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Thread: Arisaema – Cobra Lily, Jack in the Pulpit

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Arisaema – Cobra Lily, Jack in the Pulpit

    Here’s a great group of plants for shady gardens. Probably most people in the US are familiar with the Jack in the Pulpit (A. triphyllum), but there are also a whole mess of species from Asia that are becoming more widely grown and available.

    In addition to A. triphyllum, I also have A. costatum and just added A. specisoum last year. The later two aren’t hardy in MN, so I just bring them inside for winter and store cold and dormant. You folks in zones 6 and south can grow many of these outside year round.

    If you’re the kinky type of person , then you will love these. Arisaema are some of the more unique plants on the planet. Some are male, some are female, some are both, and some change back and forth (paradioecious). Most are male when young, then as they grow older and are strong enough to have kids, they switch to female. Often after fruiting, they will revert back to being male (smart move). Cool, no?

    I’ve had A. costatum for many years, but just learned I was abusing it. They like very rich soil and if you grow it in a pot, you should change the soil every year. I didn’t do that for a long time and couldn’t figure out why it was staying kind of small. Last year, I finally dug it up, gave it new soil and it doubled in size in one season.

    Arisaema speciosum arrived last spring (2004) as a partially damaged tuber with no large, growing point or eye. It just had a few smaller dormant eyes. I planted it in a pot and waited. It didn’t sprout all last summer. I was about to toss it, but decided to carefully dig around the tuber to see if it was rotted or not. It wasn’t so I left it in the pot, brought it in for winter and around February it sprouted – almost a year later. It’s fully leafed out now and quite large.

    Shop around for these. Some places still charge an arm and a leg, other places are much more reasonable. I think I only paid about $7 each for both of mine. You can even try these from seed if you can find them. Usually they take 2-4 years to bloom this way, but it can be a lot cheaper way to grow them.

    Here are some good links:

    Arisaema costatum

    Arisaema speciosum

    Other links

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004


    Wow - that's totally cool, Kev! Thanks for the info. I've always loved Jacks, but never knew the family was so varied. I have an artist friend who's a Jack fiend (gave her some I dug up from my woods) and I have one of her paintings here over my desk - I'll photo it and include it in this thread when I get a spare sec.


  3. #3
    Real Name
    Louis J. Aszod
    My Grow Area
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Clarksville, Arkansas
    Member's Country Flag


    Absolutely cool. Kev, you're exposing me to all kinds of different, very neat plants I never knew existed!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    WA State


    Now these are really neato! You're a veritable botany class, Kev! Thanks!


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