Friday, August 9, 2013

Unfinished business: Amorphophallus konjac

Back in February, I asked the hive mind whether my bulb was coming out of dormancy; I haven't had it that long (since April 2012), and am still getting used to what it does, and when. The response from readers was somewhere between "not necessarily" and "probably not."

I went ahead and potted it up anyway, about six weeks after that, but it took forever to do anything visible. I started to get worried that it had rotted by late May / early June, just because it seemed like it had had more than enough time to grow, if it intended to, and I still wasn't seeing anything. Out of laziness and hope, I left it alone, and finally, on 11 June, I saw the tip of a leaf poking out of the soil. After which point things progressed more or less normally.

11 June 2013.

16 June 2013.

22 June 2013. This is possibly my favorite stage of development for this plant. Like somebody stuck a squid headfirst into the soil.

25 June 2013.

27 June 2013.

13 July 2013.

I'd thought, when this all started to happen, that it had started significantly later than in 2012, but when I checked the old posts here, it was basically the exact same date: the "squid" Amorphophallus picture in this post is dated 19 June 2012, as opposed to 22 June 2013. With any luck, I'll be able to remember this next year, and not spend so much time worrying about it.

Speaking of Amorphophallus -- did everybody else see Zach's recent posts about propagating A. atroviridis from leaflet cuttings? If not, you probably should: the first is here, and the second is here.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work on A. konjac, so I won't be able to try it for myself. (Unless I find some way to acquire another species of Amorphophallus, which I'm looking into. . . .)


Ginny Burton said...

Wow! That really grew fast once it got started. Very impressive.

Paul said...

See? I told you it was an easy plant! ;)

cconz said...

Say, this is cathie, on the east side of town, do you need some plastic pots? i have a bunch of them headed to the landfill.

mr_subjunctive said...


Probably not *need*, but I'd probably take them. I'll call you in a little bit.

Wade said...

My understanding from both reading and growing three species of Amorphophallus is that they go in and out of dormancy whenever they damn well please. I always unpot them when they go dormant and store them dry until new growth starts. I pot them up just as the roots start showing, but before they really get going at all. That way I'm sure never to rot it out during the dormant period.

Tom said...

I did pretty much the exact same thing "OMG WHY IS THIS THING TAKING SO LONG TO COME OUT OF DORMANCY!!! ::checks old blog posts::'s the same time it always does...". I just wish the darn thing would hurry up and get big though...I'm so *over* having it be 1' tall.

Anonymous said...

Hello Folks,

Ive been growing Amorphophallus Konjac for years up in Burnaby, BC, Canada. This is what I learned (hard) along the way:

1. The tubers require NO water when they are not growing. Best to plant them in plastic pots, water when there is growth, and no water when there is nothing above the soil.

2. When the plant is in active growth, fertilize with 15-30-15 ever other watering. Mine started flowering, and do so every year now.

3. More sun is best (provided they don't dry out); too much shade = no flower.

4. They have restrictive roots so they will "secure" themselves to whatever size of pot you plant it in. This is what enables such a large leaf to not break off or tip over easily. For larger tubers, go larger (5 gal is good).

5. When the leaf dies, I do 2 more waterings, then I stop totally. Let the medium dry out completely and store in the shed.

I have been VERY impressed with these plants as their leaves are truly unique. They look fabulous placed out in the garden where their plastic pots can be hidden.