Re: sikokianum seedlings - Zone 5

Kathryn and Emmanuel

First, I hope you won't be too disappointed if your A. sik. is a male (which
it probably is, since it's a young plant) and doesn't set seed. It takes both
a male and female plant to make babies. Most arisaema species are dioecious
(unisex), although a few are not. They change from male to female as they get
older and larger. (not necessarily wiser!)

If seeds are made, the fruit is similar to that of our native "Jack", except
that it is very late turning red, despite the fact that the plant blooms very
early. However, the green seedhead can be harvested when the plant is taken
down by frost, and the berries will eventually ripen and the seed is usually
OK. I'm talking Delaware here, but I would hope that you'd have similar
results in Maine.

If it turns out that your frost is too early, the only thing that I can
suggest would be to grow the plants in pots, or to pot up a pregnant female
and bring her inside before frost. If brought inside, they will need cold
during dormancy, but not necessarily freezing. Taking the tubers out of the
pot and refrigerating in slightly moist peat is easy to do. The roots do not
persist from one year to the next, so don't worry about them.

As for soil conditions, arisaemas in general, and A. sikokianum in
particular, are prone to rot if excessive wet in winter. Well draining soil
(not heavy clay), with planting in a raised bed or on a slope seems to help.

Hope this helps.

Jim McClements, Dover, DE

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