Arums Italicum or Italian lords-and-ladies are attractive tuberous perennials originally native to the Mediterranean region. Appearing from the end of March from an underground tuber, its arrow-shaped leaves will fade as creamy white flowers appear in the spring. As these begin to wither from late September, berries will gradually start emerging. Starting off pea green, these will slowly change through yellow to orange-red. Blackbirds eagerly await for them to shift colour and ripen! They will happily peck every berry off and will proceed to spread the seeds around by wiping their beaks on the ground, trees or any structure they can find. Arums italicum are perfect for woodland planting and look particularly good mixed with hostas.
Plant around 10 to 15 cm deep and 30 to 40 cm apart in deep, fertile, humus-rich soil and dappled shade — allowing for around 5 tubers per square meter. Please note that arums are invasive and hard to eradicate once established.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Arums italicum can cause skin irritation and require to be handled with gloves. They are toxic and should never be eaten. Since they can also be harmful to cats, dogs and horses, care should be taken to ensure that they are not planted in or near a paddock.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Generally, arums do not suffer from any serious diseases or pest problems.