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Re: I need information on Amorphophallus Paeonifolius -any experts out there?

  • Subject: Re: I need information on Amorphophallus Paeonifolius -any experts out there?
  • From: bonaventure@optonline.net
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 19:17:50 +0000 (GMT)

Hi all you fellow Aroidiots and in particular paeniifoliidiots - here is my experience with "Big Mama".
I purchased the tuber at an Indian grocery store from a bin labeled "Suran" one autumn years ago and she's been in her 3 x 3 foot (a little less than a meter, or metre for our British friends, I talk American) pickle tub 3 years now. Last year, like years before, I had to drag her up the front porch steps and through the doorway about this time of the year. Last year the canopy on the single growth was about 4 feet across and there was extensive frond breakage despite my best efforts of angling it through the door.
There followed a long and ugly die-down lasting several months due to total withholding of water as the leaf and stem yellowed and crumpled. At least last year I managed not to get stains on the armrest of the sofa. When the stem released it hold on the tuber with a gentle tug it went into the compost pile and the whole tub went down to the basement where it stayed warm and dry until mid May.
Upon moving some of the loose granular soil aside last winter I saw the top of a huge tuber about 18 inches across (~40cm). Excited about the prospect of a bloom the pot went outdoors against the wall facing southwest next to a just resuming growth Cortadenia. Unfortunately my neighbors on that side did not enjoy the stunning bloom and even more stunning fragrance, as reported, because the main tuber remained dormant. Four stems around the periphery of the tub grew about 3 feet high each so leaves now at 5 to 6 feet from ground level poke up through the arching grass. There is a wide eave to the roof so even now, especially without the supplemental watering of summer, the soil is dry.
It is interesting that this big central tuber remained dormant. It may be that its the cultivated variety and its blooming is genetically inhibited.
The leaves are just starting to yellow now and rather than facing the hazard of razor-like cuts from the Cortadenia, which I usually trim down in spring when the old foliage is dead, and also a hernia and indoor decor disapproval from my girlfriend who does not completely share my insanity, I plan risking leaving it in place. My live sphagnum carnivorous plants and terrestrial orchids bog troughs can go next to it and the whole thing, Cortadenia & all can be covered in blue tarp. Besides, the space next to the sofa (and possibly a lot of the veiw between the sofa and the TV) can be better put to use for my new ornamental banana plant collection!
Bonaventure in New Jersey
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