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Amorphophallus titanum

I am a retired biological oceanographer with a minor in botany, from the
University of Miami (C.G.).
In 1980 I planted three A. titanum corms in my yard at Naples, Florida. The
soil there is calcareous with a pH of around 8.2 and is poor in nutrients.
The area experiences long dry spells.  In spite of these conditions, and
without any cultural assistance, the plants grew to about three feet in
height. They were exposed to quite a bit of direct sunlight.  The plants
went dormant in the winter and came up the following spring.  In 1983 two of
the plants produced dinner plate sized blooms. I did not write this up
because I felt the plants posed no cultural difficulties.
I moved to St. Croix (U.S.V.I.) in 1985.  The soil and growing conditions
there were similar to Florida, with the exceptions of mild winters.  Three
years ago I received a plant from a botanist friend of mine, who owned a
large commercial nursery on the island. Her two plants were between three
and four feet in height and had received no care.  St. Croix is considered a
dry island and the summers there can often be a six months drought period.
When I dug up my plant there were no roots and the corm was about the size
of a grapefruit.
I planted it in potting soil and when it sprouted the next year it grew to
nine feet in height.  Living in an apartment and not having an outside
growing area, the plant was somewhat spindly and the petiole required
support.  I brought the corm with me when I returned to Naples.  Under a 140
watt grow light it hs reached nine feet in height and is rather spindly.  I
have now substituted two 100 watt lamps in an effort to determine the
minimum amount of light for growers who have to keep their plants inside. My
botanist friend also considered the  plants to be very hardy.  Paul Kruse

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