Dracunculus Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Dracunculus plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Dragon Arum, Voodoo Lily, & Snake Lily: Cultivation & Garden Use

Members of Dracunculus are are hardy perennials. They are small to medium in size, ranging from about 45 to 90 cm (18 inches to 3 feet) in height.

Dracunculus Plants bloom in the early months of summer, when they carry blood red flowers. These flowers have a strong harmful odour.

Dracunculus vulgaris
Dracunculus vulgaris - Dragon Lily by albategnius.

Common names for Dracunculus include Dragon Arum and Dragon plant.

Commonly Grown Dracunculus Species Photographs and Plant Identification

This plant genus contains two species

Dranunculus vulgaris

Dranunculus vulgaris
Dranunculus vulgaris (Dragon Lily / Dragon Arum / Black Arum / Common Dracunculus), photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

Dracunculus canariensis

Dracunculus canariensis
Dracunculus canariensis (Canary Island Dragon Lily), picture by Jungle Rebel; CC.

Dracunculus Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Dragon Arum, Dragon Plant, Voodoo Lily, Snake Lily, Black Dragon.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 18 to 36 inches (45 to 90 cm).
Native: Mediterranean. The Atlantic Islands of the Canaries and Madeira.
Family: Araceae.
Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10.
Flowers: Early summer.
Flower Details: Red, Purple.Dracunculus have a distinctive Spadix and Spathe. Pungent fragrance.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Green. Streaked. Reniform.
Sow Outside:
Tuber: 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm). Autumn. Spacing 12 inches (30 cm).
Seeds: Cover. Autumn.
Sow Inside: Germination time: one to six months. Temperature: 60 to 65°F (16 to 18°C). Sow at the end of winter or the start of spring. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements and care: Full or partial shade. Good drainage. Rich Soil, Humus, Alkaline soil. Mix in organic material. Spring mulch. Regular watering during the growing period. Propagate: by dividing in the autumn.
Miscellaneous: Its fragrance attracts masses of flies, so you may need to think carefully about which part of the garden that you grow Dracunculus in.

How to Grow Dragon Arum (Dracunculus)

When growing Dragon Arum outdoors, the seed should be sown into a shaded part of the garden. This should have good drainage. Sow out in the Autumn.

The seeds should be lightly covered with topsoil. Dracunculus plants prefer to grow in an organic soil.

If you first plan to start Dragon Arum off indoors, then preparation should be started at the end of winter to the beginning of spring.

It will take anything from one to six months for the plants to germinate. This should be done at a temperature of 13 to 18 degrees Centigrade (55 to 64°F).

Once seedlings are strong, the young Dragon Arum plants should be planted in the garden, with a spacing of about 30 cm (12 inches).

Caring for Dracunculus Plants in the Garden

Once Dracunculus plants are established, it is important to keep the soil moist during the growing season. Soil can be left as is during the winter months.

If you require more Dragon Arum's then they can be divided in the autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Dracunculus genus have?

The Dracunculus genus is made up of 3 species.

Do members of Dracunculus make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Dracunculus vulgaris with its striking appearance can make an interesting addition to a garden, but beware, it has a strong, unpleasant odor.

Which Dracunculus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Dracunculus vulgaris (Dragon Arum) is the most commonly grown species.

Are members of the Dracunculus plant genus fragrant?

While Dracunculus plants produce a strong smell, it's not pleasant. They emit an odor of rotting meat to attract pollinators.

What is the perfect location to grow Dracunculus?

Dracunculus prefers a sunny to partly shaded location with well-drained soil.

Is Dracunculus invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Dracunculus is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Dracunculus plants from my garden?

Removing Dracunculus involves digging up the plant, ensuring to remove all tubers to prevent regrowth.


The Dracunculus genus, commonly known as Dragon Arum, contains three species of flowering plants native to the Mediterranean region. These perennials are known for their large, dramatic flowers that emit a foul odor to attract pollinators.

Dracunculus plants prefer partial shade and well-drained soil. They can be grown from tubers, which should be planted in the fall. While the flowers are certainly a conversation starter, they should be planted in a location where the smell will not be an issue. The plants go dormant in summer, after which the tubers can be lifted and stored for the next season if desired.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Dracunculus plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on other Araceae family members; how to grow Arum italicum, Aglaonema commutatum, and Zantedeschia plants.