Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Moment: Arisaema Speciosum

By Patientgardener @patientgardener

Plant of the moment: Arisaema speciosum

To say I am pleased with my Arisaema speciousum would be an understatement.  I am really really thrilled with them; oh yes there isn’t just one there are 5 of them.  I grew them from seed 3 years ago not really expecting much to happen. In fact I had some other Arisaema seeds which never germinated.

I was initially excited with the seedlings which were most strange looking producing miniature versions of the parent leaves.  I potted them on carefully and nurtured them in the greenhouse.  Come the Autumn the small arrow-head leaves died off  and I tucked the pots away in the warm until the spring.  I wasn’t convinced they would have survived but tipping out the pots I found small corms looking all plump and ready to go.  So again I potted them up into terracotta pots and watered and again the arrow-head leaves appeared although larger this time.  They spent the year in the greenhouse being fed and watered but the leaves seemed a little dry so in the height of the summer I moved them to the cold frame.  I had read that they were tender so in my head they had to be protected.

Again they died back and spent another winter in the greenhouse.  This spring as they were now in larger terracotta pots and taking up valuable seed raising space I put them into the cold frame.  To be honest I was getting a bit fed up with the Arisaema since I had grown them for the amazing flowers and they were quite space consuming in my tiny greenhouse and I really didn’t think they were earning their keep.   Then space in the cold frame was at a premium so I decided enough was enough and the Arisaema would have to go it alone in the big bad world of the garden.

Plant of the moment: Arisaema speciosum

I consulted the RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and saw that they preferred dappled shade and rich soil that didn’t dry out – hardly the environment I had given them in the greenhouse!  So they were planted out in an area I have under the large Prunus tree where the soil is rich and cool.  I decided that if the Arisaema survived the year I would cover them in the autumn with a very thick mulch of compost to try to see them through the winter but I would no longer cosset them.  I have to say this is more my approach these days  – I garden by the school of tough love!

Well that was probably late March and the plants have really thrived.  The stems are about 2ft long now and the leaves are vast, as you can see from the photos below if you compare the leaves to the Aquilega flowers.  They look quite exotic and caused much interest when I had some blogging friends round in May.  However, still no flowers.

Plant of the moment: Arisaema speciosum

So I am thrilled to say that this week my patience has been rewarded and two of the plants have produced flowers.  I couldn’t work out where the flowers would appear from but they grow up from the base and you really have to get down on your hands and knees to spot them.  I don’t know if the flowers are as large as normal, they do seem a little small in proportion to the rest of the plant but hopefully if they survive the winter next year they will be even more robust and have bigger flowers.

I am so pleased with them that I now have a packet of mixed Arisaema seeds to see if I can grow some more – plus I might need some replacements if the ones I have don’t get through the winter.  What is your Plant of the Moment or plant you are really proud to have grown?


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