How to Grow Lysichiton Plants

Guide to Growing Skunk Cabbage and Swamp Lantern

Lysichiton are hardy perennial bog plants that reach from 60 cm to 1.2 m (2 to 4 feet) in height.

They have a very primitive look with yellow-green flowers atop of a spadix, which is surrounded by a white hooded spathe.

One of the common names for the Lysichiton plant is Skunk Cabbage.

Lysichiton americanus
Lysichiton americanus - Yellow Skunk Cabbage by Sandy__R.

How to Grow Skunk Cabbage and other Lysichiton Plants in the Garden

It is best to start growing Skunk cabbage outdoors. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 6 mm (1/4 inch) using fresh seed towards the end of summer.

As they are bog plants, Lysichiton like to grow in a soil that is deep, rich and wet.

Preferably Lysichiton plants hould be grown in a sunny boggy part of the garden. The germination of Skunk cabbage takes about one to two months.

Once growing, thin the seedlings so that they are about 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 feet) apart.

Caring for Skunk Cabbage and other Lysichito Plants

Skunk cabbage is pretty easy to grow and look after. It is important to keep the soil that Lysichito is in moist at all times. Ideally the plants will grow in standing water, but if this is not possible then apply lots of water to keep the soil saturated.

If you require more Lysichiton plants then they can be had by division at the start of spring.

Lysichiton Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Skunk Cabbage: Western; Yellow; Asian. Swamp Lantern.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 24 to 48 inches (60 to 120 cm).
Native: Northern America. Northeast Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 6 to 9.
Flowers: Middle of spring through to the middle of summer. Skunk-like fragrance, with a bit of a garlic smell thrown in.
Flower Details: Spikes. Yellow or green spardix. White or yellow spathe.
Foliage: Ovate-oblong. Large; up to 50 x 32 inches (125 x 80 cm). Waxy. Deeply veined.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Late summer; use fresh seed. Spacing 36 to 48 inches (90 to 120 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one to two months. Temperature: 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). Seeds should first be sown into flats. Stand flat in water. Three months in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.
Requirements and care: Full sunlight (for best results) or partial shade. Wet soil; preferably in standing water. Deep soil. Fertile soil, Humus rich. Slightly acidic. Regular watering to maintain wet soil. Protect seedlings from slugs. Propagate: by dividing in the spring or plant offsets.
Miscellaneous: Fragrance is attractive to Beetles and flies. Lysichiton is also attractive to bears who eat their roots for its laxative properties following hibernation.

Common Questions

How many members does the Lysichiton plant genus have?

The Lysichiton genus is small, with just two species. These are the American skunk-cabbage and the Asian skunk-cabbage.

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

While Lysichiton is unusual and striking, it may not be the best choice for a garden due to its strong, unpleasant smell and large size.

Which Lysichiton species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Of the two species, Lysichiton americanus (American skunk-cabbage) is the one most frequently encountered in specialist gardens.

Are members of the Lysichiton plant genus fragrant?

Lysichiton plants do have a strong fragrance, but it's not usually considered pleasant. They're often referred to as skunk-cabbage due to their skunky smell.

What is the perfect location to grow Lysichiton?

Lysichiton thrives in a wet, marshy environment with plenty of shade. They're often found near streams or in bog gardens.

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

Lysichiton americanus is native to the USA and not considered invasive. However, Lysichiton camtschatcensis is considered invasive in some European countries.

How do I remove Lysichiton plants from my garden?

Removing Lysichiton can be challenging due to its extensive root system. It's best to dig out the plant completely, making sure to remove all root fragments.


The Lysichiton genus, a member of the Araceae family, comprises perennial plants native to North America and Asia. These wetland plants are often used in ponds and water gardens, noted for their large, glossy leaves and distinctive, aromatic spathes.

Lysichiton prefers partial shade and wet or moist, rich soil. It requires ample watering, especially during dry periods. Propagation is typically done through seeds or division, generally in the spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Lysichiton plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Nemesia, Rochea plant, and Petunia plants.