In & out plants

In&Out Plants are the Houseplants of the Month for May.         Calla, Celosia, Lilium, Campanula and Platycodon(Balloon Flower) bring the garden indoors, and create fun second living room outdoors on your patio or balcony. This article will feature two; Calla and Celosia(Cockscomb)

Calla - Classic beauty with a modern look

African roots, coloured calyxes, dark-green leaves: Calla is a surprising feature in your garden with a unique silhouette.

You’re probably familiar with Calla, also known as Zantedeschia, as a cut flower and houseplant, but a Calla in a pot is also a great asset in your garden during frost-free periods. It gives your garden an attractive, full bloom creating a cheerful ambience with its upward lines. Amidst the soft green leaves (which are sometimes spotted), stems rise up bearing beautifully stylised spathes. These can be white, pink or yellow, but also red, purple, orange and even near-black. The decorative value comes mainly from the coloured calyxes: the actual flowers are very small and located on the spadix in the spathe.

Calla is native to southern Africa where the plant often grows at the bottom of slopes between grass or wet swampy conditions. The plant stores rain water in its root tubers to be able to get through drier periods. The Calla came north in the 18th century with the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi, who classified the plant in the arum family. It makes for a good outdoor plant and also does well in pots and planters. In the soil, Calla prefers to be near a pond where it’s a bit damp

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Calla Trivia

  • Greek Gods are said to have used the calyxes as goblets.
  • It’s one of the few flowering plants that goes well in a modern, stripped-down garden.
  • The flower was painted regularly by artists Diego Riviera ('The Flower Vendor') and Georgia O'Keeffe.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers the Calla symbolises eroticism.  

Calla Care

  • Partial shade, ideal outdoor temperature is 15°C. In full sun Calla will produce more leaves and fewer coloured calyxes.
  • Firm pot soil containing a bit of clay, soil can be slightly damp, but not soaking wet.
  • A bit of plant food once a week encourages flowering.
  • Cut off brown leaves, but don’t cut off withered flowers: pull them out stalk and all.

 

Cockscomb - Growing, blooming jewel for indoors and outdoors

You can’t miss Cockscomb - this feature plant stands out with brilliant colours and shapes that you want to touch in order to check whether they’re real (and they are!).

Cockscomb has several faces. The plant is available with flaming torches (spicata, sturdy spear-like flowers), adorable little tails or a fantastic comb full of velvet whorls that look like brains. The colours are blinding: white, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, green or multi-coloured, which combine colours such as orange and red. Cockscomb reaches a height of 35-40 cm, has a slightly spicy fragrance and needs nothing apart from enough water to keep flowering beautifully for months.

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Origin

Cockscomb is a member of the Amaranth family and grows in tropical regions in Africa,Asia,  Indonesia and South America. There are around 45 known species. The name is derived from the Greek word 'keleos', which means ‘burning’ and refers to the flame shape of the original Cockscomb.

Symbolism

Cockscomb symbolises boldness. If you want to wish someone courage in something challenging, the slightly unusual Cockscomb makes an excellent gift.

Cockscomb Care

  • Partial shade, light or full sun: Cockscomb doesn’t mind. 
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out - Cockscomb likes to drink.

  • Some plant food once a week helps extend the flowering. 

  • Don’t place Cockscomb near the fruit bowl. Fruit emits ethylene gas that causes flowers to age more rapidly.

  • Cockscomb can also go outdoors during seasons when there’s no frost.