Arum creticum

IMG_7437This beautiful Arum is flowering for the first time for me. I have had it for five years and I had given up hope that it would ever bloom. Perhaps it is as a result of a mild winter we have had. Or maybe it appreciated the bit of bonemeal I gave it in the Autumn. It likes a sunny sheltered spot.

I saw it in bloom in Crete in May some years ago and fell for its large primrose yellow spathes.  The other Arum which seems common in Crete is the sinister looking Arum dracunculus with its deep purple evil smelling flowers.  (Actually arums don’t have flowers they have ‘inflorescences’.) The spadix which smells of rotting meat attracts flies which pollinate it.

 Arum creticum smells sweet so presumably it attracts different insects to pollinate it. It has a lemony scent. It has a lovely yellow spathe which curls back on itself and a darker yellow, long spadix. I remember years ago seeing it grown at Great Dixter with the lovely orange, lily-flowered Tulipa ‘Queen of Sheba’. I love this tulip and it goes on blooming year after year.


I’m not so keen on Christopher Lloyd’s orange and yellow colour scheme though. I think I would prefer Arum creticum with a nice skirt of sky blue forgetmenots, Muscari or the darker blue Omphalodes. I would have planned this  if I had known it would flower this year. It has some yellow fringed tulips nearby but I think it will probably be over by the time they are in bloom.

The arrow shaped leaves appear in autumn and carry on growing through the winter. The whole plant disappears in summer.  I put a small stick in the ground to remember where it is so that I don’t spear it with my fork. The wild Arum is a weed in my garden which seeds everywhere but I don’t think Arum creticum seeds around so obligingly. I believe some  people grow it in a pot in the greenhouse.  I might risk dividing this summer and trying that.

However you grow it, I thoroughly recommend this beautiful plant to give the border a bit of excitement in April.


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31 Responses to Arum creticum

  1. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    what a star for the Spring garden – great post

  2. Pauline says:

    What a super plant, I will certainly look out for it!

  3. rusty duck says:

    That’s a real ‘Wow’ plant, well done!

  4. That certainly would create a “Wow” factor in the garden! I wasn’t aware there were pleasantly scented Arums. I must confess to tarring them all with the same putrid-smelling brush! My mistake! I agree with you about the blue setting, a nice contrast, but I do like it with the pinks there already.

  5. croftgarden says:

    What a stunning plant! If you like the aroids you might like arisemas. Not too smelly , but spectacular spathes.

  6. Alison says:

    What a beautiful flower! I’ve never heard of it. I have Arum italicum, which behaves itself quite well.

  7. Cathy says:

    Very striking!

  8. Flighty says:

    Arums are fascinating plants but I’m not keen on them, unlike tulips. xx

  9. Cathy says:

    It certainly draws attention to itself! Quite exquisite!

  10. Annette says:

    Looks great and I agree, it’s best with a blue companion. You’re lucky the slugs didn’t get it as it happened to Anna Pavord’s very rare and special Arum. 😉

  11. Anna says:

    Oh well worth the wait Chloris but hope that it’s not another five years before it flowers again. Maybe it liked all that rain too.

    • Chloris says:

      That’s a point, I didn’t think of that. I will keep it well watered next year. It could be that the plant needs to build up to a decent size before it flowers.

  12. Alain says:

    Beautiful Arum. I would also prefer it with blue rather than orange but I find it depends in part on the season. Somehow in spring yellow and blue are perfect combination. However, if it bloomed in July in full sun, yellow and orange might then work. Don’t you think?

    • Chloris says:

      I love blue and yellow combinations in flowers, but you are right the light is quite different in late summer and calls for different colours. I love pastels in early summer but they can look washed out in July and August, when I prefer stronger colours.

  13. bittster says:

    That arum is a cool plant. Totally out of the style of my garden, but I would consider changing the style just to fit it in….. if it was even remotely hardy here! 😉

  14. CathyT says:

    Super plant – well worth the wait. Yellow and blue are gorgeous together.

  15. That is a really gorgeous alum,I’ve never seen one like it. I love the tulip also, but I also like the yellow/orange color scheme.

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