Re: breaking dormancy in Amorphophallus
I mentioned a few days ago, in discussion on growing Amorphs in pots vs.
in the ground, that one of the reasons I keep all mine except konjac in
pots is dormancy. They seem incredibly stubborn, refusing to break
dormancy until good and ready and then refusing to stay dormant a day
longer no matter what I do.
This has led me to a regimen of benign neglect that generally works well.
To use the recent acquisitions from Wilbert as examples, they arrived
dormant. Within a few days, I potted them all, using my standard potting
mix. They were watered in very lightly - had the mix been damp, I might
not have watered them in at all. They'll all be put on a shaded shelf, in
a position where they won't accidentally get watered when I'm flailing
about with the hose. To lower risk of rot - not that that's been a problem
- I'll water just enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
I check them every few days. When I see one breaking dormancy, that pot is
moved to a moderately high light shelf, and receives more water and
attention in general. When the leaf starts yellowing and showing signs of
impending dormancy again, I reduce water gradually, then move the pot back
to the "inactive" shelf. They are only repotted to remove offsets or when
the tuber outgrows the pot or the soil condition gets that "poor" look.
The advantages for someone like me are that I don't have to worry about
conditions outdoors, or checking bagged up tubers and missing one and
having it exhaust itself (which I've done), and even if I'm away from home
for a week or so and one does break dormancy, no problem - there are
nutrients and a small amount of moisture available. And I'm never
"fighting" the plants, trying to induce dormancy or growth when they
aren't in the mood. Not to mention that it minimizes effort on my part and
makes more efficient use of my limited greenhouse space.
The only real problem so far is that due to Wilbert's generosity over the
last few years, if they were to all break dormancy at once, I wouldn't
know where to put them. But that's a problem I'm happy to have.
-- Steve Marak