Unveiling the Allure of Arums: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cultivating Elegance in Your Garden


Captivating gardeners with their unique architectural form and vibrant colors, Arums (Zantedeschia spp.) are a captivating addition to any shade garden. Often nicknamed “Calla Lilies,” these tuberous perennials boast an impressive variety, offering a spectrum of flower hues and foliage textures to suit diverse preferences. But their undeniable beauty is accompanied by specific needs. Fear not, fellow gardening enthusiasts! This comprehensive guide unravels the secrets to cultivating flourishing Arums, empowering you to witness their magic unfold in your own backyard.

Selecting the Perfect Arum for Your Garden Symphony

Selecting the Perfect Arum for Your Garden Symphony

Embarking on your Arum adventure begins with selecting the ideal variety. With over 80 species boasting an array of colors and sizes, there’s an Arum to complement every garden vision. Here’s a handy table to kickstart your exploration:

VarietyFlower ColorMature Height
Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)White18-24 inches
Pink Calla Lily (Zantedeschia Sprengeri)Pink12-18 inches
Black Calla Lily (Zantedeschia albomaculata)Deep purple (appears black)18-24 inches

Beyond aesthetics, consider your garden’s microclimate. While most Arums thrive in dappled shade or morning sun, some varieties, like Zantedeschia elliottiana, prefer full sun in cooler climates.

Pro Tip: Consult your local gardening center or reputable online retailers for varieties suited to your specific region’s growing conditions.

Understanding Light Requirements

Arums are predominantly shade-loving plants. Excessive direct sunlight can scorch their delicate blooms and foliage. Ideally, provide them with dappled sunlight in the morning or filtered light throughout the day.

Signs of insufficient light: Leggy growth, pale foliage, and delayed or stunted flowering.

Signs of excessive light: Sunburned leaves, wilting flowers, and shorter blooming periods.

Planting Your Arum for Flourishing Beauty

With your chosen Arum in hand, it’s time to translate anticipation into action! Here’s a step-by-step guide to planting your Arum for success:

  1. Timing is Key: Plant your Arums in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. In warmer climates, fall planting is also possible.
  2. Potting Power: Opt for well-draining pots with drainage holes for container gardening. Choose a pot size that allows for 2-3 inches of clearance around the tuber.
  3. Soil Sensational: Arums appreciate a rich, well-draining potting mix. Amending your existing soil with organic matter like compost or composted manure can enhance drainage and fertility.

Planting Steps:

  • Fill your pot with the prepared potting mix, leaving enough space at the top.
  • Gently place the Arum tuber in the pot, ensuring the “eye” (the growth point) faces upwards.
  • Cover the tuber with 2-3 inches of potting mix, gently firming it around the base.
  • Water thoroughly until the water drains from the pot’s drainage holes.
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Container Care:

  • Position your potted Arum in a location receiving dappled sunlight or filtered light.
  • Water regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry slightly between waterings. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to tuber rot.
  • Fertilize your potted Arum during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Nurturing Your Arum for Thriving Elegance


Witnessing your Arums flourish requires consistent care throughout the growing season. Here’s a breakdown of their essential needs:

Watering Wisely


Arums crave consistent moisture, but well-draining soil is paramount. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the top inch to dry slightly between waterings. Soggy conditions can lead to tuber rot.

  • During the active growing season (spring and summer), water your Arums more frequently, especially during hot and dry periods.
  • Reduce watering frequency as temperatures cool down in fall.
  • Observe your plants – wilting leaves indicate thirst, while mushy tubers signify overwatering. Adjust your watering routine accordingly.

Feeding Frenzy


While Arums are not heavy feeders, providing them with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season can bolster their health and encourage vibrant blooms. Here’s a roadmap for nourishing your Arums:

  • Fertilizer Choice: Opt for a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for flowering plants.
  • Fertilization Frequency: Apply the diluted fertilizer (half the recommended strength) every 2-4 weeks during the active growing season (spring and summer).
  • Cease Fire: Discontinue fertilization in fall as your Arums enter their dormancy period.

The Magic of Mulch

The Magic of Mulch

A layer of organic mulch offers a multitude of benefits for your Arums. Here’s how:

  • Moisture Retention: Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the frequency of watering.
  • Temperature Regulation: Mulch insulates the soil, moderating soil temperature fluctuations and protecting tubers from extreme heat or cold.
  • Weed Suppression: Mulch acts as a barrier, suppressing weed growth and minimizing competition for nutrients and water.

Mulching Tips:

  • Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, wood chips, or compost, around the base of your Arums.
  • Leave a few inches of breathing space between the mulch and the plant’s stem to prevent stem rot.
  • Replenish the mulch layer as it decomposes throughout the season.
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Witnessing the Reward: Blooming Beauty

Witnessing the Reward: Blooming Beauty

With proper care, your Arums will reward you with a captivating floral display in late spring or early summer. The blooms, often mistaken for true lilies, boast a unique structure: a large, trumpet-shaped spathe (modified leaf) encasing a central stalk (spadix) adorned with tiny, inconspicuous flowers. Arum flowers come in a captivating array of colors, from classic white and elegant pink to dramatic black (which appears deep purple) – a true feast for the eyes!

The exact blooming period can vary depending on the variety and your growing conditions. Generally, Arums enjoy a long bloom time, lasting for several weeks. To extend the flowering display, deadhead spent blooms by gently removing them from the base of the stalk. This encourages the plant to focus its energy on producing new blooms.

Maintaining Arum Magic: Post-Bloom Care

Maintaining Arum Magic: Post-Bloom Care

As summer progresses and the blooms fade, your Arums’ focus shifts towards conserving energy for the next season’s display. Here’s how to provide proper post-bloom care:

  • Reduce Watering: Gradually decrease watering frequency as the foliage starts to die back naturally. Aim to keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy.
  • Fertilization Farewell: Cease fertilization once the blooming period is over.
  • Deadheading: Continue deadheading spent blooms to prevent seed production and encourage the plant to direct its energy towards tuber development.

Winter Considerations (For Climates with Freezing Temperatures)

In colder climates with freezing temperatures, Arum tubers need protection from winter’s harsh bite. Here are two approaches:

  • Lifting and Storing: After the first frost, carefully lift the tubers from the ground. Allow them to dry thoroughly in a cool, well-ventilated location for a few weeks. Once cured, store the tubers in a cool, dark, and frost-free location, such as a garage or shed, packed in slightly damp peat moss or sawdust.
  • Winter Mulch: Alternatively, in areas with mild winters, you can leave the tubers in the ground. Apply a thick layer of mulch (around 4-6 inches) to insulate the tubers from freezing temperatures.

Propagation Power: Multiplying Your Arum Magic

Propagation Power: Multiplying Your Arum Magic

The joy of Arums doesn’t have to be confined to a single plant. With a bit of know-how, you can propagate your Arums and expand your floral bounty. Here are two effective methods:

  • Division: During the dormant period (fall or early spring in warmer climates), carefully dig up the mature Arum clump. Divide the clump into sections, each containing at least one healthy “eye” (growth point) on the tuber. Replant the divisions in suitable locations following the planting guidelines outlined earlier.
  • Seed Propagation (Less Common): While less common, Arums can be propagated from seeds. However, this method requires patience, as it can take several years for seedlings to reach flowering maturity.
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Troubleshooting: Addressing Common Arum Ailments

Troubleshooting: Addressing Common Arum Ailments

Even with the best intentions, your Arums might encounter occasional challenges. Here’s a breakdown of common issues and solutions:

  • Yellowing Leaves: This could be a sign of several factors, including underwatering, overwatering, nutrient deficiency, or excessive sunlight exposure. Adjust your watering routine, fertilize appropriately, and provide dappled shade to rectify the situation.
  • Brown Spots or Edges on Leaves: Fungal diseases can cause brown spots or edges on Arum leaves. Improve air circulation around your plants and avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal issues. Treat severe cases with a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Pest Problems: Aphids and slugs are occasional pests that can target Arums. For minor infestations, a blast of water or insecticidal soap spray can be effective. For severe infestations, consider using organic pest control methods or consult your local gardening center for recommendations.

By keeping a watchful eye on your Arums and addressing any issues promptly, you can ensure they continue to thrive and grace your garden with their captivating elegance for seasons to come.

Conclusion: Unveiling the Allure of Arums


With their captivating blooms and architectural form, Arums weave a touch of exotic elegance into any shade garden. By understanding their specific needs and providing them with appropriate care, you can cultivate these captivating plants and witness their magic unfold in your own backyard. From selecting the perfect variety to addressing occasional challenges, this comprehensive guide empowers you to embark on a successful Arum adventure. So, embrace the opportunity to add a touch of drama and sophistication to your garden with these enthralling floral gems!

About The Author


I'm Samantha, a plant enthusiast who has been growing plants for years. I believe that plants can make our lives better, both physically and mentally. I started to share my knowledge about how to grow plants. I want to help others enjoy the beauty and benefits of plants.

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