En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 07, 2009

From: Loda, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Yellowing leaves on Jack in the Pulpit in Loda IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in central Illinois and have a Jack in the Pulpit in a pot, in a shady location, under an oak tree and the soil seems to be moist. The leaves are turning yellow at the edges. Help, please. Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are three members of the Arisaema genus native to Illinois that have "Jack in the Pulpit" as their common name:

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. pusillum (Jack in the pulpit) - pictures

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)

They are obviously very closely related, and it really doesn't matter which one, or another not native to Illinois, you are growing, they pretty well share the same growing needs. From Paghat's Garden, here is a website on the species and sub-species listed above, with pictures. 

From our Native Plant Database page on Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit), here are the growing conditions for that plant:

"Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Humus-rich, moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Jack-in-the-pulpit is an excellent woodsgarden plant, very easy to cultivate and requiring very little care. It thrives under a variety of conditions, but grows most vigorously in moist, shady, seasonally wet locations. A heavy, leafy wintercover should be left in place."

Every resource on these plants that we consulted said that the plants need an acidic soil, which you would ordinarily find on a forest floor, due to the constantly falling leaves of deciduous trees around them. We learned also that these plants go dormant in the summer, with mature plants producing red berries visible in mid to late summer.

We have a couple of theories on why your plant's leaf edges are yellowing. The first is concerning the soil in the pot where the  Arisaema is growing. When leaves begin to yellow on a plant, we usually suspect chlorosis, which means the plant is not getting trace elements from the soil that it needs. A plant needing an acid soil would have great difficulty in accessing those elements, especially iron, in an alkaline soil. If you are using a commercial potting soil, it might very well be that the plant would be better off in the ground itself, which is probably more suited to an acid-loving plant. Our second theory has to do with the dormancy of the plant in summer. It could possibly be that the dormancy is beginning in that plant, and the yellowing of the leaves is a natural part of that process.

We would suggest that you just keep an eye on the plant, and if you feel the pH of the soil in the pot is questionable, transplant into the native soil at the appropriate time.


Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum ssp. triphyllum

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Erosion Control for a NC Clay Slope
June 06, 2013 - Hi, We have a large slope on the road edge of our property that has been gradually eroding with spring rains (NC red clay). We would really like to plant something for erosion control but the bank is...
view the full question and answer

Plants for northern exposure in Wichita, KS
March 17, 2009 - What are good plants for the north side of the house with acidic soil in Zone 6, Wichita, KS?
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for color year round
May 02, 2007 - I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/ada...
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

Plants for North Myrtle Beach SC
June 05, 2012 - What plants will do well at North Myrtle Beach, SC that will take full sun with dry soil?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center