Growing Arum italicum (Italian Arum)

Latin Name Pronunciation: air'-um

Italian Arum is a tuberous perennial grown for its spectacular foliage and bright red berries. When the rest of the garden goes to sleep in the fall, the glossy, arrow-shaped leaves appear and persist through winter, withering in mid-spring. Greenish ivory flowers resemble those of its relative, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and appear in midsummer followed by stunning orange-red berries that may last on the plant until the foliage returns again in the fall. In some areas, plants can self-sow vigorously so choose a location where that won't be a concern. All parts are very poisonous and should not be planted near vegetables or where children play.

Light/Watering: Foliage is at its best in light shade, while the red berries are most spectacular with more sun. This plant thrives in moist woodland conditions. Water during dry spells, and then reduce water when leaves begin to wither.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Grow in soil rich in organic matter with a slightly acid to neutral pH (6.5 to 7.0). A balanced fertilizer may be applied monthly during active growth.

Pests/Diseases: Seldom has disease or pest problems, and the foliage is resistant to damage by both slugs and deer.

Companions: Other evergreen plants such as Bergenia, Hellebore, and Heuchera make fine companions. Italian Arum is also a perfect succession plant to follow Hosta.

Dividing/Transplanting: Divide clumps of tubers in summer when plants are dormant.

End-of-Season Care: Withering leaves may be removed in late spring, but the bright orange-red berries will not be produced if the flowers are deadheaded.