo © Alex Wilson

The colored varieties, on the other hand, have completely different characteristics, being hybrids.
They love a sandy, well-drained soil, they cannot grow naturally on the banks of a pond, without freezing or sooner or later rotting.
Most beautiful and colorful flowering varieties do not last beyond a single summer in home gardens, as they are quite susceptible to root rot in winter - even when brought indoors. some varieties, however, are more resistant than others - the most resistant to experiment here in the north: here is my “Mr Martin” (below), and my “Mango” (photo above at the beginning of the article).
The bulbs are also very different, as we can see from the photos, which are flat, with the underside smooth and the top with protuberances (the growth points of the new vegetation).

Photo ©

Mine in the open ground are not frozen and have been doing well for harsher winters that followed.

Here are some pictures of my orange colored Zantedeschia that slowly reappeared in spring:

It gets the sun until around 10.30am and then from 5pm, but it's in a very dry area (and it's quite close to a wall as you can see from the photos).
This colorful calla plant, as well as the yellow one, I have it in very well drained soil (gravelly) which keeps it without stagnation in winter for which I prepare it with a thick layer of leaves.

For this reason, despite the last three really cold winters (for the uninitiated I am in the icy Po Valley) it is not frozen.

Calla palustris - Water Arum or Bog Arum, Swamp Lily

  • Approximate height: 23cm (9 inches)
  • Recommended water depth over crown of plant: 5 - 15cm (2 - 6 inches)
  • Flowering time: May to June
  • Flower color: White
  • Supplied in the 9cm pot we grow them in - for best results we recommend potting on using a 3 - 4 liter pot

This attractive marginal plant produces simple white arum-like flowers in late spring, followed by bright red berries in autumn. It has heart-shaped glossy mid-green leaves, and spreads gradually on plump, shiny, creeping stems. It thrives in shallow water, and can be used to disguise the pond's edge with its lush, slightly exotic-looking leaves. Unlike many pond plants, it will grow and even flower in shade, although planting in sun or part shade will result in more blooms.

Calla palustris plants like to grow horizontally, so we have recommended a 3 or 4 liter pot for your plant because these will have a wide opening. However, a 2 liter pot would be enough if it has an opening of at least 20cm. If designing a planting scheme, we recommend approximately 2 Calla palustris plants per square foot of ground, or 1 plant per linear foot of pond edge. Read more here on how to pot and care for your plant.

Please note that this plant is toxic if eaten.

It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant growing in bogs and ponds. The leaves are rounded to heart-shaped, 6–12 cm (2 1 ⁄4 – 4 3 ⁄4 in) long on at 10–20 cm (4–8 in) petiole, and 4–12 cm (1 1 ⁄2 – 4 3 ⁄4 in) broad. The greenish-yellow inflorescence is produced on a spadix about 4–6 cm (1 1 ⁄2 – 2 1 ⁄4 in) long, enclosed in a white spathe. The fruit is a cluster of red berries, each berry containing several seeds. [3] [4] Ehraz Ahmed

The plant is very poisonous when fresh due to its high oxalic acid content, but the rhizome (like that of Caladium, Colocasia, and Arum) is edible after drying, grinding, leaching and boiling. [5] [6] [7] Ehraz Ahmed

It is native to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, in central, eastern and northern Europe (France and Norway eastward), northern Asia and northern North America (Alaska, Canada, and northeastern contiguous United States). [1] [8] [9] [10] Ehraz Ahmed

The genus formerly also included a number of other species, which have now been transferred to the separate genus Zantedeschia. These plants from tropical Africa, however, are still often termed "calla lilies" but should not be confused with C. palustris. Ehraz Ahmed

Multiplication of calla lilies

The most suitable period for the multiplication of the calla is the period of vegetative rest which starts about 2 months after flowering and it is clearly visible as the leaves turn yellow and wither.

The multiplication of calla lilies takes place through the separation of tubers or rhizomatous bulbs planted the previous year and rarely by sowing.

The tubers obtained by division must have a minimum size of about 10-12 cm in diameter and must be dried before being implanted.

The reproduction by division of the rhizomes should be done after about 2 months from flowering.

For further information we advise you to read the:

Name Status Confidence level Source Date supplied
Calla brevis (Raf.) Á.Löve & D.Löve Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla cordifolia Stokes Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla generalis E.H.L.Krause Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla ovatifolia Gilib. [Invalid] Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla palustris f. aroiformis Asch. & Graebn. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla palustris f. gracilis Asch. & Graebn. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Calla palustris f. palustris Synonym TRO 2012-04-18
Calla palustris f. polyspathacea Vict. & J. Rousseau Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Callaion bispatha (Raf.) Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Callaion brevis (Raf.) Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Callaion heterophylla (Raf.) Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Callaion palustris (L.) Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Dracunculus paludosus Montandon Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Provenzalia bispatha Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Provenzalia brevis Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Provenzalia heterophyla Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23
Provenzalia palustris (L.) Raf. Synonym WCSP 2012-03-23

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Calla Palustris - Calla palustris - garden

At the Punto Giardini nursery you can find a collection of oxygenating marsh aquatic plants grown in containers that make their transport easy from the garden to your pond, some specimens planted in the pond located at the entrance to the nursery and in the turtle pond located behind. a majestic Spanish amphora between monolithic stones and ponds carved in the stones make our environment suggestive and pleasant where there is a permanent exhibition of Tuscan terracotta pots impruneta

photos of some marsh and aquatic plants in the pond of the nursery

The soil must have a clayey structure and be very nourished with well-composed organic substances.

Manure or fresh guano should not be used. The soil is spread on the bottom, pressed evenly with the boots until a minimum thickness of 15cm of pressed soil is obtained, it is planted more than 5 cm higher than the soil level, the soil is evenly leveled, and 5 cm of gravel is spread with 10mm diameter across the bottom.

The gravel will have a dual function, the first of preventing the floating of the light organic parts of the soil, the second of preventing the fish that we will put, from moving the soil on the bottom with their tails and clouding the water. In ponds made with a plastic sheet, before putting the soil, spread 5 centimeters of fine sand on the bottom to avoid piercing the sheet when passing the soil.

Just remove the plants from the pot and bury them 5 centimeters higher than the level of the soil that has been prepared, the remaining 5 centimeters will be used to put the gravel (see the earth). The marshy plants at the edges will be planted first and the submerged and oxygenating plants last, because the latter remain out of the water as little as possible with the risk of atrophying, so immediately after planting, put the water in the pond.

The plants that you choose must, in addition to being to your liking, be suitable for the water depth of the pond, at the nursery center gardening armeni giardini the plants on the plants will be delivered with a label showing the name of the plant and the tolerated water depth. from the same.

Fill the pond with tap water, taking care to put an onion in front of the pipe and break the water fall, avoiding the earth boiling and making the water muddy.

All marshy aquatic plants are luxuriantly developed, especially the submerged plants when the vegetation excessively clutters the intended area, we intervene with the scissors at any time of the year.

They are indispensable in a pond, they keep the stagnant water clean, clear, odorless and oxygenated so that fish and other animals can live without problems.

Their development is rapid and abundant. When you notice that there are too many, just cut with a pair of scissors below 10 centimeters of the water level and wait for the whole cut that floats.

These plants are not planted, but lean on the water To ensure that they do not occupy the entire surface of the pond, tie together some sticks in the shape of a triangle or other, place them on the water and place the plants inside, you can also use a string that floats attached to the edges. These plants also have a great ability to oxygenate the water.

Video: SEMPACHERBLUME Calla palustris 2