I have news and a question, so let's zip through the critique of Freddie as quickly as possible:
Freddie's pink/pink, which is boring, but still maybe worth a second look, since he appears to be more thrips-resistant than average, and is much more resistant than his siblings. This is particularly the case with the spathes,
but the leaves are less terrible than usual as well.
Don't know if this will be enough to keep him around over the long-term, but he'll survive the next purge or two.
The news: for reasons I may or may not ever explain, I've bought a new houseplant book last week, and in the course of reading it to determine whether I approve of it or not, the bit about calla lilies (Zantedeschia cvv.) jumped out at me. I've long admired Zantedeschias, but had been under the impression that they wouldn't be good plants for me to try, because of the dormancy period and general fussiness, so I've never attempted it, but the author of the new book is very enthusiastic and encouraging about them. And I've been doing okay with a few winter-dormant plants lately (Amorphophallus,1 Eucodonia), so when I saw one I liked at the ex-job last Friday, I went ahead and bought it.
Since the purchase, though, I've noticed a few things that make me wonder whether this was a bad idea. First, the author of the book is pretty enthusiastic and encouraging about everything. As far as I'm concerned, it's irresponsible to suggest that anyone grow Hedera helix indoors, and recommending Selaginella or (oh my goodness) junipers (!) is criminally so, so I probably should not have trusted the author's judgment on this to the degree I did.
On-line advice about growing Zantedeschia indoors comes from sources I consider questionable as well, but they can't agree on whether it's a good idea: advice ranges from yes, it'll live for years and produce breathtaking long-lived blooms every time you sneeze, they're wonderful, go for it to it's absolutely not worth the trouble, throw it in the garbage when it goes dormant.
So I'm looking for advice from people who have actually grown Zantedeschia before. Could you overwinter one and get it to resprout in the spring? What about reblooming? Will it work if they're indoors all year, or do they need to be outside during the summer? Was your plant(s) prone to pests?2 Rot? If it's dead, what killed it? Etc.
Whether it's a permanent resident or not, it's lovely. I just need to know how low to set my expectations.
2 My plant, unfortunately, has spider mites or thrips or both, because it did not occur to me to check inside the flower until I'd already brought the plant in the house. I have some optimism that it might be possible to end this with frequent soapy-water sprays, since the infestation appears to be pretty small and isolated to the bloom.
Then I remember how frequently I've been optimistic about thrips before, and how that optimism has never not even once been justified, and . . . well, you know.