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Newsletter Posts

Amorphophallus Redux

Martha Marsh

Did you save your amorphophallus bulb?  (Or is it a corm**…?)  Is it beginning to do its thing? It may or may not be doing so — they are very independent minded cusses.  But here is what you can do now:

If you did not do so last fall,  knock it out of its pot and wash it off.

Repot it — do you notice how it has grown?  In a larger pot (if necessary —  it should have at least 2” space on all sides),  do just what you did the first time.  Put some stones or broken pot shards in the bottom of the pot and then fill about 1/2 of the pot with soil. Place the bulb in the middle of the pot where the top of the bulb will be about 1” beneath the surface of the soil,  and fill the pot up with soil.  If the sprout is tall enough, it is OK to have it sticking up over the soil.  Any potting soil will do,  but one with slow release fertilizer is best.

Water it well and put it outside in the garden,  but for now,  still in a sheltered spot.  It can move to any location which is not TOO hot and sunny later in the season.

Wait.

When it sprouts, watch and wait.  If you can tell that it is going to produce a flower stalk,  you can either cut it off at the top of the bulb, or let it go to bloom and astound your friends.  (The bulb will live, no matter which way you choose.)  If you are going to cut it, it is best to do it as soon as you can tell which it is.

Wait.

A leaf sprout will come in its own time.  If you did not cut off a flower stalk, you will soon have a fine leaf.  If you used soil with fertilizer you do not need to do more.  If not, give it some at proper intervals over the summer. 

I like to set my pot out amongst perennials which are in the ground.  It adds a wonderful sculptural element in the garden.

To be perfectly honest,  In the past I have just set out last year’s pot with no repotting, etc., and it has done perfectly well.  If you repeat that I will have to kill you.

Questions?  Shoot me an email:  marthaslgc@gmail.com.

As the summer goes on, more will be revealed, and more information will follow in the fall about how to handle this bulb. (Or is it a corm**…?)

**The Horticulture Committee will soon hold a workshop led by Cynthia Druckenbrod, teaching us how to distinguish between bulbs,  corms,  tubers, rhizomes,  etc.