Grow & Care Guide for Orange Candleflower

orange candleflower

Orange candleflower (Arum italicum) is a perennial plant with beautiful flowers. It has large arrow-shaped gray-green leaves with pale veins. Orange candleflower is also called Italian lord and ladies, Italian Lily, or Cuckoo’s Pint.

It is native to the Mediterranean but is now growing all around the world. Orange candleflower has big white flowers, which turn into oblong-shaped clusters of red fruit. Italian Lily is most commonly used as an ornamental plant for traditional gardens.

Orange candleflower is a low-maintenance plant and can be grown in containers indoors as well.

Leaves, Rhizomes, and Fruits of Orange Candleflower are Poisonous!

Particularly fruits or berries, which can be fatal to dogs or babies when ingested.

Invasive Species

Before planting this beautiful plant in your garden, there is something you should know. Orange candleflower is an invasive species in some parts of the USA. It has been declared a Class C noxious weed by Washington State’s Noxious Weed Control Board.

There are a few reasons, why it Italian Lily is considered a noxious weed:

  • It is toxic
  • Very difficult to control once established
  • Spreads rapidly in riparian areas and other habitats
italian arum
Italian arum Source: Bernard

It would be wise to consider alternatives to this plant, such as Jack in the Pulpit or Canada Wild Ginger, if you live in Pacific Northwest or in Washington State.

How to Grow

On the bright side, Orange candleflower is a low-maintenance perennial ornamental plant. It provides seasonal beauty to a garden with its arrow-shaped leaves and big white flowers in the spring.

After blooming the foliage dies back, orange candleflower produces beautiful orange and red colored berries.


Orange candleflower thrives in partial shade or full sun. Its’ fruit becomes more colorful with sun exposure, while its foliage prefers shade.


It is necessary to water Italian Lily during dry periods, its leaves will start to wither when it needs more water. It is not easy to overwater this plant, because it is wet soil tolerant.

Keep the soil moist at all times and the orange candleflower will grow without problems.

orange candleflowers with berries
Orange candleflower with red berries Source: Crawford

Soil and Fertilizer

Cuckoo’s Pint prefers humusy, slightly acidic (6.0-7.0) pH, well-draining soils. To ensure growth, add balanced fertilizer during the growing season once per month. Most likely it won’t need any fertilizer at all.


Italian Arum grows in USDA Hardiness zones 5-9. In hotter regions, the foliage will remain evergreen during winter, while the plant goes dormant during winter in colder zones.

Optimal growing temperatures for Cuckoo’s Pint are 57-72 °F (14-22) °C. Cold-hardy cultivars can withstand quite low temperatures, down to 14 °F (-10 °C).


It is extremely easy to propagate this plant, which is why it is considered an invasive species in some areas, it propagates on its own.

There are two ways to propagate orange candleflower, one way is to sow seeds in the autumn in rich, humusy, well-draining soil. Remember to remove the outer pulp of the berries before sowing the seeds.

The other way is to divide tubers after the plant has flowered.

Make Sure to Wear Gloves

Coming in contact with Orange candleflower sap may irritate the skin. Wear gloves and long sleeves when dealing with Italian lily.


It is not necessary to prune Italian lily, although you can remove untidy or unappealing leaves to your liking. Use sharp tools to not tear and cause pain to the plant.

cuckoo's pint foliage
Cuckoo’s pint foliage Source: Leonora

Where to Plant?

Orange candleflowers are terrific in shaded beds and borders. They also make a good organic ground cover to help grow roses and shrubs. The proper gardening term for this is underplanting.


Orange candleflower usually thrives without any affecting diseases. Although in some cases, fungal diseases such as Phytophthora or Phylostictosis can affect the plant.

Phytophthora can cause root rot, which will cause the leaves to dry and reduce flowering. Phylostictosis causes brown spots on the foliage. Both fungal diseases can be treated with fungicides.


Aphids, spider mites, and thrips can infest Orange candleflower, use horticultural insecticides such as neem oil to treat the plant. If not treated on time, you may have to discard the plant.


Orange candleflower is a beautiful flower, which even bears fruit. It is a low-maintenance ornamental plant but be careful when you have kids or four-legged friends visiting your garden.

Italian Lily is also considered a noxious weed in some parts of the US. It might be a good idea to consider alternatives if you happen to live in Washington State or Pacific Northwest.

Is Orange candleflower poisonous?

Yes, Orange candleflower is poisonous and can even be fatal to babies and dogs when ingested.

How do I get rid of Italian Arum?

Herbicides containing glyphosate and imazapyr can kill the foliage, but not the tuber. Digging up the plants is the only viable solution.

Is Italian Arum a lily?

No, Italian Arum is a species of plant in the family Araceae, while Lilies are a species of plant in the family Liliaceae.

Is Orange candleflower deer-resistant?

Yes, since it is very toxic, deer will not eat this plant.

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