How to Care for Italian Lily Plants


Italian lilies, also called arum lilies, are perennial flowering plants that grow up through the soil from underground rhizomes. They have distinctive deeply veined green leaves in the shape of a pointed heart. The leaves unfurl in the late summer or autumn on long, thin arching stems. They produce green to white hued flowers each spring with berries forming after bloom. They are grown outdoors in temperate to warm climates and as indoor plants in cooler climes.

Step 1

Provide an outdoor planting location where your Italian lily will receive partial to full shade everyday as full sun exposures cannot be tolerated. Locate indoor grown plants in a spot where they will receive bright to medium intensity indirect light and never direct sunlight which can cause overheating, soil dry out and leaf burn.

Step 2

Prepare a nutrient rich and easy draining soil that is high in organic matter. Amend weak soil with well-aged manure and compost in lieu of chemical fertilizers which are not recommended. For indoor planting use bagged sterile potting mix that includes perlite and some finely shredded bark.

Step 3

Water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil throughout the year. Provide deep watering once every five days to once every 10 days on average depending on the season and local climate. Water indoor plants when the top of the soil is dry to the touch and allow all excess water to drain away with each watering so the roots never sit in water.

Step 4

Mulch around the base of your outdoor Italian lily each year with at least one inch of organic matter such as compost, leaf mold or shredded bark to feed the soil, hold moisture in the soil and keep weeds at bay.

Step 5

Cut back spent flower and berry stems as they fade. Remove any brown or dying leaves as you see them, cutting down at the bottom of the stem at the soil line.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the plant top and roots are poisonous, containing calcium oxalate crystals that will cause severe burning and swelling of the mucous membranes and skin on contact.

Things You'll Need

  • Aged manure
  • Compost
  • Sterile potting mix
  • Mulch
  • Secateurs


  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • University of Tennessee
  • North Carolina State University
Keywords: Italian lily, arum lily, care of Italian lily

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.