Amorphallus

If you can get past the unmistakable stench of this unique plant, it is definitely one to try growing. It is so unusual that a bloom from one of this plants has literally drawn thousands of people to see it!

If you can get past the unmistakable stench of this unique plant, it is definitely one to try growing. Although the average height of the inflorescences of this plant is six and a half feet, although the tallest one on record was a whooping 10.75 foot. Once the tuber has matured underground, it will begin to produce a huge aroid bloom that generally is taller than most humans. The spandex grows rapidly once it begins, although in the beginning the spadix will be completely enclosed by the spath and bracts. The Amorphophallus is considered to be the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world.

Although the Amorphallus Titanum was once rumored to eat its grower, we all know today that that’s just an old wives tale. However, it is difficult to propagate because the tubers are prone to rot, it does not reliably increase its size nor does it produce seeds or offsets as easily as other species of Amorphophallus. Now, if the idea of a man-eating plant isn’t enough of a shock to you. try the idea of elephants pollinating the monstrous inflorescences! The truth of the matter is that large carrion beetles are lured the horrendous odor of decaying flesh, or as one person puts it rotten liver! Indonesian people commonly call it bunga bankai, which means corpse flower!

The true reason why Amorphophallus have a hard time reproducing is because the female flowers are the first to open and before the male florets begin to produce their pollen, the female flowers are no longer receptive. In rare occasions in the wild, pollination will occur only because of the fact that Amorphophallus can set bloom any time of the year, and their is a slight chance that one may be in it’s female cycle while another has entered into its male cycle.

If you decide to try growing Amorphophallus species, be aware that spider mites will attack emerging seedlings, and that aphids are also moderately fond of this plant. You should also note that low humidity or low light might cause the leaflets to partially desiccate. Although a plus of low light will be a dark green leaf with contrasting pink margins, thus a gradual move of this plant into bright light will produce bright green leaves with pinkish margins that are less noticeable.

Another surprise about the Amorphophallus is the fact that the Amorphophallus Rivieri ‘Konjac’ also known as the Japanese Konjaku, and the Amorphophallus Campanulatus also known as the Asian Elephant Yam both has edible roots and that is their prime purpose of being grown.

The dormant tubers of the Amorphophallus species should be planted in late winter or early spring in the ground where weather conditions are favorable for it to grow outdoors year round, otherwise, plant it in a pot and keep it indoors. The tubers should be planted four inches deep, and grown in warm, barely moist conditions with frequent watering and a balanced liquid fertilizer applied monthly during the rapid growing season. The larger the size of the tuber, the greater the chance that it will bloom.

If you are the really adventurous type, you can always try your hand at sowing Amorphophallus seed in autumn or spring once the temperatures are ranging in the sixty-six to seventy-seven degree fairenheight range. Another method of propagation is to separate the offsets when the plant is dormant.

If you can get past the horrendous smell of these plants, they are definitely one of the weirdest plants you will grow in your garden and they will certainly attract a crowd once they bloom which could be a slow process.