Cultivation of Amorphophallus titanum

Posted on May 22nd, 2007 by

We’ve had a number of inquiries, both via the blog and via e-mail, as to techniques used for cultivation of Perry and his/her siblings, so I’ll outline what we’ve done here (other institutions have variations on the theme). Cultivation is straightforward – space for the plant(s) is the main consideration.

I received A. titanum and A. gigas seeds from James Symon packed in damp peat, and planted them right away in a mixture of peat, vermiculite, and Perlite. As I recall, they germinated rapidly – within a few days to a week.

Amorphophallus plants go through alternating phases of dormancy and photosynthesis (an umbrella-shaped leaf is present for the active phase). We’ve grown our plants in ordinary commercial potting soil to which Perlite has been added to keep the mix from compacting (compact, continually saturated potting mix can lead to rot of the corm). Slow-release fertilizer (we use Osmocote) was also added. The plants are kept well-watered when in the leaf phase, and watering is cut back (but not stopped) for the dormant phase. When dormancy is setting in, the petiole of the leaf will begin to shrivel, and the leaf will begin to yellow. The petiole eventually becomes flaccid and the leaf falls over (one has to make plans for this in the case of large specimens – the crash can be destructive to neighboring plants). The dying leaf will eventually detach from the corm. We re-pot during the dormant phase.

As Perry has aged, her/his cycle times have increased. I seem to recall perhaps three dormancy/leaf cycles per year in the early years; Perry’s most recent leaf lasted for over a year, and dormancy lasted for nearly a year (but with actively growing roots – that was determined by judicious digging into the potting mix).

We’ve observed so far that the plants tend to grow to fill and greatly stress whatever pot into which they are planted – see this earlier blog post for an idea of the magnitude of the stresses on the pot for Perry that preceded the present one: click here

Here are some links for Perry:

three webcams (distant, top-down, and close) and Titan Arum web page

 


One Comment

  1. […] In summary, the larger plant had divided its corm into two, one a 25-pounder, the other weighing in at 13 pounds. Such spontaneous division of corms is something that has been observed a number of times since Amorphophallus titanum was introduced into more widespread cultivation through James Symon’s collection of seeds. For an earlier blog entry that I wrote on cultivation of Amorphophallus titanum (also applicable to other giant aroids), click here. […]