Plants: Arum italicum - lords and ladies

Posted by 20.04. 2008 21:24:42 (73297 readers)

Arum italicum - lords and ladies

Lords-and-ladies is an old favourite among tuberous plants. And as you can tell by the Latin name, it does not come from Bangladesh though it looks rather exotic. The arrow-shaped leaves are very attractive, marbled green with conspicuous creamy white or yellowish veins. They are popular for flower bouquets. New leaves rise in early autumn in the first phase, and overwinter until the following year. The second phase of new leaves comes in early spring. They die out in mid summer when the plant uses its strength for making berries. If you like this plant for its luxurious leaves, grow it in semi-shade.

Flowers are pale greenish white spathes and appear in mid spring. They are followed by spikes of breathtaking bright orangey-red berries in late summer/early autumn. This usually happens when the plant has no leaves or new leaves are just emerging. If you want this plant for its berries grow it in full sun.

All parts of the plant may cause severe discomfort if ingested, some people´s skin may be allergic to its sap.

It needs moist, but well-drained (especially in winter), acid soil, rich in organic material. Water and feed it freely every 3 weeks from spring until mid-summer. Then keep it dry. If you want the leaves to persist through the winter plant it in sheltered position. Otherwise it is fully hardy to -28°C (USDA zone 5).
Milan Havlis, Specializované zahradnictví
Chlumec 23, 382 32 Velešín, Czech republic
www.havlis.cz
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