Zantedeschia, the florists’ arum

Zantedeschia is a plant that is simply beautiful. It bejewels itself with its most beautiful flowers in summer.

Zantedeschia facts sheet

NameZantedeschia aethiopica
FamilyAraceae
Type – rhizome perennial

Height – 20 to 32 inches (50 to 80 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – rich, well drained

Flowering – June to October outdoors

Also used as an indoor plant, it is quite easy to care for and blooms year after year outdoors and indoors. Follow our advice to produce magnificent zantedeschia:

Planting Zantedeschia

Zantedeschia bulbs are planted at the beginning of spring, around 1 ½ to 2 inches deep, from March to May.

  • Space bulbs around 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) apart, because zantedeschia has wide-reaching leaves and needs space.
  • Choose a location that is in full sun but stays cool.
  • Don’t plant in very dry soil, because zantedeschia requires cool, moist soil.

Watering your Zantedeschia

Watering outdoor zantedeschia

You can grow your Zantedeschia outdoors provided you observe a period of dormancy of at least 2 months within the year without watering a single drop.

  • After the blooming, reduce the watering until the leaves turn yellow.
  • When the leaves have withered, stop watering altogether.
  • Slowly start watering again at least 2 months later.

Water sparingly at the beginning and then more regularly once flowers have appeared, until the end of the blooming season.

Arum grows very well adjoining a body of water, which indicates how much it needs water.

Take note, though, that the term used for this plant is semi-aquatic, because it does need a water-free period of at least 2 months, generally during summer.

Watering indoor Zantedeschia

You can grow your Zantedeschia indoors, in pots, but again you must respect a period of dormancy of at least 2 months within the year without watering a single drop.

  • After the blooming, reduce the watering until the leaves turn yellow.
  • When the leaves have withered, stop watering altogether.
  • Slowly start watering again at least 2 months later.

Pruning and caring for zantedeschia

  • Cut short just when the first frost spells hit.
  • Do not cut before leaves have turned completely yellow, since this is the span of time when they are building up their nutrient reserves for the next blooming cycle.

For spectacular blooming, add special bulb plant fertilizer.

Protecting Zantedeschia in winter

Zantedeschia is quite hardy even in cool winters.

In areas that are prone to cold winters, protect the rhizomes with a thick layer of mulch.
The mulch can either be a bed of dried leaves, hemp or flax straw, or ferns.

Smart tip: transfer Zantedeschia indoors!

Before winter, dig a portion of the rhizome out and plant it in a pot in your house, and you’ll have Zantedeschia arums in winter!

A video on caring for Zantedeschia

Potted zantedeschia, how to care for it

Once the leaves are completely yellow, you can cut them to the shortest.

  • Remove the bulb from its pot, cleaning the dirt off delicately.
  • Set it for the winter in a cool spot where it doesn’t freeze.
  • This storage spot must also be very dry and dark, for example a small shoebox with a ventilation hole pierced in it.
  • In March, you can bring your bulb out and plant it again in new soil mix.
  • Start watering again when the soil is dry and your arum will bear flowers again.

You can also stow the bulb or rhizome away without removing it from its pot, but the soil mix needs replacing every two years anyway.

Propagating your Zantedeschia flower

When provided with rich soil that is full of humus and sufficient sun and water, Zantedeschia tubers (roundish rhizomes) will multiply underground:

  • In the dormant phase, when the leaves have died back (a couple months after blooming), unearth these tubers.
  • Spread them apart to cover more ground, about one to a foot (every 25 cm).
  • Don’t bury them too deep: ensure the top of the tuber is just under the soil surface.
  • Protect the rhizomes or tubers from the cold with a thick layer of plant mulch.

They’ll grow back in the following season and keep multiplying year after year.

Learn more about Zantedeschia

This bulb perennial is native to South Africa, not from Ethiopia as its scientific name seems to imply.

It grows naturally in damp marshy areas that are drenched during the rainy season and dirt dry during winter.

Particularly exotic, it is perfectly suited to wet areas like water bodies and ponds, and it’s also the perfect plant for your flower beds, edges or standalone spots.

Smart tip about Zantedeschia

These flowers are pure marvels. Before the blooming is over, cut a few stems off and place them in a beautiful vase!


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Zantedeschia by RainerBerns under Pixabay license

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