Thursday, April 11, 2013

Arum creticum

Arum creticum FCC form
      One plant which is blooming in my garden now is Arum creticum.  This is an arum I got a number of years ago from Odyssey Bulbs, a mailorder bulb nursery which specializes in hardy rare bulbs.  It was lableled as Arum creticum FCC form.  FCC, which stands for first class certificate, is an award given by the Royal Horticultural Society to a plant (I do not know what criteria they use in making this award--presumably it indicates that the plant is a good garden plant for one reason or another). 
     This arum hails from Crete (hence its name, creticum),  and has a reputation as being somewhat tender.  That has not been my experience with it.  I grow it in a sunny open spot in my garden and it has gotten bigger year by year, until now it produces a nice floral display.  Last year I dug up a few of its bulbs and moved them and now they, too, are about to bloom.  I intend to dig up this entire clump after the foliage dies down and separate out all the bulbs to create a giant swath of Arum creticum.  I intend to interplant that swath with Anenome coronaria 'Mr. Fokker", an anemome which I have been growing for a few years now and which has beautiful blue flowers which are also blooming now. This anenome is available from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.  This anenome will go well with Arum creticum not only because the blue anenome flowers will conpliment the yellow of the arum, but the anenome foliage is soft and feathery and it will make a nice contrast to the large broad leaves of the arum.  In addition, both plants like the same garden conditions. 
     Arums have an unusual growth habit in that their foliage arises in the dead of the winter, usually when nothing else is up, and it dies away in the summer.  This means that one has to think carefully before planting them to take advantage of this habit and to ensure that a large gaping hole is not left in your planting scheme when they die down.  I have concluded that a good spot for this arum-anenome combination I have envisioned is near a large plant such as Melianthus major or a cardoon which doesn't fully expand until later in the summer.  Alternatively, one could overplant the spot they grow in with later summer blooming annuals. 
     I have grown a lot of arums in my garden over the years,  and now the garden is being overrun by arums.  Many of them self sow and create a terrible weed problem because they are very hard to eradicate once they are established.  For that reason I would be very wary about planting any arums in the garden, and the one exception I would make to this rule is for this arum we have been discussing today.  I have never seen seedlings of it  and even if it did self sow around, the flowers are so beautiful I probably would not mind.  Also, I have read that this arum is supposed to have a lemon like scent, but I have not noticed that.
     Janis Ruksans lists in his current catalog another form of Arum creticum, called Stevens' form.  The catalog states that it resembles the FCC form except that the leaf and flower stalks are a deep purple (the stalks, not the leaves, are purple). The catalog goes on to state that it is only available from them, so I am considering making an order from Ruksans.  The catalog is in a PDF form and one cannot order through the internet, so I find it a pain in the you know what to order from Ruksans, but I might just have to do it. If you google Janis Ruksans catalog you will find it. Perhaps there are other like minded gardeners out there who would like to join with me in making a Ruksans order.  If so,  email me.


  1. I would be very interested in placing a Ruskans catalog order. I was planning on doing it myself. I would email you, but I couldn't find it posted anywhere.

    Also, I'm very glad to see you posting again.

    1. Hi Susan- thanks for the comment. You can email me at

    2. Hi Linda
      I would be very interested in placing a Ruskins catalog order
      I have tried growing Arum creticum before , , however it never really does anything , the leaves get small then the plant just disappesrs , I grow other Arums , such as Arum Pictum and Arum Italicum , but Arum Creticum is far harder to get it to grow right , but where theres a will theres a way and i will not be beat , could you recommened other nursery that may sell flowering Sized Plants
      Kind Regards

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