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Gardeners often refer to the Zantedeschia aethiopica flower as the calla lily, though the plant is not actually a lily at all. Common white calla lilies sport large, bright green leaves accented by a hearty, tube-shaped white flower. Their great beauty makes the plants popular among green fingers. For gardeners seeking a calla lily substitute, similar looking plants in the Zantedeschia genus --- as well as completely unrelated lilies -- may fit the bill.
calla lilly image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com
While the Zantedeschia aethopica's large white blossom is synonymous with calla lily, other Zanthedeschia plants have very similar features. The Zantedeschia elliottiana, or golden calla, sprouts deep yellow flowers, while the Zantedeschia rehmannii --- known as the pink calla or pink arum --- has lavender, red or violet flowers. Like the Zantedeschia aethiopica, other members of the Zantedeschia genus derive from Northeastern Africa. These plants sport thick, fan-like green leaves in hues of dark green, sometimes speckled with flecks of white. Zantedeschia are evergreen perennials that grow from 1 to 2 feet tall. They flourish in full sun to light shade with heavy watering.
Sometimes known as the trumpet lily --- an indication of the trumpet-like shape of its flower, which takes a form similar to the shape of the calla lily --- the Lillium regale comes from Western China. The regal lily grows taller than calla plants, reaching heights up to 3 feet. Like the calla, its flowers sport thick, leathery petals that bloom in white, pink or purple shades. Yellow hues accent the interior of the petals, which start in a funnel formation similar to the calla but eventually spread out in a star formation as the flower matures. The regal lily prefers full sun to partial shade and a medium amount of water.
While the regal lily provides a larger stand-in for calla lilies, the western trillium --- or Trillium ovatum --- presents green fingers with a more compact option. This low-growing plant reaches heights of only 16 inches. Its three broad, fan-like leaves are similar in appearance to the thick leaves of the calla, in miniature form. In the spring season, the western trillium sprouts a three-petaled white flower which becomes pink or red with age. Due to its springtime bloom, the plant is sometimes dubbed the wake robin. Varieties of the western trillium include the reddish brown-petalled roundleaf trillium and the mottled giant wake robin, or trillium chloropetolum.
Easter Lily image by Michael Costable from Fotolia.com
Lilium longifloru, commonly known as the Easter lily, is similar in height and appearance to the calla lily. This popular lily plant grows from 1 to 3 feet tall and features a white, thick-petalled flower blossom with yellow pods of pollen. Unlike the calla, this flower features six petals in a star formation. Rather than broad leaves, the Easter lily has thin, pointed leaves that grow alternately up its stem. This calla lily alternative thrives in bright light and cool temperatures. The Easter lily prefers moderate watering and well-drained soil.
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