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Italian Painted Arum

Arum italicum 'Pictum'

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Italian Painted Arum (Arum italicum 'Pictum') at Homestead Gardens

Italian Painted Arum foliage

Italian Painted Arum foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  12 inches

Flower Height:  18 inches

Spread:  18 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  5b

Other Names:  Cuckoo Pint, Lords-and-Ladies, Painted Arum


White spathe and spadix rise from glossy, wavy, arrowhead foliage in late summer, followed by beautiful orange-red berries; showy cream colored veins look like stained glass against dark green; the leaves are great for flower arrangements; great in shade

Ornamental Features

Italian Painted Arum features bold fragrant bracted white hooded flowers with white sheaths rising above the foliage from mid spring to early summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large glossy pointy leaves remain dark green in color with distinctive creamy white veins throughout the season. It features an abundance of magnificent orange berries from late summer to late fall.

Landscape Attributes

Italian Painted Arum is a dense herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Italian Painted Arum is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Italian Painted Arum will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 18 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 18 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Italian Painted Arum is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers and foliage against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Edging  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Texture 
Ornamental Features