Arum Italicum

Jim McKenney
Thu, 15 Jul 2004 20:49:43 PDT
At 05:59 AM 7/15/2004 -0700, Debra Burgess
>Jay posted a nice photo of his Arum italicum fruiting.  I have a couple of
>bulbs in the garden and they have yet to bloom after several years in the
>ground.  Sunny spot, good drainage, average amended soil.  Any tips?
>Debra Burgess
>Lake Stevens, WA

I can't improve on the advice Jay Yourch has given you for the culture of
this plant. But I can tell you about something from my experience which may
have a bearing on your experience. 

Arum italicum has been in my garden for decades. There are big forms,
smaller forms, forms with white veining, forms with yellowish veining, some
with nearly pure green leaves. In other words there is plenty of variation.

In spite of that, I very rarely get fruiting plants. And on the rare
occasions when they do set fruit, the stems fall over quickly and the fruit
ripens on the ground. Not for me those rigidly upright sticks with a
cluster of red berries; here the fruits go from green to red lying on the
ground - and sometimes the "stem" is not even attached to the plant. 

Debra you say your plants don't bloom. In a crowded busy garden like mine,
it's easy to miss the inflorescence, big as it is. From a distance it looks
like a pale leaf or a piece of discarded honeydew melon rind. Each year I
count my chickens, but few of them hatch into fruit. 

Or maybe your plants really are too young or are stressed. I have some
seedlings here which are growing in a difficult spot; they are now over ten
years old and have not bloomed or put on size. 

Be generous with these plants: like most aroids, they can't get it rich
enough while they are in active growth.


Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I think of Arum
italicum as the winter hosta - and use it accordingly.

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