I have met my foe… she’s Italian, quite pretty (of course), impervious to cold weather and thrives in the rain.
I met her briefly in Spring (when we moved here) and she was all showy-showy-look-at-me-and-my-trumpets. I took her down a peg or two and she disappeared. I thought I’d won..until now.
She’s back and back with vengeance.
Italian Arum, Arum italicum, spreads by corm, seed and root, may as well have spores as well! (It doesn’t) So even if you think you’ve got all the corms (which you won’t have because a lot are brown and small and they can go about 0.5m deep in the ground) there’s proberly seed throughout anyway.
This stuff is evil man and all parts are poisonous to prove it. Her leaves start unfurling from the ground in autumn and then hits her stride the colder it gets. Flowers in early spring, bearing orange berries by late spring. And then it disappears for summer only to rear its green and white head again come autumn.
I’ll give it the benefit of being interesting for the fact that it’s one of few plants that thrives during the cold winter months with beautiful variegated lushness (which is why it’s celebrated in some gardens) and has the decency to go away in summer (though this is not helpful in a perennial herb bed!). Also has an interesting little quirk of generating its own heat through the spadix which supports the flower, enough that your hand can feel it!
But don’t be fooled. I have researched high, low and far and it appears this plant is nigh impossible to get rid of. I even went to the dark side to see what chemicals would do the job. Not even! One person involved in their own battle has come to the conclusion that spraying even makes them worse. People have tried boiling water, vinegar and covering, deep mulching, you name it – I believe it’s been done…and the Italian siren keeps on rising to the challenge. Check out this link to a forum discussion about its wild and wicked ways. you have to read through them all to discover that most advice given doesn’t work!
So. The big so. What am I going to do….
I’ve already tried digging them out, that worked for a couple of weeks and I swear it made them worse.
I’m now in the process of taking out my plants, cleaning their roots and putting them in a newly made bed.
I have some new cuttings that I’m currently growing to size ~ Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris and Wormwood, Artemisia absinthium (I’m quite stupidly excited about these plants!) which I will plant (in the “Arum garden”) along with my Southernwood Artemisia abrotanum (picking a theme here?) and Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus, not an Artemisia but it is grey/silver). My plan is that these plants will grow so big that they will smother any signs of the Italian arum.
In the meantime I’m going to cut all green growth off rather than fruitlessly dig out and definately not allow any- no matter where on the property- to flower.
Wish me luck! If you have had any experience with this plant, good or bad please comment below~