common at all, prolific, or not at all. Any help would be wonderful.|
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Hi Danny and Everyone!
I grow a lot of Arum hygrophilum here in the Central Valley of
California. It is not a very common plant, and can be quite difficult to get
hold of initially, but once you have it, it's vigorous and easy to grow. It
also grows quite large (for an Arum) and makes many offset babies. The
leaves emerge in the late fall (around October here) and the first blooms
appear in January. A healthy plant will have leaf tips reaching nearly 3
feet high, which is rather high for this genus, and will make several
blooms. Of all the Arums I grow, this one makes the most blooms, and for the
longest period of time. A plant that starts blooming in January will still
be making blooms months later, and each bloom lasts a long time.
Unfortunately, Arum hygrophilum does have a few drawbacks. One, it is
particularly frost-sensitive. Unlike Arum italicum or A. dioscoridis, which
can both take a heavy frost and shrug it off, hygrophilum tends to lose
leaves and blooms in frosts. Second, it likes a lot of water (hence the
name) and is not as drought-hardy as other Arums. Lastly (and this may be
heresy to true Arum-ophiles) the bloom is just not that interesting. Unlike
other species with showy spathes and rich odors, the bloom of hygrophilum is
a simple green tube with the lightest purple tracing on the margin of the
spathe. There is no odor at all, and overall the effect is of many, small,
colorless, tubular blooms lurking hidden under all the foliage. Rather dull
in the grand scheme of things.
I would suggest growing A. dioscoridis, A. palaestinum, A, pictum, A.
creticum or any number of other species before hygrophilum. They are much
more intriguing to look at. But if anyone wants some hygrophilum, I will
have many spare offsets this summer when they go dormant. E-mail me in June
and I can send you some.