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Planting Guide: How to plant, grow and care for your Biarum

What is a Biarum?

Biarum comprises 22 species of dwarf tuberous-stemmed herbs occurring in semi-arid and seasonally dry areas of southern Europe, North Africa, the Near and Middle East. They are small, but larger than the Arisarums.

Blooming/Flowering season

The majority of species blossom in autumn and early winter and this, together with the often striking appearance of the inflorescence, has resulted in the growing popularity of Biarum species amongst alpine garden enthusiasts. In most species the inflorescence emerges from the bare ground before the leaves (hysteranthous). In some species the leaves are regularly synanthous, emerging at the same time as the inflorescence. A few, such as Biarum syriacum , are proteranthous, with the inflorescence emerging after the leaves have developed.

Cultivation

Biarum species have a strongly seasonal growth regime. The plants begin growth in late summer or early autumn with the onset of winter rains, continuing into late spring when they become dormant at the start of summer heat and drought. The leaves grow between 100mm to 150mm. The difficulty is that none of the Arums are apparently closely related to Biarum. Biarums are adapted to seasonally arid conditions. They do not require much moisture for good growth.

 

In fruit they have subterranean to partially emergent infructescences. They consist of silver-lilac to off-white berries and seeds with strongly developed elaiosomes.

Biarum Growing conditions

Light/Watering:

Biarums require very little water and spring to life after the first rains in Autumn. They do best in full sun.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH:

Biarums come from arid conditions and require no fertilizer if potted in basic potting mix. They grow in a mix of standard potting mix.

Pests/Diseases:

Biarums are immune to most pests and diseases.

Flowering:

As per above.

Dividing/Transplanting:

Healthy Biarums will, given time, require dividing. It should be done in Summer but keep the tubers cool. Replant straight away.

End-of-Season Care:

Biarums do well if left to their own devices. The leaves wither and disappear in Summer.

How to plant Biarum?

Fertilizer/Soil and pH

Biarums come from arid conditions and require no fertilizer if potted in basic potting mix. They grow in a mix of standard potting mix.

How to grow Biarum?

Biarum should be planted just below the surface of the potting mix/soil.

How to care for Biarum?

Biarums require no specific attention in drying conditions. They require nothing specific treatment.

Glossary

Inflorescence: the body that holds the flowers.

Infructescences: the fruiting body.

Elaiosomes: are fleshy structures that are attached to the seeds of many plant species.