Arums give one last color display with seed stalks

Published on Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:38 - Written by Dee Bishop, In Our Garden

Aren’t these pretty? I wrote about arums — specifically Arum italicum, with the beautiful dark green arrow-shaped leaves splotched with white — last winter. I want to show you the colorful seed stalks they put up right before disappearing for the summer.

I have had arums in my woodland gardens for many years and I would hate to be without it. I have always envied people who were able to grow huge, beautiful hostas. I have planted several kinds, only to watch them languish and die a slow painful death in my too-dry yard.

I have about given up on hostas, but enjoy the arums that I always have planted to grow with the hostas to provide color in my winter garden. Arums show up in late fall-early winter, and grow beautifully all winter, providing color when it is most needed.

Well, as you see in the photo, winter color is not the only color they give. These beautiful bright red seed stalks show up about the time the foliage disappears in early summer. Such a joyful surprise! They last a couple of months, gradually “melting” away, leaving the seeds to start more arums next spring.

Arums grow well in my dry shade gardens, since deciduous foliage on the trees allows winter sun to provide the needed light to grow properly all winter and make the spathe-type bloom, followed by stalks of red seed. We usually get enough rain in winter and spring so that I don’t have to water the arums in winter when they are actively growing.

They just need good humusy soil that drains well and plenty of sun in winter.