At Poetry in flowers, Gungahlin, Canberra, we know about quality cut flowers for the florist industry because we have been growing them for over twenty years.
Let's talk about Zanteschia this month.
These flowers originate from South Africa and about 100 years ago horticulturist in New Zealand began breeding exciting new hybrids which gave rise to the myriad of vibrant colours we see today.
We first grew them 20 years ago from plant tissue culture and used somal clonal variation to select better colours. In fact a few years ago we saw one of our selections, a variation of majestic red, used on the cover of the Interflora catalogue.
Zantedescia have two main groups. Calla lilies which come in a range of colours and flower during summer.  Colours include white, cream, yellow, pinks, oranges and burgundies.
Arum lilies which look similar to callas but are  a winter flowering species and are white. Recent hybridisation has produced some pink variations of arums.
Calla lilies should be picked before pollen sets on the stamen and should be pulled rather than cut while harvesting. If I buy these flowers from other growers I always ask questions about their harvesting techniques as I know it influences quality.
Calla lilies are often forced to flower out of season by using plant growth regulators. We developed our own technique for this and previously produced flowers year round.
This month (March) callas are being grown in Victoria and Tasmania and we have been sourcing them from agents in Sydney markets. They usually start in time for Christmas and should be available until May.