Arisaema in the sun; was: RE: [pbs] Colchicum in the garden (and Arisaema)

Jim McKenney
Wed, 08 Sep 2004 18:38:12 PDT
Dear All:

Ellen Hornig sent this post to me thinking it went to the PBS list members,
I responded thinking I was responding to the full PBS list, and not until
then did I realize that we were posting "privately". So with Ellen's
consent, we're going public with this. Enjoy!

Hi, Jim - I *did* mean to post it to PBS - guess I didn't check first,
since I thought it always went to PBS if you replied to a list message
there.  Whoops.

Unfortunately, I was writing via, and didn't save a copy.  If
you have the energy to re-post it for me, along with your own response (and
a brief explanation of what happened), it might be of interest to other
people.  I don't think very many people think to try arisaemas in the sun -
but that is indeed where a few species like to be.

Here is Ellen's post, followed by Jim McKenney's response:

Switching here to the arisaema question: Jim, you mention that A.
consanguineum doesn't look happy for you.  I wonder if many people are
giving it too much shade?  Here in the north, it is absolutely fine in full
sun (though the blue ones look less blue there - a touch of shade becomes
them), and will take sharp drainage as well.  It's one tough plant.  In
shade, it stretches, flops, and languishes; in full sun, it's stocky,
mostly upright, and vigorous.  If in between, it's fine, but based on my
observations it really does need at least a half-day's full sun to
flourish.  And I observe a lot of them....those little offsets get into the
compost and end up all over the garden (which is how I first learned that
they're happy in full baking (northern) sun).  A. candidissimum, BTW, also
likes at least a few hours of full sun - keeps it stocky and blooming well.

And Jim: *of course* it's worth a drive all the way to here, in the middle
of nowhere.  Did you ever doubt it?  :-)

Seneca Hill Perennials
Oswego NY USA
Zone 5, with outstanding snow cover

And Jim's response:

Ellen, I have not tried these Arisaema in the sun yet, and your description
of plants in the shade under your conditions sounds just like the ones here
(which are in the shade). 

Several of the Asian Arisaema seem not to like it here: A. ciliatum, A.
consanguineum, A. candidissimum, A. griffithii, A. elephas and others come
to mind. In fact, I'm doubtful about all of the Arisaema on the monsoon

Arisaema candidissimum grew here for years, and bloomed each year; but I
eventually trashed it. Why? Because the plants came out of the ground
inflorescence first, and the "stem" of the inflorescence continued to grow
with the result that the spathe always ended up arching over into the mud.
It didn't live up to its name here very well - here it was not so much
Arisaema candidissimum as Arisaema pelodytes.

Now I realize that I may have acted too soon. It never occurred to me to
try them in the sun. In fact, I had always placed them in the coolest
places in the garden. My A. consanguineum have been here for years but have
never bloomed. And yes, they sway and arch and in general give the
impression that they are trying to get away from my garden. 

I'll move them and see what happens. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where our local Maryland
monsoon is apparently not fooling those Asian Arisaema. 

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