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[aroid-l] Amorphophallus FAQ part 3

  • Subject: [aroid-l] Amorphophallus FAQ part 3
  • From: "Randy Story" story@caltech.edu
  • Date: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 01:03:05 -0700


Great news--Scott Hyndman tells me that the FAQ will go on the IAS website
(Thanks Scott!).

Here are the remaining questions. As a novice grower, and since the
questions will go on the IAS website I really, really need input on this
next set.  Send feedback either to me personally or to the list; I will try
to incorporate comments the best I can.  This may be obvious, but I guess I
should add that input sent to me I consider personal and I will only mention
the name of the sender if he or she requests it.  I may decide to
acknowledge people who helped when I've put something together (presumably
the questions will continue to evolve), but again only after checking with
them.  Minor points and corrections, by all means send them to me.

I've decided that the appropriate way to deal with revisions is to repost
the revised question/answer as needed.  Again, I'm always receptive to new
questions and ideas. I'm thinking of adding a question something along the
lines of "can I grow A. titanum?".  I would imagine that a lot of people
become interested in these plants after seeing A. titanum in bloom or
hearing about it in the news, etc.  I know that I did!

As I've mentioned before, I do not anticipate these as real answers, merely
starting points for discussion.  My inexperience as a novice grower really
limits how well I can answer the following questions.

Thanks in advance for any help,


Final set of questions, comment in brackets [   ]:

Q.  What sorts of soil/fertilizer/watering/sunlight should I give these
A.  For most commonly available species, regular potting soil is usually
adequate, although additives to "lighten" it up such as perlite are often
beneficial.  Plants appreciate regular watering and balanced fertilizer
[???] while in growth, tapered off while entering dormancy and generally
withheld while dormant.  Part shade or dappled sunlight usually suffice.
Many of the less commonly available species require special care--a detailed
discussion is found in the Hetterscheid and Ittenbach  cultivation chapter
and their detailed descriptions of individual species in the Aroideana
Amorphophallus issue.

Q. When should I plant my tubers, and when will they start to grow?
A. Tubers are usually planted in Spring, after all danger of frost has past.
If active root growth has started, do not delay.  They may not send up a
leaf until as late as mid July.

Q. Should I grow them in pots or in the ground?
A. Growth in pots is preferable in many cases as it allows control over
temperature and watering.  Dormant tubers in cold, wet soil may be prone to

Q. My tuber didn't grow, now what?
A. If it is mid July or earlier, just be patient (see above).  After that
point you may wish to check that the tuber has not rotted.  Unrotted tubers
without signs of growth can be treated as for dormant tubers (less or no
water or lift the bulb) and watched for signs of growth.  After blooming,
many species will be delayed and some, such as A. bulbifer, may even skip a

Q. Will my plants set seed?
A.  Most species require another plant which is not the same clone for
pollination.  To do this, blooming must be perfectly timed,  otherwise
manual intervention is required.  Some species, A. bulbifer for example,
produce seed without fertilization.  See the Hetterscheid and Ittenbach
cultivation chapter for more information.

Q. How do I know when the seeds are ripe?
A  [???]  Seeds are ripe when they have reached their mature color; see the
Aroideana description of individual species.

Q. How do I sow the seeds?
A. First of all, do not let the seed dry out.  Remove the skin of the fruit
and the pulp.  For some species germination may be aided by soaking the
fruit in water overnight prior to this step.  A mix of peat with perlite or
sand may be used.  Germination generally takes one or more weeks.

Q. When will my plant go dormant and what should I do?
A.  The commonly cultivated species generally enter dormancy in September or
October.  In pots, either lift the tuber or store the pot dry and in a
frost-free area.  Depending on the species watch for offsets, which  may be
small or be left in the soil.   Some of the less commonly available species
and/or their offsets should not be stored completely dry.  See the the
cultivation chapter and the individual species descriptions of the Aroideana
Amorphophallus issue for details.

Q. How do I harvest and store my tuber's offsets?
A. Some offsets easily separate or fall off the mother tuber, others may be
detached.  Many tubers will resorb offsets that are not removed.  Offsets
are generally stored as for the mother tuber, with the exception of thin
rhizomatous offsets, which should be left in the pot.   A special case is
species that produce bulbils on or in the leaves, such as A. bulbifer.
These can be removed from the wilted leaf and later planted "upside down"
(with the rounded side down).

Q. What do I do with my extra tubers and offsets?
A.  On the trading post: http://www.aroid.org/trading/index.html you can
either give them away or trade them for something else. On the other hand,
certain species are edible when properly prepared--follow the links at the
IAS website (http://www.aroid.org).

[I'd like to add a section about pests and rot at some point]

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