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Old 12-06-2017, 08:49 AM
 
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In Northern California, Calla lilies grow and spread like crazy. I love them, but they're so lush that when they go dormant the soil looks pretty barren. Has anyone had luck with a ground cover or low bush that can survive while the lilies are rampant and still look good once they've stopped? (I'm looking for something permanent, rather than putting something in every year).
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queentutt View Post
In Northern California, Calla lilies grow and spread like crazy. I love them, but they're so lush that when they go dormant the soil looks pretty barren. Has anyone had luck with a ground cover or low bush that can survive while the lilies are rampant and still look good once they've stopped? (I'm looking for something permanent, rather than putting something in every year).
How about a low-growing evergreen fern?

How about Oxalis oregana? Oxalis oregana Evergreen Form | Wholesale Nursery Supplies & Plant growers in Oregon | Nursery Guide

My very favorite ground cover, Galium odoratum, is evergreen in zone 8, but will die back in the winter in colder areas. Some people think it's too invasive in zone 8, but I like it's enthusiasm. http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalo...weet-woodruff/

Other possibilities that come to mind are Asarum caudatum https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pl...caudatum.shtml and evergreen violets.

Thinning your calla clumps out a bit every year after they bloom would help a ground cover compete. Because callas are very aggressive about occupying the territory and crowding other plants out.

Last edited by jacqueg; 12-06-2017 at 09:13 AM..
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:43 AM
 
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assuming you mean the common calla (zantdeschciha aethiopica) with WHITE flowers which is normally evergreen to semi-evergreen----especially if you give it water during the summer as it is native to wet and boggy areas. IF that's your plant then you might consider just giving it more summer water to keep it from going dormant along with an attractive mulch of pebbles/gravel or ground-up fir or redwood bark to help suppress weeds and keep the soil moist around the roots. if you still want plants then some of the ground covers "jacqueg" mentioned sound good---oxalis oregana ("redwood sorrel") and the native "wild ginger" asarum caudatum (there are other species as well). both of these species need some summer water especially if you are in a warm sunny spot or the sorrel especially may start looking rather shabby and shrunken.


OTOH, other callas like the colored flower ones with yellow, red, purple blooms DO naturally go dormant and something to occupy their space during dormancy might be really needed.

Last edited by georgeinbandonoregon; 12-06-2017 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 12-21-2017, 01:45 AM
 
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Thank you both for your suggestions. Yes, I'm talking about plain old white callas. I stupidly forgot to mention that all this turf war is happening beneath a fremontodendron, so summer water isn't a good idea. I really like wild ginger, but when I see it in the wild it's always in moist shade.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:47 AM
 
1,480 posts, read 789,195 times
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Originally Posted by queentutt View Post
Thank you both for your suggestions. Yes, I'm talking about plain old white callas. I stupidly forgot to mention that all this turf war is happening beneath a fremontodendron, so summer water isn't a good idea. I really like wild ginger, but when I see it in the wild it's always in moist shade.

well, this won't be the first time that plant incompatibility rears it's ugly head in a garden and one of the major laws governing gardening and gardeners is the law of "unintended consequences". maybe a reasonable idea is to move the calla away from the fremontodendron so both might be happier since their moisture needs are rather different. OTOH, if you have concerns about disturbing the roots of the shrub then you might just decide to "put down" the calla/let it die/OR just accept the fact that it periodically looks bad because of the situation and learn to live with it. that said, since callas are common where you are, you just might get another.one and plant it in a spot where it can get the water it needs to be happy and look good.


in a more moist situation if you still want a ground cover around the calla you can then try the ginger and if you want something around the "flannel bush" you might try a drought tolerant plant like creeping thyme or perhaps a sedum or ice-plant or maybe just a mulch of small sized gravel or coarse sand which needs no watering at all and allows the fremontodendron to have no worries at all with water.


hope this helps.
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