Amorphophallus titanum finally makes a move

noonamah, Australia

My large A. titanum went dormant last year just at the start of spring. It had been growing a full 12 months, from early spring right around to spring again. Then it went dormant and stayed that way all through summer. Now, after 9 months and just as we're about to go into winter, it's starting to show a sign of growth. I've been digging the tuber out every now and again to check on it. Today I noticed the beginnings of a new shoot. You can see it in the photo, but you need to look hard, LOL.

I've also got a dozen seedlngs that started off in early summer and are about 6 months old now. They'll probably go 12 months like the larger one. Being an equatorial plant they probably don't know what summer and winter are.

Thumbnail by tropicbreeze
Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

This is great! It's a pleasure to see that the titans have found a wider distribution. Always a good way to learn about/preserve a species that is notoriously difficult to observe in the wild.

noonamah, Australia

Their habitat isn't all that far from here, but I think there's not much chance I'll ever get to seeing one in the wild. Will just have to be satisfied with seeing them in "the wilds" of my garden. They are becoming a lot more available these days, although far from common. In fact, a lot more Amorphophallus species are becoming available these days. I've got 8 species already and hope to get a few more shortly.

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

That's so cool! I always have had a weak spot for anything Amorphophallus and other less common Aroids. It's just that here in Chicago it's a bit hard to grow them indoors. I'm focused on Gesneriads and really don't have the room for a larger Aroid. The Chicago Botanic Garden has a titan on display. I was awed to see the species in leaf and I certainly will be back when I get the news that it's getting ready to flower.

noonamah, Australia

So you're not in a hurry to get a titanum for your house? ;O)

I've got mine outside but I'm tending to put them into pots now. The tree roots are very invasive here, they suck all the nutrient and water out of the ground wherever there are watered plants. The Amorphs grow better/faster without the competition.

Hopefully in the next couple of months I'll be able to add these to my collection:
A. brevispathus
A. excentricus
A. palawanensis
A. tonkinensis

Earlier this year I did an article on my Amorphs, you might find it interesting:
http://cubits.org/Jungle/articles/view/791/

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info! I'll definitely check it out. Well, and as for the titans... They will remain subject of my dreams.

Tropic, I will be looking forward to viewing your newest "hopeful" collection of Amorphophallus, where ever you choose to post pictures of them;).

noonamah, Australia

Bsimpson, there's always smaller growing amorphs you could try.

Rachel, I'm off on holidays now and will be calling in to Cairns where there's a specialist nursery dealing a lot in aroids. They have these amorphs, at the moment. Hopefully they won't be sold out by the time I get there..

noonamah, Australia

Considering we're going through the coldest winter on record the A. titanum is very brave. It's about 2 weeks ahead of the last time it grew. And that was an average winter. But it's finally broken through the surface now. So the pattern has been to grow for a full 12 months and then a dormancy of 12 months. Don't know if anyone else has had the same experience. I read somewhere that the dormancy can go on for a few years. Glad mine didn't.

My seedlings were first planted in December and are still going well. So I'm now expecting them to go dormant this coming December.

Todays photo of the larger A. titanum emerging.

Thumbnail by tropicbreeze
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

tropic.. has your largest titanum bloomed ? how big is your largest corm??
i am truely grateful for your thoughts,insights on growing amorphs..and especially
titanum..
i plan to get a larger corm..19#..
?? source for me to get a titanum is tindora .. they have quality corms here in the states..
they dont sell corms in our winter (nove-march) so question.. would there be any thoughts on
me getting (provided they have big one to sell ) .. a titanum corm this spring over waiting for
fall??
my understanding on titanum is the corm needs to get around 30# or so before the corm has
enough reserves to bloom and survive..?? is that correct???
ive truely been bit by the amorph bug.. i only have konjac corms.. biggest 4 are in bloom now..
with eariest one now wilting..
hope to see some thoughts,ideas,insights on this..
much thanks..

noonamah, Australia

Tropicalnut, my largest titanum hasn't flowered yet. I keep thinking it must be close but maybe that's just wishful thinking. Last season it weighed a bit under 1 kilogram. I've heard of tubers flowering at a small size, but the inflorescence is also small, not like those 2 metre giants that are shown off by botanic gardens around the world.

In my view it's probably better to get the tuber at the start of the growing season. Just remember, if you start with a big tuber you'll get a big plant that'll be too difficult to move. Make sure it's somewhere you'll be able to protect it through winter. Of course, if you start smaller that won't be an issue. When it does go dormant give it a couple of weeks at least for all the nutrients to be withdrawn from the leaf and roots into the tuber.

I've only flowered galbra, bulbifer and paeoniifolius. The flowering is usually early in the season and gives the leaf time to replenish the tuber. The longer you can draw out the growing season the larger the tuber you'll get.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks tropic.. i guess same goes for konjac too.
my 1st flowering flower spike is withering now..so im going to let it go as long
as possible without molding..so moisture can go back into corm..
then will pot up..
?? potting mix. ..since from my readings ..seems most sucess comes from actual
potting up..not planting out in garden soil..so roots dont have to compete with neighbor
plants.. is that your expericece too??
and to my potting mix..im thinking to my mix..(my own made compost,leaf compost,coir,
perlite) adding lava bits (tiny chunks..1/4".) to the mix..for additional drainage..
and seems they may help hold nutrients in soil some..
thoughts??
i have the amorph bug..LOL :) so i plan to start adding some titanum corms to my
collection..
your recommendation of starting with smaller corm..sounds like good advice..
i see smaller corms .. 4-8# corms up for sale fairly often.. rather go in deep on a
big one .. plus..if i mess up..i wont be out all that $$$ with 1st try..
good advice..thanks..

noonamah, Australia

Tropicalnut, I've been advising planting in pots to avoid competing roots from other plants for years now:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1057398/

A good sandy soil with a lot of organic matter is my choice for potting mix. And then regular doses of a balanced fertiliser.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks again tropic!! i have my 3 biggest konjac potted up now.. :)
in fact the flower spikes have all stopped withering..?? im guessing they are taking in
some of the little moisture in the soil in the pots..??? and slowing down the withering..??
im thinking this isnt a bad thing..?? that the corm is now taking in moisture/nutrients?? which
would be good for it to rejuivinate???
i used a good draining soil mix tropicbreeze..
my own compost,leaf compost,coir,alot of perlite,little addition of bat guano, and 3+ inches of
crushed lava rock on bottom..
btw tropicbreeze..hows your titanum doing??
theres a couple on ebay i see for sale.. so tempted to buy..LOL
i thought bananas,EE,other tropicals were addictive..LOL
now i have the amorph bug ...:)

noonamah, Australia

My large titanum went for an early dormancy. I think it was the wind damage and also from a branch falling on it. It's still in the pot but I'll take it out later and see how it's looking. I'm going to set it up in my shade house next time where nothing can fall on it and the wind doesn't get through. That'll also help to keep humidity higher during the dry season.

The 3 small titanums are still going, after 15.5 months.Thought they'd go dormant at 12 months but they're still looking as healthy as ever.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i guess thats one thing specific about titanum.. no real pattern in its cycle..?? is that correct..
it doesnt flower every yr..
im guessing it does put out vegetative stalk every yr.. but it doesnt last for any predictable time..
and can and does go into dormancy for whatever it gets into its head to do??? :)
i got to try this one.. lol
havent seen any on ebay for a week now..
i would like to get a "larger" corm.. so i held off from ones listed lately...
love your pics tropic ..of native amorphs growing in wild..
much thanks from your pics..it looks like understory....how about the soil??
lots of leaf litter mixed into soil??

noonamah, Australia

I'm not counting this year because of the damage that occured to the plant. It should have been tied to supports, I knew it was vulnerable to wind. When it was blown over (plant, not the pot) it broke some of the outer wall of the stem allowing insects to get in. Then a branch came down and broke off a third of the petiole. The insects munched their way down inside the stem and finally the plant gave up. But the tuber is still there, plus a small one. Whatever happened, a small part of the tuber came away from the main part so now I have 2 out of it. It was a disasterous year for it but it looks like I may have 2 plants out of it now. Have to wait until they start growing again. I poured a lot of fungicide over it for protection and it seems to have worked so far.

Last weekend I put the lot into the shadehouse. Means less wind, higher humidity, and no falling branches. Only thing is, with the height of the pot, the plant won't have enough 'head room'. I might have to build an extension above the existing roof. If I just cut a hole in the roof I'm back to the problem of falling branches.

Flowering with these I understand isn't annual, even in habitat. In fact I've read that dormancy can be from 1 year to 3 years. Mine was 1 year last time, died off early September, then commenced growing again early September.

Those native paeoniifolius (in my photos) were on the banks of a river (the outer banks, a lot of the rivers have multiple banks for different levels of flood). The soil was a sandy silt. Because it's a slope the organic matter doesn't built up so much, but there was still some there. The tree canopy was no more than about 70%, so not dense. I have a lot of them under denser canopy at my place. In full sun they tend to be a lot shorter and appear a bit stressed. In some places along the river they go under flood water for a few days at a time. The leaves get layers of silt on them but subsequent rains wash them clean. It doesn't harm them at all, probably benefits them.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

much thanks tropic..
i got a nice 15# titanum..has fantastic roots..and 15" spike..so far.. i have it in a 22" pot
?? with titanum..and im guessing same for the "tropical" amorphs that flowering isnt "regular"
also dormancy can be extended..im guessing that a longer dormancy might happen with a larger corm..and after
flowering??
?? with titanum,maybe so with other "tropical" amorphs.. can their growing time,putting out vegetative growth
be geared to my growing season (may-oct).or do the corms just do what they want?
i was wondering if after a couple seasons i could get my titanums to "grow" in my growing season??
i really..really love these plants !!! :)
much thanks..

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

u all that grow various amorphs..??
how does the titanum compare as fast grower to others?? konjac,paeoniifolius..etc..
last yr my konjac vegetative spikes on biggest corms were very fast growers..
my titanum spike has doubled since i got it.. 2 weeks ago..currently 21" i originally had it in
spot that got ALOT of sun.. to much light ..so its in spot now that gets morning sun..then some sun
after 2pm..
i "think" im good for place to keep the titanums for couple yrs.. largest one.. i will need to get creative
in winter '04.. it could be flowering size..if growth goes as tindara orchids promotes.. possible doubling
every growth cycle..?? but i'll need greenhouse 14 ft tall in winter 2004 to accomodate ..
of course..i could just move and join tropic in auzzie :) you can keep them outside all yr ..??
cant u??

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

took few pics of biggest titanum..
its in a 15 gallon pot..i think.. its 20" across..
vegy spike measures 24 in above the soil today.. lately its
been growing 2 + inches a day..
small potted amorphs are amorph hewitii ..they are in
1 gal pots

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777 Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

this is a backed up pic of same titanum..i tried to
post 3 pics..maybe was to much loading??
anyways..

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

wow.im not very good at this..LOL this is a "close up:"
pic of the titanum.. i hope..LOL :)

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

havent had much more height to petiole..but its really fattening up..
today..its showing the leaf ..so probably will get the leaf emerging soon..
:) fun fun..

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

heres where its at today.. im guessing leaf will be out
of petiole next week.. yea!!
anyways heres some pics ..

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777 Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

and this is the monster as of the other day..
its 52 in above the soil..the petiole is just over 4 1/2 in diameter..
its grown so much ..
the sacks on the soil are corn bags..helps keep soil
85F days.. 74 F nites

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i think im growing a monster here..
the titanum is now 60 in tall above the soil now..
and seems to be a tiny plantlet/seedling come up from
the base of the petiole(stem)..
is that normal??
i "think" im going to be ok this season.. height on the plant..
lol.. i "think".. :)
if it doesnt get over 8 ft..im good..
next season.. mmm.. im going to have to put up a greenhouse..
i so want to see if i can get this to bloom.. how cool that would be!!!!!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

heres the monster as of today.. only dropped a couple inches with the
leaf spreading out..
love these amorphs.. got to put up a greenhouse..or even thought of
renting one.. mmmm
lol

Thumbnail by tropicalnut777 Thumbnail by tropicalnut777
Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Awesome plant! Good job!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks tommy.. i am so tempted to get a HUGE corm..but..i just dont know
if i can swing it with height of plant..till i get a greenhouse up..
earliest would be may next yr..
i know titanums can go into long dormancies.. 12+ months..
and as tropicbreeze says.. vegetative stage can be as long.. but
sounds like usually not as long as dormancy..
my 15 lb corm got just over 6 ft tall.. before the leaves spread out..
so.. how tall could a well grown 35 lb corm get???
i think ive got a system going well in the house.. heat,humidity,light..
its height.. LOL
what we do for these plants we love...
if i could put the vegetative growing plant out ..my may -sept.. then id be ok..
i dont think i can count on the corm cooperating with this.. ????
thouhgts??? thanks...

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

titanum is still going good..yea.. i take it outside on sunny warm days..
dont think many "warm" days going to be happening much more..sigh...
i have a sprout comming up now..?? is this "typical" of titanum??
should i let it just do its thing..i dont think i should dig down and try to find
where its comming from on the corm..i dont want to do any damage to the corm
what do u all think?? right now its just a sprout..maybe 2 inches tall..
reading from u all with titanums .. they can/do stay in vegetative stage for anything
from several months..to even a year..???
thanks all !!!!!!!!!!!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

sigh.. i have sad news to report..
my wonderful titanum has bit the dust..
ok..?? what the $$(%(#(%^ did i do???
the plant looked like it was going into dormancy.. but..
the vegetative growth just separated from the corm..
i had suspecions. so i unpotted it..and.. sigh.. the corm was rotted
almost completely..
??? that was an expensive experiment.. sigh..not giving up..but i think i
need to learn something here..
im wondering if i watered it to much.. i usually underwater all my plants..
im stingy..LOL.. so with the titanum..i kept the soil.. moist..not dripping..
also..i wonder if my soil was a problem too..
i used alot (30+%) of perlite.. but..i didnt use anything on the bottom of the
pot..for extra drainage..
??? what do ya all think.. i was so pissed at myself.. guess still am ..
again..not giving up..but.. i need to learn more before i put out $100s on another
big corm..
thanks.. HELP.. :)

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Hmmm, sorry to hear about that. You don't need anything on the bottom for drainage. Maybe use equal parts of perlite next time. I use a 50/50 mix. I'm not growing any Titaniums though, just Konjacs.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

ya..i am sort of still pissed at myself..
good advice tommy.. im not positive it was overwatering..but the soil
was very wet.. sigh..
how are your konjac doing so far??
mine are on shelves in basement.. last yr..a couple of them started to
shoot up early.. always interesting to see what a new grow season brings..

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Mine are fine, just sitting on shelves. If you can keep them cool they'll stay dormant a big longer. Near the floor is usually the coolest place. Mine are in a spare bedroom with temps in the low 60's but cooler near the floor.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

hope everyone has wonderful holidays !!!!
my konjac and overwintering species..are doing good..
ive started the search for BIG pots for next growing season..
one thing im thinking on with all my amorphs.. wondering if anyone
else has given it much thought.. the extent of heat the corms are
exposed to..???
ive read from one poster (lives in tucson,AZ) and the extreme summer
heat he gets ..
for me im thinking of using heat cables under pots at the start of the
growing season.. late april..thru may.. after that we heat up pretty good..
but just to give an early start of heat to the corms..??? thoughts??
with my titanum,and hewetti i was thinking of using soil heat cable with
thermostat actually in the pots..the big ones at least.. to keep the soil temp
85 F.. at the start of april into may.. ??? what do ya all think???
am i nuts?? other thing ive wondered about..with all my amorphs.. i wondered
if last yr..i exposed some of the pots to to much heat... i think i gave some of
my amorphs to much sun exposure..????
much thanks.. cant wait for spring... LOL

noonamah, Australia

Just thought I'd show the current set up of my titanums. Last year my large one had a run of bad luck. First the wind blew it over bending the petiole at right angles (ouch!). Later a branch fell out of a tree breaking off about a third of the leaf. Insects then got into the break in the petiole and ate out the centre. Then a fungus got in and started rotting out the centre. Small wonder that after only 3 months of growth the plant gave up.

I dug out the tuber, cleaned it up and soaked it in some fungicide. Put it back in the soil for the remainder of what should have been its growing season.

For protection I put the pot in the shade house and put the 2 small titanums in with it. One of the smaller ones went dormant after growing for 2 years. But it came out of dormancy after only a couple of months or less. The other smaller one has been growing continuously for 3 years, since it emerged from the seed.

When the larger plant started to come out of dormancy I realised it was going to be too tall for inside the shade house. So I set up a bamboo framework behind the shade house (northern side) where the plant would be sheltered from the predominant wind, south easterly in the dry season. The tree over the frame and shade house is a very large Poinciana, Delonix regia. It doesn't drop large branches so the bamboo frame will protect the titanums.

In the photo below, the titanum's pot is raised up to stop tree roots invading. The palm frond was to shield the young titanums from the sun, but now the Poinciana has leafed up and is giving good filtered shade, so the palm frond can go.

If the older plant goes according past practices it should keep growing throughout the summer and winter before going dormant again. Hopefully this time there won't be any set back and the tuber will gain a lot more size. Last season with all the accidents it actually shrunk. The smaller ones I need to re-pot, during dormancy of course, whenever that might happen.

Thumbnail by tropicbreeze
Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

great set up tropic..:) i hope you have better luck this yr..and it get
big enough so you get a bloom off the big one !!!
i appreciate your and others advice on growing these facinating plants..
my small hewetti are going good.. largest one is almost 1ft tall now..
if/when it goes dormant..i will unpot and put in bigger pot.. and see what
kind of corm it has growing..
almost like christmas..LOL

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Wish *I* had a place to grow Titanums. Alas, I have to live through those that do. It's alright, I love my Konjacs!

Happy New year to all!

Tom

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i admire your sucess with konjac tom... ive gleaned so much from
you ..:) much thanks.. i hope this next growing season..i care for my
konjac so the corms put on some nice size !!!
im keeping look out for BIG plant pots. .. so i can pot up my larger ones
in good sized pots..
i wasnt pleased with results of my amorphs i planted into soil..
happy new year to you tom !!!!!

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Same to you Trop and all on the forums!

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