Arisaema sikokianum

Japanese cobra lily

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This queen of the cobra lilies is one of the earliest to emerge from the ground. The plant can pop up as early as March or as late as July. Alien-like leaves sprout out with a bizarre deep brownish-black hooded flower vividly striped in white and perched above the new foliage. As the flower matures they will often, but not always have a pure white club shaped “marshmallow” nestled in the center of the bloom. if you are lucky they will produce seed heads that will ripen to a bright red-orange in early fall. The large leaves are almost trillium-like in their appearance, but they are bright green in color and can sometimes be splashed with silver.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: upright perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 9 in. (0.53 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 0 ft. 6 in. (0.15 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Flower Color: brown, purple

Sun/Light Exposure: light to deep shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’, Athyrium otophorum, Sarcococca confusa, , Cardamine trifolia

Great Color Contrasts: Blue, silver, bronze

Great Color Partners: green, brown

Culture Notes
Arisaemas grow best in a rich well-drained soil, preferring a sandy loose soil. Choose a shady location, from light to deep, and definitely avoid hot afternoon sun. Do not bury the tuber too deep, it will grow best when the top is covered by an inch or less of loose sandy soil and compost. Water these plants regularly in the summer. Arisaemas can be very slow to sprout in the spring, sometimes they may not start growing until early to mid-summer. Be patient, especially with newly planted tubers.