If you are looking for exotic aroids them Amorphophallus could be the bulbs for you. Ranging from fairly common and easy to grow varieties to the weird and wonderful this group of tropical to sub tropical plants are best known for the giant A. titanium, however species such as Amorphophallus paeoniifolius or ‘Elephant Yam’ are also well worth looking for.
These strange but attractive bulbs are not widely grown in the garden, but Amorphophallus bulbs do make a very interesting specimen plant. In warmer zones you can grow these plants outdoors, however in any area less than sub tropical they really need to be grown in containers so that they can be given protection from any cold weather.
On of the common characteristic of Amorphophallus varieties is the smell of inflorescence as it matures, reminiscent of rotting meat.
This smell attract the pollinators, so it does have a purpose. It is the shape of the spadix that gives the species their name, literally meaning ‘shapeless penis’.
They surrounding spathe is usually blotched, the flowers of all species look fascinating, in different ways.
- A warm sheltered position is best.
- All like a humus rich soil and in most areas are best grown in pots and containers so that they can be given protection from frost and cold.
- If you live in a warmer climate, a position in part shade in the garden is suitable.
- A fairly dry dormancy is important so try not to water more than once every three weeks over winter and certainly allow to dry out between watering during this period.
- Once the bulb begins to shoot in spring a good watering with a liquid seaweed fertiliser and a general purpose slow release fertiliser seems to be sufficient.
- Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum.
- Amorphophallus bulbifer
- Amorphophallus paeoniifolius or ‘Elephant Yam’
- Amorphophallus rivieri ‘konjac’ (see picture at right) are the most popular and easy grown species.
Amorphophallus rivieri ‘Konjac’ and Amorphophallus bulbifer are perhaps two of the more widely grown of the ‘Voodoo Lilies’. Not as large as some such as A.titanium, and they are also not a smelly.
Propagation is from seed, or from offsets.
Where to buy
Tropical plant nursery specializing in a wide variety of rare and unusual plants. Shipping is available to retail and wholesale customers nationwide. Our web site also contains lots of useful information on a variety of tropical plants (over 500 varieties) and a gardening guide. Includes: Amophophallus variabilis, Amophophallus bulbifer or Voodoo Lily, Amophophallus konjac or Devil’s Tongue and others.