Italian Arum Control: Learn How To Deal With Arum Weeds

It's classified as a toxic weed, so you'll need to control Italian Arum before it takes control of your garden.

Weeds Growing Within Italian Arum Plant
arum italicum
(Image credit: pr2is)

Sometimes, the plants we choose are not suited for their site. It might be too dry, too sunny, or the plant itself just might be a stinker. Such is the case with Italian arum weeds.

While attractive and useful in its native range, when brought to certain regions, it will take over and become obnoxiously invasive. Below are some tips on how to kill arum and take back your garden beds.

What are Arum Weeds?

Arum is a broad family of mostly foliage plants. Italian arum is also known as Lords and Ladies or Orange Candle flower. It is an attractive foliage plant from Europe that quickly colonizes introduced ranges. It spreads by both bulb and seed and reproduces rapidly. In many areas, it is classified as a toxic weed. Managing arum plants is challenging but possible.

Most arums are pleasant and well-mannered plants, but Italian arum are pests. The plant looks a bit like a calla lily when not in bloom and has arrow-shaped, glossy green leaves. It can grow up to one and a half feet (46 cm) tall.

In spring, tiny white flowers embraced by a bract appear, followed by clusters of orange red berries. The leaves will die back in cooler climates but may remain in warm areas. All parts of the plant are poisonous and even contact with the sap can cause skin irritation.

Managing Arum Plants

Italian arum control can occur with manual techniques, but all parts of the plant must be removed since even a small bulblet can sprout and grow a new plant.

Control by digging is most effective for small invasions. All parts of the plant must be removed from the soil or an even worse infestation could occur.

Sifting the soil can help you find all the little pieces that need removed. Don't put the weeds or other parts in your compost, but bag them up and dispose of them.

If you want some of the plants to remain, cut the berries off in August before they seed.

How to Kill Arum Weeds

While it may not reach the weeds' underground structure, several applications of industrial-strength vinegar will kill the foliage. Wear heavy gloves for this process.

Boiling water can also be effective for killing the plants' roots.

Controlling Italian arum is an ongoing process requiring manual labor and vigilance.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.

With contributions from