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  Amorphophallus titanum - Cultivation/Propagation
From: "Chad E. Husby" <chusby at vt.edu> on 1998.09.15 at 19:52:17(2607)
Dear Aroid Listmembers,

I am new to this list and look forward to corresponding with fellow
Aroid enthusiasts.

I am absolutely delighted to report that I have just (as of
yesterday) adopted a beautiful 6+ foot tall Amorphophallus titanum! The
botany department greenhouse here at Virginia Tech (where I am horticulture
graduate student) had two rather large A. titanums and they gave one away
for lack of sufficient space. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient!

Until now, the only Aroid species that I have grown is
Amorphophallus konjac. I grew my plants from tubers a friend sent me last
fall. My other plant growing experience has been with fern allies
(Equisetum, Selaginella, and others), and various housplants. Hence, I am
largely a neophyte with Amorphophallus.

For the time being, I have placed my A. titanum in the greenhouse
where I am doing my research. It is a glass greenhouse which has
evaporative coolers along one wall. I placed the A. titanum on the side
nearest the coolers. We are having a heatwave right now, but the air
temperature does not seem to go above about 82F during the day or below
64F at night. However, the greenhouse receives a lot of direct sunlight
and, although the greenhouse framework gives some dappled shade, I am
concerned that the light may be too much for it. I have read in "The
Cultivation of Amorphophallus" on the Aroid society webpage states that
Amorphophallus prever protection from direct sunlight. My plant looks fine
now, but it has only been in this greenhouse for a day. I have considered
suspending a white sheet above it to reduce the sunlight and I would
welcome any other ideas or suggestions from the list. The plant was
originally growing iwas fiberglass and hence received only diffuse light.

I would like to know whether A. titanum can be successfully grown
as a houseplant because I do not know whether I will have access to a
greenhouse after I graduate next spring. I would also like to know what
sort of light and humidity levels it needs and what sort of growing media
work best? It is presently growing in a pot which looks too small. I
would like to move it into a larger one. Furthermore, I would be very
interested to learn how A. titanum can be propagated vegetatively. Does it
form offset tubers like A. konjac?

I will be very grateful for any help that listmembers can give me.

Sincerely Yours,

Chad Husby

+More
From: Craig Smith <craigsmith at sprintmail.com> on 1998.09.15 at 22:23:57(2608)
Chad,
You are one lucky fellow. I've been trying to find a Titanum for several
years with no luck.
I have my A. Konjac in the direct sun in a very large pot and there is no
problem if I water it adequately. I get good growth and 'flowers' every
year on tubers over 1Kg. 5 last year. Someone on the list said that his
A. Titanum made offshot tubers when it was in a relatively small pot
(like yours). 'Flowers' can take a while. On my Konjac, I got a 7 1/2
foot 'flower' after about 5 years from a 13 pound tuber. That's the
biggest one I've gotten. When the leaf dies back you might look in the
soil like in the Konjac and see if any have formed. [If they have, I'd
be glad to trade you a 'flowering size' Konjac for a Titanum tuber.] In
any case, I'd just make sure you water and feed it enough and it should
be happy. I used to have a small greenhouse but now I have to dig it out
of the large pot every year. But that gives me a chance to collect the
babies. I give them to friends and local botanical groups to sell - I
put them in plastic bags with a list of directions.
Regards,
Craig Smith in upstate New York.

From: Craig Smith <craigsmith at sprintmail.com> on 1998.09.18 at 08:40:04(2611)
Chad,
Did you get any replies to your inquiry???? BTW, I pot up my A. Konjacs
in a mix of compost (a mix of sawdust with the remains of the brewing
process which is sold here as "All Grow") and some perlite and some
potting soil. They grow just fine. It holds the moisture without being
soggy and is light enough for good air flow.
Craig

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