Dividing Arum Lilies

Dividing Arum Lilies

Dividing Arum Lilies

That symbol of purity and innocence, the indigenous Zantedeschia aethiopica (white arum lily) has the good grace to form large colonies in gardens where they grow happily, which means they can be divided every few years to increase our stock of them.

It is an easy job:

  1. Use a spade to dig up a good-sized clump.
  2. Shake off the soil to expose the rhizome and roots, and to identify a clump of stems and leaves growing from it.
  3. Use a secateur or spade to separate the large clump into smaller parts.
  4. Remove old leaves, leaving only one or two small ones or stem parts, and then cut the old stems back.
  5. Trim old roots away, leaving just a few young ones sprouting from a section of rhizome. 
  6. Replant into compost-enriched soil and water well afterwards.

Arum notes: 

• White arums will go dormant in both summer- and winter-rainfall regions when it becomes the dry season, but will remain evergreen if growing in moist or boggy soil and if watered regularly.

• The flowering season is from August to January, sometimes with sporadic flowering in other months. They prefer full sun to light shade. 

• You can also get new plants from little pieces of rhizome, although there should be at least one eye visible on the section of rhizome. Leave the pieces of rhizome (with no leaves or roots) in the shade to dry off and callous over for a day or two before replanting them about 5cm deep into old pots. Water well and keep them in the shade. They will soon start sprouting again for you to plant them in the garden.

The Gardener