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  Post-mortem on Amorphophallus
From: ken at spatulacity.com on 2003.08.19 at 19:56:51(10516)
Wilbert,

Thanks for the good news about my happy Amorphophallus bulbifers! It's
especially gratifying since I somehow managed to kill two A. paeoniifolius
and one A. gigas, planted in the identical soil and growing right next to
each other. I grow them all in pots with fresh soil.

I feel bad about this for two reasons: they were expensive (especially the
gigas) and I hate to kill plants. Perhaps you can give me some hints.

I live in Connecticut, USA (New England). This was a very chilly and VERY
wet spring. I received what seemed to be extremely healthy plants, the
leaves on all three were sprouting but not yet unfurled.

I introduced them to the sun gradually. They weren't sunburned. They seemed
to be growing nicely, then the two paeoniifolius started looking very
unhappy. I had trasnplanted them into pure, *well* composted leaves, just
about 100% humus - gorgeous, dark dirt (without disturbing the existing
soil they were planted in). All my konjacs and the bulbifers are planted in
the same stuff and they love it (as you observed). The dirt is extremely
loose and holds moisture without being at all soggy. It seems quite
wonderful for most amorphophallus, as least as you describe what many of
them like to grow in. (One of the nearby towns produces this compost - it
takes about 18 months from raw materials to compost.)

As the paeoniifolius leaves started to die they both started to produce a
second leaf, so I wasn't too worried, but they never made it very far. One
seems to have rotted off, the other wasn't so easy to tell. I haven't
exhumed the tubers yet. The bulbifer looked pretty healthy but then died
back fairly suddenly - no second leaf. I haven't exhumed that one yet,
either (hoping for a second leaf, but I think it's beyond hope).

They did get a lot of rain and it was rather cool 60 to 70 degrees, mostly.
But it had warmed up to normal summer temperatures before they died. I
didn't think lots of water would affect an amorphophallus in active growth.

Thanks for your help, and I hope to see you at the Saturday dinner in Miami
in September! I'm trying to make arrangements to attend the conference in
the next couple of days.

-Ken Mosher

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