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Re: Amorphophallus konjac will bloom!

In a message dated 5/21/99 6:19:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
walter@radserv.arad.upmc.edu writes:

<< Gentle readers,
 With all due respect and admiration for Mr. Fontanills, the gentleman lives 
 Miami, for crying out loud!  One can root cuttings in Miami by nailing them 
 the side of the house that would take me chemicals, exotic media, expensive
 metal halide lighting, humidifiers, RO filtration, and weeks of babysitting 
 in Pennsylvania.  I have to work hard to keep Gonatopus alive.
 Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!  (I'm crying out loud.)  I've put off visiting 
 Florida for 30 years for fear that I would never be able to tear myself away 
 return home.
 Kindest envious regards, and sincere congratulations    ;-)
 Walter Greenwood
 University of Pittsburgh


Your post gave me a good laugh ;-) 

Do you know that my research and a few of our experienced members on this 
list told me that A. konjac would not thrive in South Florida? ;-)  This is 
due to a required cold dormant period (in winter) not a S. Florida attribute, 
and our intense heat in the summer being above the species native conditions. 
Well, I've tried several plants that were not heat tolerant and they never 
did thrive, so I just did my best with A. konjac. 

Here are the secrets of my success, though how much to attribute to any one 
of them including the micro-climate of my little piece of South Florida is 
unknown (one is a John Riordan clone, and the other a Japanese clone):

Potting medium:  70% professional potting mix + 30% 'Oil Dry' (high fired 
ceramic particles found at auto supply stores). The professional potting mix 
had a large percentage of decomposed bark and horticultural peat for moisture 
retention. The 'Oil Dry' provided excellent aeration and weight to steady the 
pots in our winds.

Pot:  Terra-cotta (clay) pot. This to increase the aeration of the potting 
medium. I used typical deep pots as found in a myriad of garden departments.

Water:  I watered them everyday in the morning with city water. They were 
kept moist at all times.

Fertilizing:  I added slow release pellets ('Dynamite' six month time 
released fertilizer) and would further use 'Miracid' (30-10-10) once a week 
as a water soluble fertilizer, this to boost the nutrient levels and to keep 
the pH on the slightly acid side. Our water is very alkaline.

Lighting:  I placed them under dappled sunlight, under wispy open leafed 
trees, in order to keep them cooler and to not scorch the leaves in our 
intense sun. The color of the leaves was a yellowish green due to the high 
light levels. Some leaf tips did scorch due to the sun, but I felt that 
pushing it to the limit would accelerate tuber growth.

Dormancy:  I removed the tubers promptly (and all the offsets) when the plant 
naturally disengaged (rotted off). I placed them in a dark interior room (no 
additional cold was provided), we had a very mild winter here in S. Florida, 
milder than most years. This part worried me the most as it was not the ideal 
conditions for tuber dormancy based on my investigations.

Replanting:  Placed in the same conditions as above in the beginning of 

Luis Fontanills
Miami, Florida   USA

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