Jack in the pulpits

Jack-In-The-Pulpit Plants: How To Grow Jack-In-The-Pulpit Wildflower

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is a unique plant with an interesting growth habit. The structure that most people call the jack-in-the-pulpit flower is actually a tall stalk, or spadix, inside a hooded cup, or spathe. The true flowers are the tiny, green or yellow-tinged dots that line the spadix. The entire structure is surrounded by large, three-lobed leaves that often hide the spathe from view. In late summer or fall, the spathe falls off and the flowers give way to decorative wands of bright red berries.

About Jack-in-the-Pulpits

Jack-in-the-pulpit wildflower is native to the lower 48 states and parts of Canada. Native Americans harvested the roots for food, but they contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause blisters and painful irritations when eaten raw. To safely prepare the roots, first peel them and cut them into small pieces, then roast them at a low temperature for at least an hour.

Growing jack-in-the-pulpit is easy in the right location. They grow wild in woodland environments and prefer a shady spot with moist or wet, slightly acid soil that is rich in organic matter. These plants tolerate poorly-drained soil and make great additions to rain or bog gardens. Use Jack-in-the-pulpit in shade gardens or to naturalize the edges of woodland areas. Hostas and ferns make excellent companion plants.

How to Grow Jack-in-the-Pulpit

There is not much involved with growing Jack-in-the-pulpit plants. Plant container-grown Jack-in-the-pulpit plants in spring or plant corms 6 inches deep in fall.

Plant seeds freshly harvested from ripe berries in spring. Plants grown from seeds have only one leaf the first year and it takes them three or more years to come to flower.

Caring for Jack-in-the-pulpit Wildflower

As easy as growing Jack-in-the-pulpit flower is, so is its care as well. The plant’s survival depends on a moist, organically rich soil. Work a generous amount of compost in to the soil before planting and fertilize annually with additional compost.

Use organic mulch such as bark, pine needles, or cocoa bean shells, and replace it every spring.

Jack-in-the-pulpit plants are seldom bothered by insects or diseases, but are very attractive to slugs. Hand picking, traps and slug baits are the easiest ways to deal with these pests. Place hiding places, such as boards and upturned flower pots, in the garden as traps and check them early in the morning. Drop the slugs in a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Read the label on slug baits carefully and choose one that won’t harm children pets and wildlife.

Knowing how to grow Jack-in-the-pulpit in the garden is a great way to enjoy the plant’s unique appearance throughout the season.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Fascinatingly beautiful Jack-in-the-pulpit naturalizes in small clusters as an accent plant in shade and woodland gardens. Place Jack-in-the-pulpits sparingly in a large growth of groundcover for a magical display. During midsummer dormancy, fill in with impatiens or other shade-tolerant annuals.

genus name
  • Arisaema
light
  • Part Sun,
  • Shade
plant type
  • Bulb,
  • Perennial
height
  • 6 to 12 inches,
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • 6 to 12 inches
flower color
  • Green,
  • Red,
  • White,
  • Pink
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
season features
  • Spring Bloom
problem solvers
  • Deer Resistant
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Attracts Birds,
  • Good for Containers
zones
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7
propagation
  • Division,
  • Seed

Colorful Combinations

Jack-in-the-pulpit blooms in spring. Its intricate cuplike blossoms have a hooded top in earthy colors like green, cream, burgundy, and brown. The center of the flower wows with a spike resembling a man standing in a pulpit. As the flowers fade, the plant produces a cluster of red berries mid- to late-summer. These berries become more visible as the spathe withers and shrinks, adding a late pop of color to the shade garden.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Care Must-Knows

This native Midwestern plant thrives in damp, acidic, and rich humus forest floors in eastern North America. To create this habitat for Jack-in-the-pulpit in your garden, amend the soil in an area of full or partial shade with compost or an acidic fertilizer. It doesn’t need a well-drained location as many other plants do, making it a wonderful option for wet, boggy areas of your garden. Jack-in-the-pulpits are poisonous, especially the corms, so exercise caution when planting these.

See more wildflowers for shade.

To plant, dig a 6-inch-deep hole and place the corm as you would a crocus or other small bulbs—root side down. These are ephemeral plants: Once they have bloomed and stored enough energy for next year, the foliage dies back. Plan to fill bare spots with annuals.

To prevent slugs from damaging Jack-in-the-pulpit, place a small bowl or container filled with a few inches of beer near the plants. The slugs can’t resist the smell, crawl into the container, and drown. Another way to deter slugs is to keep landscape tidy: Slugs like to spend their days under things, where it’s nice and moist. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth, eggshells, grit, sand, gravel, and pine needles creates barriers slugs don’t want to crawl over to reach your Jack-in-the-pulpit plants.

Jack-in-the-pulpit is resistant to deer, too!

More Varieties of Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Arisaema Sikokianum

Arisaema sikokianum develops a maroon or burgundy pulpit with a central white “Jack,” resembling an ice cream cone with a striped hood. It is a large species, sometimes growing 30 inches tall. Zones 5-9

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Arisaema triphyllum bears purple-striped flowers that are subtle yet striking in the woodland garden. Plant it in a grouping for best effect. Red berries in fall extend its season of interest. Zones 3-9

Plant Jack-in-the-Pulpit With:

In spring, a cloud of tiny blue flowers hovers above brunnera’s mound of fuzzy heart-shape leaves. The plant prefers partial shade but can grow in full sun in cool climates provided it receives adequate moisture. Variegated forms need more shade; in full sun they’re likely to scorch. It is sometimes called Siberian bugloss.

This plant hardly grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. But hosta has earned its spot in the hearts of gardeners—it’s among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall. Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged. The variations are almost endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, sets white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.

In early spring, the brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves—spotted or plain—always please and continue to be handsome into winter. Planted close as a weed-discouraging groundcover or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses and retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.

Jack In The Pulpit Seeds

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a perennial herb which grows in the moist under story in woodland habitats. It has one or two trifoliate leaves and flowers in the spring. Plants can remain vegetative or may produce a single male female inflorescence or clustered arrangement of flowers.
The inflorescence consists of a central spadex which holds the flowers surrounded by a tube with a hood or spathe on top. The spathe can range in color from green to purple.
The flowers are located at the base of the spadex. The spathe or hood acts as a “kettle trap” of pollinating insects. Male plants have a small hole at the bottom of the spathe.
Insects enter through the top and are drawn to the light (and pollen) at the bottom where they exit. Females do not have an escape route so once an insect enters through the top, there is a very small chance that it will find its way out. Useful gardening information To break its dormancy this seed needs a period of cold moisture, a period of warm moisture, followed by another period of cold moisture. Mix the seed with moist sand ( or use our Cold Stratification Kits ) and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days, then move it to a 70-75 degrees F location for 30-60 days, followed by another 30-60 day period in the refrigerator before planting.
To accomplish this naturally, simply plant the seed in late fall and wait until the second spring after planting for germination.
In late fall or early spring, direct sow the treated seed 1/4″ deep and 12-15″ apart in rich, moist soil. Germination should take place within 14-20 days. This plant grows best in moist soil and dappled shade.

TRFRID007 Jack-in-the-Pulpit ( Arisaema triphyllum ) Jack-in-the-pulpit is an excellent woodland garden plant. It is easy to cultivate and requires very little care once established. It thrives under a variety of conditions, but grows most vigorously in moist, shady, seasonally wet locations. Deer will not eat this plant!
The “Jack,” is the spongy cylindrical structure inside a leaf-like structure that is rolled into a deep cup with an overhanging roof, the “pulpit”. The whole ensemble somewhat resembles a minister in an old-fashioned pulpit.
The fruit are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries clustered on the thickened spadix and ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright red color before the plants go dormant.

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit – April 2017 Wildflower of the Month

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is an easy to grow native wildflower that has unusual foliage and flower. The striped green and purple canopy (spathe) curves gracefully over a club-shaped spadix (the “Jack” or preacher in his canopied pulpit). The lower portion of the spadix carries tiny flowers of one or both sexes, where heat and odor are produced, attracting pollinating flies.

A single 3-parted leaf on a long stalk then expands and overtops the spathe. Appearing along with the flowers, the leaves are divided into 3 parts, the two lower leaflets more or less horizontal to the third leaflet. Jack-in- the-Pulpit leaves could be confused with those of trillium, but the 3 leaflets of trillium are all equidistant from each other.

Fruits are smooth, shiny green berries clustered at the base of the thickened spadix; they ripen in late summer when the spathe and leaf wither, revealing the cluster of bright red berries borne on a stalk 1-2 feet high, replacing the leaf and flower.

Jack-in- the-Pulpit is an excellent choice for a shade or woodland wildflower garden where it will thrive in rich soil and partial to full shade. It is very easy to cultivate and requires little care, and grows under a variety of conditions. It partners well with columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia).

Native in all counties of Virginia, this woodland plant is found in every state east of the Mississippi, and extends through central U.S. to the borders of Colorado and Utah and into Canada.

While birds and mammals eat the berries of this plant, all parts produce intensely irritating calcium oxalate crystals. American Indians knew that cooking and drying eliminated the bitter taste; roots were used as a vegetable, ground for bread doughs, and used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

Arisaema refers to the plant’s resemblance to other members of the Arum family, the Araceae – Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), Arrow-arum (Peltandra virginica), and Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum) are native to Virginia. Other members of this family from the tropics are grown as familiar house plants. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Philodendron, and Dieffenbachia are sold locally in garden centers and nurseries. Another relative Caladium, also known as Elephant Ears, is grown for its colorful foliage and is often planted in woodland gardens.

By Helen Hamilton, president of the John Clayton Chapter, VNPS

Photo: Jack-in- the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) taken by Phillip Merritt

Jack In The Pulpit

Jack in the Pulpit- Arisaema triphyllum For Sale Affordable Grower Direct Prices Tennessee Wholesale Nursery

Jack in the Pulpit is a woodland plant that usually does well in full or partial shade. It takes its name because many people believe that the plant looks like a person standing behind a podium. This plant has a green and brown striped hood covering a deep cylinder spadix that is usually called the jack. The jack will be included in many small green and yellow flowers in the spring.

As the flowers fade away, the female flowers give way to small red berries that many small animals consume in the autumn. Male Jack in the Pulpit plants has a tiny hole in the bottom of the spathe making it easier for the pollen to get away. These plants can change sex from one growing season to the next depending on conditions. Usually, Jack in the Pulpit plants is male for the first two years before switching to being female if enough nutrients are present in the soil. These perennial plants do best in soil that is rich in organic matter. When nutrients are lacking, they will remain male requiring pollinators to carry pollen in from other areas. They also prefer to be covered with a thick coat of dried leaves before it gets cold in the winter.

Buy Fast Growing Jack in the Pulpit

Male Jacks in the Pulpit usually have one long thin leaf while female Jack in the Pulpits usually has two blades. A few species have three sheets with the third leave being a diamond shape. Each trifoliate foliage is about 1.5 inches wide, and it can be from three-to-six- inches long. The berries have one to five seeds that ripen in the fall.

These plants love to be wet, so make sure to plant them in moist areas or water them throughout the growing season. Using a good ground low ground cover near Jack in the Pulpits often allows the ground to stay wet.

Since these plants look very unusual, many homeowners love using them to showcase flowers in native or woodland gardens. Their unique shape draws looks in the spring and early summer while their berries serve as food for small animals during the first days of autumn.

Affordable Jack in the Pulpit For Every Landscape

The jack-in-the-pulpit plant is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows from a corm. Native to the eastern United States, the species grows from Nova Scotia to Minnesota to south Florida and Texas. With leaves growing in groups of three and sitting atop a singular long stem, these plants are often mistaken for poison ivy.
Jack-in-the-pulpit plants derive their name as a result of having a spathe, or group of modified leaves, that wraps around and is referred to as a “pulpit” and covers the spadix, which is referred to as the “jack.” The spadix is covered with unisexual flowers. When the plants are small, most of the flowers are male. As the plant grows, the spadix produces more female flowers. The small flowers grow from April to June and are pollinated by the fungus gnat. Jack-in-the-pulpit plants emit a smell that attract gnats. Approaching gnats become trapped by the plants. Gnats are able to escape the male flowers; however, they are unable to escape when they fall inside a female flower on the plant.
Although jack-in-the-pulpit plants produce fruit, the fruit should not be eaten raw as they contain calcium oxalate crystals, which causes irritation of the mouth and digestive system. However, the root can be dried or cooked and safely eaten as a starchy vegetable. The root has also been used by indigenous groups to treat rheumatism, snakebites, and induce sterility.

Jack In The Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Arisaema triphyllum

Jack in the Pulpit Herbal Use

Jack-in-the-Pulpit root is used in alternative medicine and is edible (only after drying and cooking) The fresh root contains high concentrations of calcium oxalate and is considered to be too dangerous and intensely acrid to use. Roasting the root after drying it 6 months removes the acridity. In this way Native Americans peeled and ground Jack in the Pulpit roots to powder to make a bread, which has a flavor similar to chocolate. Gather roots in early spring and dry for later.

Caution is advised as ingesting the fresh root can cause poisoning and even death.

WARNING: Raw corms are not edible and contain calcium oxalate which will cause a burning sensation in the mouth.

The roots can be cut into very thin slices and allowed to dry for several months, after which they are eaten like potato chips, crumbled to make a cereal or ground into a cocoa-flavored powder for making biscuits and cakes. A starch obtained from the roots is used as a stiffener for clothes.

Jack in the Pulpit root is acrid, antiseptic, diaphoretic, expectorant, irritant and stimulant. A poultice of root used for headaches and various skin diseases. Ointment used for ringworm, tetterworm and abscesses treatments.

Jack in the Pulpit Native Habitat and Description

Jack in the Pulpit is a native perennial herb found in moist woods from Canada to Florida and westward to Kansas and Minnesota.The leaves, one or two, are long stemmed, smooth, light green, trifoliate, and entire, each leaflet is ovate from 3 to 6 inches long and from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches wide. The root is a corm, it is shaped like a turnip.

Jack in the Pulpit flowers bloom in April and May, the single is either all green or green with dark purple stripes, is an unusual formation, a sort of green vase, a spathe, made from a single leaf, with a stalk growing up the middle of it, and a leaf-hood folding gracefully over its top. Jack-in-the-Pulpit stands about 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall. In autumn the rest of the plant dies away, leaving only the berry-covered stalk. The fruit ripens in the form of a bunch of bright, scarlet, shining berries. This plant starts life male. After 2 years, or longer in poor soil, it turns female, flowers and bears seed. If the plant receives a shock, it may turn back male again. Cultivation: is very difficult, requires green house conditions.

Jack in the Pulpit History and Folklore

The root was used as a contraceptive by the women of some Native American tribes. One teaspoonful of the dried herb, powdered root in cold water was said to prevent conception for a week whilst two teaspoonfuls in hot water was said to induce permanent sterility.

Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron

Next > Joe Pye Weed

The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.

Notes: Jack-in-the-pulpit is indigenous to the Garden area. Eloise Butler catalogued it on May 31, 1907. Additional Garden plantings were made in later years. Martha Crone noted planting it in 1933, ’34, ’38, ’45 and specifically noted planting 77 plants in 1935, 40 in 1937 and 56 in 1939. Susan Wilkins added plants in 2009. Found throughout Minnesota in moist woods in all but a few scattered counties of the southern part of the state. Its most westerly range in the United States is the line of states from North Dakota south to Texas.

Eloise Butler wrote: “Better known members of the Arum family are Calla (Calla palustris) and Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). In the case of the Jacks, the upper part of the fleshy flower axis is naked and is used as a support of the roof of the pulpit, or spathe. The small, simple flowers at the base of the axis are without floral leaves and are usually separated, namely, some of the Jacks bear only pollen producing flowers, and others, which in the course of time will develop seeds. The leaves of the Jacks are branched and made up of three leaflets. The seed-producing Jack usually bears a pair of these branching leaves in place of the one carried by the pollen-bearing Jack.

The individual producing the seed must manufacture food for storage in them as well as in the onion-shaped, subterranean bulb, which gives another name – Indian turnip to the plant. The Indians used the turnip, after pressing out the poisonous sap, as a farinaceous food. Jack-the-Jester has, of course, the reputed wisdom of former times; but you’ll get no drippings of it, unless you frequent the sanctuary of the wilderness. But even as a preacher, he cannot refrain from some foolish pranks. No one would be astonished to find, as is sometimes the case, two Jacks fraternally occupying the same pulpit; but an observer was doubled up with laughter to see a Jack holding forth in two united pulpits. Only the student, or one versed in wood lore, would recognize Jack, when he first pricks through the ground, in the form of a slender, slightly curved, sharp-pointed bud, with a protective sheath mottled like snake skin. Again, but few connect the last stage of seed-bearing Jack with the crowded bunch of bright red berries so common in late summer.” (Published in the Sunday Minneapolis Tribune May 14, 1911) (read full article.)

Toxicity: Parts of the fresh green plant are toxic. It is a violent irritant to the mucous membrane if chewed and if taken internally it causes violent gastroenteritis, which may end in death. The berries are not palatable due to the presence of calcium oxalate, but could probably be made edible if pulverized and dried for a long time (Ref #6 – see next note).

Lore and Uses: The plant material contains calcium oxalate crystals, which will produce a burning sensation shortly after eating, if not properly prepared. The root has been used for several purposes but it must be dried first. When fully dried the acridity is made inactive. It can then be used to make a wholesome flour with a suggestion of cocoa flavor. Densmore (Ref. #5) reports its use in solution as a wash for sore eyes. Several early writers such as botany and medical pioneer Jacob Bigelow and also Horace Kephart, attest to early medicinal uses.

Botanist Merritt Fernald writes (Ref.#6) about Bigelow’s recipe for making the flour. Bigelow discovered that boiling the root had no effect on removing the crystals as the acrid principle had “no affinity for water”, instead he peeled and pulverized the root and repeated washed the mashed root, which removed large amounts of starch from which he made the flour. Fernald himself learned that simply thinly slicing the root and letting it air dry for weeks, removed the principle and then a flour could be made. See his text for details.

Cultivation: The plant will self seed via bird droppings. You can sow seed yourself in the fall as soon as the fruit and seeds are ready but it will be the second spring before above ground growth is seen. The plant can also be transplanted in late summer to early fall. Commonly found at most native plant nurseries.

Dear Harvey: While hiking the Land Trust trail that starts on Oakwood Avenue I noticed this plant that I think is a pitcher plant of some kind. It was the only one I saw downstream of the waterfalls before the first berm and from what I can gather on the Internet they are rare and endangered. Is that the case? Thank you. – Randy L.

Dear Randy:

First, I must say that we are truly blessed here in our part of the Tennessee Valley to have so many spectacular protected, green spaces where you can see such incredible native flora. Moreover, the amount of land that is dedicated to green space within the city limits of Huntsville is remarkable and allows everyone to get out and see the virtual smorgasbords of wildflowers that paint such a colorful picture each and every spring.

Many people have to drive miles and miles to get to a location and then hike many miles into the forests to see such wonderful native habitats. To all, please take advantage of the many opportunities we have right here in our own backyard to get outside and explore nature.

The beautiful wildflower you spotted on your hike is actually a wonderful native known affectionately as jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum a-ris-IE-ma tri-FI-lum) and is a member of the Arum family. It is found throughout the Southeastern woodland forests, especially along moist stream banks. This is why you found it growing below the falls. While not a prolific growing, you can often find several plants growing in a community. Plants tend to spread by seed both by wildlife (birds) and just falling to the ground in late summer. The seed pods are a brilliant red with 10-15 seeds in a cluster.

The name jack in the pulpit comes from the distinctive flower, which is referred to as a spathe and spadix arrangement. The spathe is a modified leaf and it surrounds the central spadix (club-shaped flower) that hides inside. The spadix is jack tucked inside the spathe (pulpit) preaching over the other wildflowers each spring. Other common names include black jack, little jack, Indian turnip, and plant of peace. The peace lily is another plant that has similar flowers, as do caladiums and elephant ears. The name Indian turnip refers to this plant as a food source for native Americans but should be avoided today for the needlelike crystals of calcium oxalate that are found in the roots – quite a stomachache could occur.

This is a green pitcher plant. (Photo courtesy Harvey Cotten)

You mentioned that you thought this might be a pitcher plant, another wildflower native to Alabama but one that is much rarer and harder to find. We do have several species of pitcher plants (Sarracenia sp.) that can be found in the Southeast in general and parts of Alabama in particular. The pitcher plant is a wonderful plant to observe for it is a carnivorous plant that has adapted in such a way that it derives most of its nutrients not from the soil it is growing in but from the insects it lures to its leaf blade (the pitcher) and traps inside. The insects drown in the water held in the pitcher and slowly decompose releasing nutrients to the plant. Pitcher plants live in wet, boggy areas that are very acidic and very low in fertility. Generally we see large bog areas more along the coastal plain but there are a few pitcher plant bogs over in DeKalb, Jackson and Etowah counties in North Alabama.

What makes these plants rare and endangered is that they are losing their habitats, primarily to development. These plants are very specific about the areas where they can thrive, and once a habitat is lost, it is hard for these plants to just move over to another spot. We are so fortunate that several large bog areas have been preserved on the coast as well as the areas in North Alabama through the efforts of the Forever Wild program, The Nature Conservancy, our state parks and wildlife management areas. These programs are vital in keeping unusual habitats protected and plants like the pitcher plant off the endangered species list.

The good news is that creating a bog garden is not that difficult – they can be replicated in a small area and we have put in several areas at the Huntsville Botanical Garden to show off these remarkable plants.

Things to do right now:

Last time to fertilize cool-season grasses like fescue and rye with a turf-type slow release fertilizer, applying no more than one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Prune early spring flowering shrubs like forsythia, quince and spiraea after the flowers fade.

Spray fruit trees and flowering trees of the rose family during blooming with Agromycin to combat fire blight.

Harvey Cotten is the chief horticulturist and vice president at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Write to The Huntsville Times, P.O. Box 1487, West Station, Huntsville 35807.

Jack in the Pulpit Plant

All about Jack in The Pulpit Plant

The Jack in the Pulpit is a plant that originates in shady woodlands. To grow these plants successfully you will have to replicate the conditions of it’s growth and natural environment, at least partially.

As the sunlight rarely reaches the ground in any strength in a forest, this plant has a low tolerance for strong sunlight.

It also requires a soil rich in organic content, preferably sourced from leaf compost.

They also require the soil to be moist, as the soil of the forest floor rarely dries completely.

Remember though that this plant will not tolerate marshy conditions and that you should not water it too much.

Jack in the Pulpit family

This family include plants that show themselves very early in spring – as a matter of fact it will be one of the first plants to rise in your garden, and will bring a touch of spring to your garden far sooner than waiting for many of your other plants.

The plant is a perennial and will grow about three feet high, blooming in April and May. Its flowers are an exquisite shade of green, marked with darker designs.

The Jack in the Pulpit plant consists of just three leaves or so, each with a long stalk, while the flower and its protective sheath grow on another stalk.

This flashy stalk is called a spadix and can bear many tiny flowers. The name of this plant comes from the fact that the leafy sheath not only forms a tube around the flowers, but also a hood over them, just like a pulpit. This plant belongs by classification in the Arums, the same family, for example, as Sweet Flag. You will find the flowers appearing with the leaves on the trees, which is just about right as it brings your garden to life. There are three main varieties of this plant, but technically they are all the same species.

On of the most attractive elements about this flower is its rare and distinctive shape, which, though well known, is still extremely original.

How to Grow Jack in the Pulpit

A Jack in the Pulpit plant should generally be bought in spring or summer and in containers that measure around a gallon or so in volume.

Be very careful when you select the plants you buy, selecting only those which already show a tendency to new growth such as buds or new leaves.

Now choose the spot where you want the plant – remember when you do this that it is a shade plant which absolutely will not tolerate direct sunlight, and also that the soil must remain moist and well drained all the year round.

Remember to place the plants around three fourths of a foot apart. Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots comfortably.

Put some organic fertilizer around this hole and put the plants in. Then top up the hole with soil and use a little mulch around the plant, but avoiding mulching right up to its stem. Now water the soil until it is moist.

Caring for Jack in the Pulpit Plant

They are very easy to take care of, only needing a little fertilizer, usually leaf compost, gently applied to the top soil at the very beginning of spring.

You must also remember to remove dead leaves in spring, and any old stems.

Jack in The Pulpit Vases

The shape of these flowers has inspired many creations of vases, some of which can be seen below.

My apologies, this section is in the process of an update.

Summary

Jack-in-The-Pulpit is a woodland plant, an early riser in early Spring.

They rise up from a corm or from self-sowed seed.

This is a very delightful shade flower that grows to 24 inches tall and blooms in April and May, sometimes as late as June.

Being a woodland plant they do best in a rich, humus soil kept moist. Lots of leaf mold and some peat moss and you’ll have the ideal planting mix for this shade flower.

Propagating these plants can be done by offsets or by seed.

In the Fall beautiful shiny bright red non-edible fruit will appear.

The outer part of this fruit is a protective covering that needs to be removed from the seed.

Warning: Wear disposable gloves as some people will experience a burning sensation when in contact with the fruit.

Plant the seeds about a half inch into the compost rich soil you created. It will germinate next Spring.

This is truly an exciting plant to add to your shade garden.

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