Sculptural & Colorful Calla Lilies


WARNING : I was one of the first to write about King Louis, but I regret to take back everything positive I have written about this company in the past, as three separate horrible service interactions with them in recent years leaves me to conclude they are unprofessional, unreliable, unethical and unwilling to service customers fairly and logically. I WILL NEVER PATRONIZE THIS COMPANY OR ANY OF ITS PRODUCTS AGAIN UNLESS THEY HAVE A COMPLETE OVERHAUL OF MANAGEMENT, STAFF AND SYSTEMS.

I am so happy that these brightly colored calla lily hybrids are now being raised in the Philippines and their prices are slowly dropping to realistic levels. I got these from King Louis farms at their wholesale pick-up point at the Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City the other day for a reception at the Beacon Academy. But after the event was over, we took home the flowers and recycled them for a home arrangement later the same day.


It wasn’t my original intention to use calla lilies, but they didn’t have enough white lilies so I took all of the colored callas they had left. Production is still erratic, and flowers were barely sorted by size and color, so the net effect was as though one went to their prolific backyard flower garden and picked several dozen blooms in a range of colors from yellow to purple.


I think they look best on their own, in simple glass vases with clean water. They are rather sturdy flowers, and are fine out of water for several hours, so you can experiment with arrangements that arerather unusual. Turning them upside down is something that published florist Jeff Leatham of Four Seasons fame seems to have trademarked… The callas looked terrific on our coffee table, with an equally bright painting by a friend in the background.


Earlier the same day, the flowers were put near a buffet in a large institutional school lobby and they kind of got swallowed up. They were a nice burst of color, but not quite the effect I had hoped for. Oh well. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. But you won’t know if you don’t try it. :)


As for the mystery of mangosteens with different densities and floating or sinking propensities, I have no clue what the answer is but they make for great conversation starters when you ask someone “why do you think some mangosteens sink while others float?” — air inside the fruit? ripeness? density? worms? …

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8 Responses

  1. I think calla lilies are beautiful and should be exposed to be admired so why on earth would anyone want to submerge them in water. Maybe I dont have an artistic eye thats why I just dont get it. I feel like the poor thing cant breathe.

  2. pinkytab, actually, the calla bloom is magnified in the water, and as such looks very interesting in that treatment. I would try it before knocking it, but it probably isn’t for everyone. And the stem of callas apparently have an unusual quality of absorbing water differently from other flowers that only suck up water up their stem opening. So they can have their stems bent out of shape, and still be hydrated as long as a part of the stem is submerged. It’s not like the end of the bloom has a nose to breathe through… :) Some other unusual arrangements with callas, here.

  3. i think it’s because of worms. when a mangosteen has a worm on it, when the fruit is submerged in water, the worm inside (with all its wisdom) gets alarmed, grows a pair of fins and starts swimming making the mangosteen appear as if its density is lighter than water. the more worms in synchronized swimming, the higher it floats.

    hehehe i am so full of crap.

    on an enlightened note, the lilies are lovely. we were supposed to have these flowers in our wedding but it was too expensive… we ended up in quiapo with a riot of tulips.

  4. Perhaps the fruits that ‘sink’ have bigger and heavier seeds, while the ones that ‘float’ are the ones that have smaller, lighter seeds?

  5. Fruit will float because they contain air in the peel, cavities and tissues. Mangosteens have a rind, a core. and some interspersed seeds within the core. The gas content changes as they ripen altering specific gravity inside the fruit different from water’s own relative density. Sometimes the rind structure will affect osmotic ability. So once you get the ratios correctly, then you can separate those that float and those that sink. To do this you will need an osmotic caliper that also measures relative densities of brix and starch if such an instrument even exists – in the end i would use bonsais instead of mangosteens.

  6. what beautiful calla lilies!!!!!
    i miss the smell and beauty of sampaguita that when i saw sampaguita plants in l.a. chinatown, i bought it (original price was $20.00 for an 8″ pot but was able to make tawad to 2 pots for $30.00 – a little pricey for my budget) to try growing it at home. this was like 2 years ago. they’re still alive although not flowering. i’ve searched the internet on info on sampaguita care (more famously known as persian jasmine in the internet) but found none.
    maybe, one of your readers can direct me to such a website. i’d like to try propagating them also after i make them flower first.
    thanks so much in advance.
    p.s. mm, love your website!!!

  7. A lot of hotels here in the US have this type flower arrangement in their lobby area, wherein the flowers are submerged in water. They’ve become so common, that they’ve been christened them “test tube” arrangements by some professional florists.

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