Eazy Gardening

Adaptable Beauty: Growing and Caring for Water Arums Indoors and Outdoors

Water Arums, also known as the Calla palustris, are aquatic plants found in freshwater wetlands. These plants are native to North America, Northern Asia, and Europe and are grown for their beautiful, delicate flowers.

The Water Arum is an essential aspect of wetland ecosystems and provides a habitat for many waterfowl and other aquatic species.

Overview of the Plant

Some of the common names for the Water Arum include Marsh Calla, Wild Calla, and Water Dragon. The Calla palustris is a perennial plant, characterized by its distinctive, trumpet-shaped spathe which encases its flowers.

The plant typically grows to a height of around 8-10 inches and has long stems covered in green, arrowhead-shaped leaves with white or cream-colored flowers. The Water Arum’s flower blooms during the summer, and it can be a beautiful sight to behold.

The flowers are often fragrant and attract a wide range of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Once pollinated, the plant produces bright red berries that play a significant role in feeding many different types of birds and small mammals during the fall months.

Characteristics and Benefits

Water Arums are essential in aquatic and wetland ecosystems, serving as an indicator of the wetland’s overall health. The plants are known to release oxygen into the water, improving the water’s quality and supporting a diverse range of aquatic life.

Additionally, their strong roots help to control erosion by anchoring the soil on the banks of the body of water. Water Arums have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

They were used in traditional medicine to relieve toothaches, headaches, muscle aches and as a diuretic. However, note that pregnant women and people with heart, kidney, and liver diseases should not use them without expert advice.

Plant Cultivation and Care

Water Arums are relatively easy to grow, making them a great choice for beginners. They prefer moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The plants should be placed where they will receive partial shade to full sun, and a water depth of at least 12 inches.

Submerging the plants too deep can cause them to rot or die. The best way to propagate a Water Arum plant is through its rhizome.

These are underground stems that produce roots and shoots from their nodes. The rhizomes can be divided and planted in the spring or fall, ideally with at least two to three buds per division.

Potential Pests and Diseases

The most common issues with Water Arums are fungal diseases that can cause the plant to wilt or decay. To prevent these diseases, make sure to plant your Arums in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering your plants.

Diseases such as powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, and crown rot are treatable via fungicides. There are very few pests that attack the Water Arums.

However, snails and slugs may attack the plants and other aquatic wildlife may also be attracted to the plants.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

Water Arums require minimal maintenance. They prefer a well-drained soil devoid of organic matter; however, fertilization can be beneficial to the plants.

Water Arums appreciate slow-release fertilizers providing some nitrogen and phosphate with low to zero amounts of potassium, applied monthly during growing season. Avoid overfertilizing as it might encourage algae and other plants that compete with them.

Deadheading spent blooms and old leaves can help promote fresh, new growth towards the end of the growing season. During the winter, it is essential to leave the plants’ foliage to decompose naturally, as this will provide nourishment to the plant’s rhizome.

Always follow proper plant care tips to keep your Water Arums healthy and happy.


Growing Water Arums is an enjoyable way to add a beautiful, versatile plant to your wetland ecosystems. They offer an array of benefits as well as requiring minimal maintenance.

If you’re looking for an aquatic plant that adds beauty to your environment, consider adding the Calla palustris to your ecosystem.

Plant Propagation Methods

Water Arums can be propagated through sexual and asexual reproduction methods. Sexual reproduction involves cross-pollination of the flowers to produce genetically diverse seedlings.

Meanwhile, asexual propagation does not involve sexual reproduction, and it can be divided into three methods: division, cuttings, and tissue culture. Division is the most common asexual propagation method for Water Arums.

This involves dividing the rhizomes, which are underground stems, into sections that have at least two to three eyes, or sprouts. The ideal times to divide the rhizomes is in early spring or fall when the plants growing season begins.

Divide the rhizomes using sterilized tools, then plant the sections in moist soil, making sure that the eye or sprout is above the surface of the soil. Water the plants lightly and keep them out of direct sunlight until new growth emerges.

Cuttings are another asexual propagation method that works by cutting a portion of the plant and rooting it. To propagate Water Arums with cuttings, take stem cuttings from the plant in late summer when the plant is actively growing.

Choose a healthy stem then make a clean cut just above a node. Place the cuttings in a glass of water and change the water every few days.

Once roots have grown, transplant the cutting into well-drained soil. Tissue culture is a technique that is often used to propagate Water Arums and other aquatic plants.

It involves taking a small section of tissue from the plant and growing it in a laboratory using a special nutrient medium. This method is usually done in a commercial setting, and it produces large numbers of identical plants quickly and efficiently.

Plant Adaptations to Different Environments

Water Arums are highly adaptable plants that can thrive in different environments. They have evolved to adapt to the wetlands’ conditions, where they are typically found, which can be characterized as having high water content, low nutrient availability, and fluctuating water levels.

One of the plant’s main adaptations is producing a long and thick stem that can grow up from the muddy bottom of water, allowing it to reach the surface of the water. This helps the plant photosynthesize and provides a means to access the air required for respiration.

Water Arum roots also serve as anchoring systems that keep the plant stable. The plant’s foliage is another important adaptation.

The broad, flat leaves of Water Arums float on the water’s surface, and their waxy coating repels water due to their hydrophilic properties, which stops water from adhering to the leaf surface. This is useful as water droplets can hamper the uptake of sunlight, so producing a surface where water beads up and rolls off unique for hydrophilic aquatic plants such as Water Arums.

The plant is highly tolerant of low-light conditions, which is beneficial for aquatic plants because light levels decrease quickly underwater. The leaves of the plant contain chlorophyll, which can absorb the low-light wavelengths ad use it to generate metabolic energy using photosynthesis.

Another adaptation of Water Arums is their ability to tolerate changes in water levels. When water levels fluctuate, the Water Arum can survive by growing longer stems that extend out over the water surface, which prevents the plant from drowning and suffocating.

The plant is also adapted for nutrient availability. Wetland environments are often nutrient-poor, and Water Arums have adapted to obtain the nutrients they require to survive.

For instance, the plants are known to absorb nutrients from water and sediment, even in low-nutrient environments.


Propagation methods and plant adaptations are critical components of Water Arum cultivation. Both sexual and asexual propagation methods can be used to propagate Water Arum and produce new plants, with asexual propagation being suitable for mass production.

Moreover, the plant is highly adaptable and has evolved to overcome the challenging conditions of wetland environments. Through their ability to tolerate low light conditions, changes in water levels and accessing nutrients through sediment and water, Water Arums have become an essential member of the wetland ecosystem.

The Water Arum is a beautiful, versatile plant that can be used to enhance both indoor and outdoor environments. This plant is perfect for people who want to add a touch of greenery to their living spaces.

Heres how to use Water Arums in indoor and outdoor settings.

Usage of the Plant in Indoor Setting

Water Arums are excellent plants for indoor settings, and they can be placed near windows or under artificial lighting. They love environments with high humidity and require a bright but indirect light source.

Low to medium light is acceptable as well.

To grow Water Arums indoors, choose a pot with drain holes and fill it with a well-draining potting mix.

Place the plant in the pot while covering the rhizome with soil (leaving at least one eyes above soil level). Water them regularly and make sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.

Avoid leaving water in the saucers after watering; the plant likes wet conditions, but not soggy surroundings that can lead to root rot. Because Water Arums can grow well in high-humidity settings, they are great plants to keep in your bathroom or other areas with high moisture levels.

These beautiful plants bring the environment to life and add a touch of green to your interiors.

Usage of the Plant in Outdoor Setting

Water Arums are great aquatic plants for enhancing different outdoor environments and activities, and can be well adapted in different settings. Growing them at water garden settings, like a pond or bog gardens, is an ideal way to enable their sustainable growth and keep them thriving.

They are perfect for adding a touch of green to the waters edge, and they like moist soil, making them an excellent plant to grow in damp, soggy areas. When planting Water Arums outdoors, start by digging a hole deep enough to provide the necessary water depth, typically around 12 inches.

Make sure the soil is well-draining, and after planting, keep the pot submerged in your water garden, making sure the rhizome is covered but not buried in the soil. As the plant grows, it will produce beautiful, delicate flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Water Arums make great aquatic plants for outdoor settings like water features, such as fountains and ponds, as they add a unique sense of ambiance to their surroundings. These plants also make a great addition to woodland and shade gardens by adding a lovely contrast to the darker, drier soils.

In the right soil and watering conditions, they can add character to borders as they stand-out and spike upwards, breaking up the line of blooming perennials.

Maintenance would involve routine watering, occasional fertilizing (depending on nutrient availability in the water) and pruning to remove old or yellowing leaves.

Ensure there is no overgrowth where the plant is becoming a problem to the surrounding growing plants.


Water Arums are an adaptable plant that can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings. They are easy to propagate, low maintenance, and add a unique touch to any environment.

Whether indoors or outdoors, Water Arums are a beautiful addition. One crucial factor to consider when growing any plant is whether it poses a risk of toxicity.

Unfortunately, the Water Arum plant is toxic to humans, pets, and horses. The plant contains a poisonous compound called calcium oxalate crystals, which can have severe effects on a person or pet’s health if ingested.

When pets or humans come into contact with the plant, especially by chewing or eating it, the plant’s crystals can cause severe irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. These symptoms include swelling of the tongue, lips, throat, and mouth, and excessive drooling.

In severe cases, the crystals can cause vomiting, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, and other life-threatening health issues. It is essential to keep pets and young children away from the Water Arum plant.

If your pet ingests any part of the Water Arum plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. If humans come into contact with the plant, rinse the affected area with soap and water and consult a healthcare provider if symptoms occur.

Horses are also susceptible to the plant’s harmful effects, and if they eat the plant’s young shoots in high quantity, it can cause kidney failure and death. Horse owners should avoid planting Water Arums in pastures or near areas accessible to them.

In conclusion, while Water Arums are a beautiful addition to any outdoor or indoor space, care should be taken to ensure they are not ingested by humans, pets, or horses. If you intend to grow Water Arums, keep them out of reach from children, pets, and hose, and contact your veterinarian or healthcare provider immediately if you experience any symptoms of toxicity.

In conclusion, the Water Arum is an adaptable, versatile plant that can be grown in various environments for its beauty and benefits both aesthetically and ecologically. While propagation and cultivation require minimal effort, Water Arums are toxic to humans, pets, and horses, and precautions should be taken to prevent accidental ingestion.

With proper care and maintenance, Water Arums can thrive both indoors and outdoors.


Q: Can Water Arums grow entirely underwater?

A: No, the Water Arum needs to have some of its stem and leaves above water to survive. Q: Can I grow Water Arums in containers?

A: Yes, Water Arums can be grown in containers with proper drainage and quality soil or aquatic compost. Q: How often should I water my Water Arums?

A: Water Arums require regular watering but not so much that the soil is waterlogged. Q: What is the best soil pH for Water Arums?

A: A pH level of around 6-7 is ideal for Water Arums. Q: Are the Water Arum flowers fragrant?

A: Yes, Water Arum flowers can be fragrant and attract a wide range of pollinators.

Q: Can Water Arums grow in low light environments?

A: Water Arums can tolerate low light but still need some light to grow and flourish.

Q: How do I prevent fungal diseases in Water Arums?

A: Plant Water Arums in well-drained soil, avoid overwatering, and use fungicides to treat any diseases that may arise. Q: Is it necessary to fertilize Water Arums?

A: While they can thrive on the nutrients available in water, occasional low nitrogen and phosphate slow release fertilizers are also beneficial.

Q: How do I propagate Water Arums?

A: Water Arums can be propagated through division, cuttings, and tissue culture techniques.

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