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Re: [aroid-l] Dracunculus questions

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Dracunculus questions
  • From: Paul Tyerman ptyerman@ozemail.com.au
  • Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2003 11:37:21 +1100


>I have some basic questions about planting the tubers - my apologies for my
>extreme ignorance, or if these questions cover ground that his been covred
>before on the list:

We all have to learn about new things SOMEWHERE.  That isn't extreme
ignorance!!  I love the Dracs myself (here they're just starting to colour
the buds at the moment..... the stench should start in the next week or so
<grin>) and can put up with the smell for the short time it persists as I
love the wonderful stems and foliage and the flower itself.

>1) One side of the tuber has structures on it that basically look like
>unpeeled garlic cloves - should they face upwards or downwards when I plant
>the tubers?

The rounded surface is the bottom and the "flat" surface with the various
points on it (these are the growing shoots) are to face upwards.  A mature
tuber more or less is shaped like the cap of a mushroom, only upside down.
The main growing point is usually in the centre where the mushroom stem
would have been, and then sometimes some other growing points are scattered
around where the gills would be.  I find even the tubers themselves are
rather fascinating!! (Easily amused aren't I? <grin>)

>2) Any suggestions on the type of potting mix I should use? I know these
>plants can get big, but I'm going to start them in containers.

I've had them flower both in the ground and in containers without any
problem.  If they're biggish tubers then they'll do better in bigger pots
as if they dry out they can go dormant a little earlier and potentially
stress and miss flowering.  An 8" or 10" at least for a big one would be
fine as long as you keep it watered while growing.  POts are also good
because you can move them away from doors and windows the day the flower
opens, which means you don't have to keep thinking that something died!!
In the ground, just make sure you don't put it too close to doors and
windows because you can't move it away when it opens.

I'd give it something with decent drainage and plenty of food.  So many of
the Aroids are gross feeders and Dracs seem to respond well to it.  They
can multiply freely but still remain flowering when there is plenty of food
and water while growing.  If they are stressed too much I find they tend to
split into smaller tubers that then have to recover to flowering size.
When dormant it doesn't matter much WHAT you do with them.  They can be
left in pots or stored dry or whatever.

Hopefully this is all of some help?  If anyone else has any corrections to
what I've said above then I'd be most interested to hear them.  These are
only based on my own experiences so I'd always be interested to hear if
others treat them differently.  We only get down to maybe -8'C in winter,
so the treatment when dormant in much colder climates may be different.

Good luck with growing them.  Personally I feel they are more than
worthwhile putting up with the smell for a short while, jsut to have that
wonderful stem, foliage and flowers!!


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Cyclamen, Crocus,
Cyrtanthus, Oxalis, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just about
anything else that doesn't move!!!!!

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