The deciduous plant Amorphophallus (Amorphophallus) belongs to the Araceae family. It is native to Indochina. The name of this genus consists of Greek words, so "Amorpho" means "shapeless" and "Phallus" - "offspring, shoot". The plant was so named because of the appearance of the inflorescence-cob.
This plant is an ephemeroid (short-lived).
Thus, it has a dormant period of more than half a year. It grows a tuber in the ground, which is similar in size to a grapefruit, and weighs about 5 kilograms. A green, fairly thick stem, similar in appearance to a palm trunk, grows from just such a tuber. Only one complicated half-meter long leaf plate grows on the trunk. It is colored greenish-brown and has whitish dots on its surface.
The leaf is three-septate and twice pinnately dissected. There is a hollow petiole.
The life span of such a leaf plate is only a few months. Thus, it usually grows in the last weeks of March, and in mid-October becomes yellow and dies off. Each succeeding year the leaf grows a little taller and more dissected.
Flower development occurs after the end of the dormancy period and before a new leaf grows. The plant blooms for about half a month, but it will stop even before new roots grow. During the flowering period, the size of the tuber becomes much smaller. And all because the growth and development of the flower consumes a large amount of nutrients, which are taken precisely from the tuber. In this regard, after the plant blossoms, it will again have a short resting period (about 3-4 weeks).
Once it is over, the leaf lamina will begin to grow. It can happen that the dormant period after flowering lasts for almost a year (until the next spring). If the flower is pollinated, then after flowering, the inflorescence will begin to grow, consisting of fleshy berries, which contain seeds. If the fruit develops, the mother plant will die. This plant is also called the "corpse flower".
This is because it has a unique fragrance, which is very similar to the smell of decomposed corpses of mice or rotten fish. But such a fragrance from it does not emanate too long, only 1 or 2 days. This is how the plant signals to pollinating insects that the flower has opened. Male flowers usually open a little later than female flowers, so it is rarely self-pollinated. For pollination, you need at least 2 plants to start blooming at the same time.
Home care for amorphophallus
Needs bright light, but it should be diffused.
In warm seasons, normal room temperature suits it. During the dormant period it needs a cool environment (10 to 13 degrees).
Needs high humidity. Need to systematically moisten the plant from a sprayer.
How to water
Watering should be abundant during the period of vigorous growth. However, do not allow water to get on the tuber as you water. When the leaves die off, watering should be reduced.
When the fresh shoots begin to grow, it is necessary to feed twice a month, using mineral as well as organic fertilizers (alternating). It should also be remembered that such a plant simply needs a large amount of phosphorus.
In order for the tuber to gain mass in a relatively short time, systematic feeding will be required, and the fertilizer should consist of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, which should be taken in a ratio of 3:1:2 or even 4:1:1:1. If the tuber is quite large, it is recommended to add humus (1 part) to the soil you buy for aroids. Before applying fertilizer to the soil, experts advise that it be well watered.
This plant simply needs a resting period. In preparation for overwintering, all of its leaves die off.
At this time, the pot with the flower is recommended to be moved to a dark and quite cool place. Systematic moistening is required. In the last days of March it is necessary to transplant the tubers, using new pots of a larger size than the previous ones. If rot has appeared on the tuber, it should be removed from the soil. Take a very sharp knife and carefully cut out the affected part.
Then treat the cut with crushed charcoal and leave the tuber outdoors for 1 day to dry out. Then the amorphophallus can be planted in a fresh soil mixture. A large number of flower growers advise not to leave the tubers in the substrate for storage. After the leaves are completely dead, you need to carefully remove the tubers from the container, remove the substrate from them and carefully inspect them. Then you need to separate the daughter tubers.
If there are dead roots and rotten areas, they should be cut out with a very sharp knife. The cut places are treated with a strong solution of manganese potassium. The tubers should then be stored in a dark, dry and warm place.
Potting is done after the dormancy period is over. To prepare the earth mixture, combine mulch, peat, sod and leaf earth and sand, which should be taken in equal proportions.
Propagation can be done by seeds, baby plants, as well as by dividing the tuber.
The most common propagation is by baby plants. The dormancy period begins after the foliage of this plant fades. It is at this time that the tubers should be taken out of the container, remove all the substrate from them and separate the daughter tubers. For storage they are placed in a fairly dark, necessarily dry and warm (10 to 15 degrees) place (for the whole winter).
Planting is done in March or April.
It is also possible to divide the tuber, but only those with germinated buds are suitable for this procedure. Remember that each partition must have at least 1 such bud. You should cut very carefully, trying not to touch the buds. Next, you need to treat the cuts, and crushed charcoal is used for this purpose.
Leave the dividers in the open air to dry for 24 hours. After that, perform planting in the soil mixture. Water very carefully at first.
Seed propagation is very rarely used. Such Amorphophallus does not bloom until several years later.
Pests and diseases
This plant is usually resistant to pests, but aphids or spider mites can settle on a young leaf. If it is watered too much it can rot on the tubers.
If a leaf starts to shrivel up, it means either that the plant lacks light or that the watering is very poor. If, on the other hand, the color of the leaf increases in contrast, it is a sign of lack of light.
Compartment plants - Amorphophallus
The tuber is shaped like a flattened ball, with its diameter being 20 centimeters.
The leaf petiole reaches 80 centimeters in length and is dark olive colored, with light as well as dark spots on its surface. The peristhopically dissected leaflets are colored a deep green. The flower stalks vary in length from 50 to 70 centimeters. The cob has a veil that may reach 25 to 30 centimeters in length. The cob reaches half a meter in length, and during flowering it can get up to 40 degrees.
Its color is reddish purple or burgundy. It has a very unpleasant, pungent odor. This plant, when grown at home, usually flowers only and produces no fruit.
The tuber is hemispherical in shape and reaches 7 to 8 centimeters in diameter. There is 1 petiolate leaf, which reaches 100 centimeters in length.
It has a dark olive color and on its surface there are spots of lighter color. The leaf plate is divided into segments, is three-parted and has a bulb at its base. As a rule, the length of the flower stalk does not exceed 30 centimeters. And the length of the covering of the cob is 10-12 centimeters. It has a dirty green color and pinkish spots on the surface.
The veil is slightly longer than the cob. When grown indoors, the plant usually produces no fruit, but only flowers.
Amorphophallus rivieri (Amorphophallus rivieri)
The tuber can vary in diameter from 7 to 25 centimeters. The petiolate leaf plate reaches 40 to 80 centimeters in length. It has a pattern of brown and white spots on its surface.
Such a triply dissected leaf can reach 100 centimeters in diameter. The segments into which the leaf is divided are pinnatisectable. The segments belonging to the second order are elliptically long and pointed in the upper part. There are convex veins of green color. The flower stalk can reach a height of 100 centimeters.
The coverlet is 30 centimeters long. The veil is shiny egg-shaped along the edge, with a light green color on its front surface. The veil is twice as short as the cob. As a rule, under room conditions, such a plant only blooms and no fruit is produced.