Voodoo Lily

Looking for something different to grow? Try a voodoo lily.

Amorphophallus, or the voodoo lily is native to Asia. Plants in this genus are treated as tender perennials in this part of the Midwest, but in slightly warmer climates (zone 6 to 10) voodoo lilies are perennials. The largest flower in the world, Amorphophallus titanium, comes from this unique group of aroids. I recommend trying another voodoo lily, Amorphophallus konjac. Planting should be done in late spring after ground temperatures have reached at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the structure so that the top is five to seven inches below the soil surface. During the growing season, one giant divided leaf will emerge atop a stalk up to six feet tall. After the leaf withers or a frost hits, dig the corm-like structure removing any loose soil. The unique aspect of A. konjac is that you can store the corm-like structure on a shelf. Around the end of January, a flower stalk will begin to elongate from the same location as the leaf stalk originated. For a bloom to occur, the corm-like structure should be the size of a softball or larger. Beware, the bloom will have a strong odor. The pungent aroma is used to attract flies to aid in pollination. If left on, the flower will eventually start to wither. Remove the old bloom, but let the stalk dry before removing. The corm-like structure will then rest before producing a leaf bud.

This article originally appeared in the May 3, 2002 issue, p. 51.

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