My Amorph current state of affairs - winter

noonamah, Australia

Just thought I'd post an update on what's happening (and not happening) with my Amorphs seeing we're approaching mid winter soon.

All the konjacs and bulbifers went dormant some time back and are all safely stored in a polystyrene box.

The larger galbras also went dormant some time ago and are in storage. But the smaller ones held on for a long time. In fact, the last one is just now going into dormancy. Should be ready to dig up in a couple of weeks time.

The symonianus went a while back and I have an extra couple of bulblets they produced as well.

Variabilis only went dormant recently but was a bit of a disappointment as far as tuber size goes. It's supposed to be one of the easiest.

Albispathus is still going strong, although I can see some signs of aging on it. In 3 to 4 weeks it should be in storage as well.

The prainii went dormant in early summer and now has a shoot. I've planted it out but it hasn't broken the surface yet but is close. It's a winter grower.

Paeoniifolius is a mixed bag. While most of the plants went dormant some time back, quite a lot held back until quite recently. One is still going strong as though it was only the beginning of the season. Will be interesting to see what it does when the weather starts to warm up towards the end of winter, if it's still growing then.

Titanum is also a mixed bag. The large plant that had all the mishaps last year and went dormant early still isn't showing any signs of awakening. One of the seedlings, after 18 months of growing, finally went dormant. The other seedling developed 2 leaves. When it started to put on a 3rd the first leaf withered. So it now has 2 perfect leaves with no signs of calling it quits.

The first photo (left) is the galbra on its last legs. Second is the albispathus. Third is the paeoniifolius. And fourth is the titanum. The paler green leaf on the titanum is the newest.

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Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

tropic.. wow.. and u give me grief of my future forest of amorphs.. LOL :)
i only have a few sp. of amorphs and relatives..
down under where youre at im sure amorphs do better than they do here..especially
since i dont have a greenhouse.. yet.. :)
im kicking idea around of putting up a medium size greenhouse..temperate temps..
warm enough for winter to hold over potted up EE,keep titanum happy..
great pics.. hope your winter goes well..
?? what do u use as your potting mix?? i dont remember if i asked you before???
do you add any minerals/fertilizer to the potting mix??
all the best to ya..

Miami, FL(Zone 10a)

My little Titanum looks a lot like yours, only a little younger. The provenance of my seeds is Missouri, USA (seed set at the Missouri Botanical Garden) so the progress of my plants should be interesting. If provenance is a significant factor, I'll be watching to see how the growth cycle of my plants goes over time.

noonamah, Australia

Now Tropicalnut, I'm only looking out for your interests. Don't want to see you come to a horrible untimely end ;O)

Yes, the longer growing season helps. The better the feed they get and the longer they have to grow the larger the tuber you get. For potting mix I use sandy soil with a lot of organic matter in it plus some slow release fertiliser. During growth I use liquid fish/seaweed fertiliser with occasional doses of a balanced inorganic fertiliser.

When I lift the tubers out of those red tubs (mango crates) I mix a lot of organic matter in with the soil and leave it to break down over winter. When the growing season starts it's all ready for the tubers.

LariAnn, that seedling is about 18 months old now. The seed came from Tindara Orchids who say they produce their own. They're in the USA. My large one is a tuber I bought from Cairns, in Queensland. Last season the wind broke the petiole when it was pretty much full height. It wasn't a break right through but the bend was a right angled one. I straightened it up and tied it but then a branch came down on it and severed a third of the leaflets. Then insects got into the petiole break and started eating down through the centre. Eventually the poor plant gave up and went into early dormancy. I put a lot of fungicide on it and the tuber was okay. Except a sizeable 'chip' had come off. It was developing like a new tuber. So now they're in the shade house with no falling branches and very little wind. And the bonus is higher humidity. So just waiting for it (and the 'chip' hopefully) to break dormancy.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks for having my back tropic!! :) what im thinking of doing is train my
amorphs to act like the outerspace plant in "little shop of horrors" so if the
neighbours do get upset with me.. i'll just invite themover.. have them get close
to the flowering amorphs..and pop.. the amorph will swallow them up..
my amorphs seem to like my potting mix.. im always open to learning from others..
their sucesses..what works..what doesnt.. :)
no buying any corms till fall.. tindara orchids seems to have some good corms.. big ones too..
pricey..on the titanum..
im concentrating on my konjac berries now.. one flower spike is really getting bright orange now..
like my other aroid and banana ever growing collection.. im hooked on amorphs now too.. so
i want to add other species..and related family plants..
its all good...

noonamah, Australia

Sounds like a good way to rapidly increase tuber size, LOL.

I think a lot of different Amorphs would like different mixes. There's somewhere around 200 species. With the titanums, some of my research turned up that they grow over limestone in deep leaf litter. So I've put lumps of limestone in the bottom of the pot (helps drainage) and high organic mix over that. The paeoniifolius seem to like a heavier mix and the drainage isn't that critical. The variabilis developed a bit of rot so I guess it didn't like the heavier stuff and maybe doesn't need as much water. Prainii does well in the cold (winter) with a wet heavier mix. Symonianus possibly would do better in a lighter mix than I've been giving it. Bulbifer didn't seem to mind the heavier mix.

Still haven't worked out where the Amorph garden is going to be. Need shade but also don't want too many tree roots invading. They're a bit of a brittle plant so it'll have to be where the wallabies don't come bounding through knocking everything down. And of course the most important aspect, where the prevailing winds will be kind to me.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

so jealous tropic that you can grow amorphs right in the ground..
i made a raised bed with 3 gal water jugs as the walls ..seems to hold temperatures well for warmer
soil at nite..
one of my konjac was pushing itself out of the soil..LOL.. so i burmed more shredded leaves/compost/coir
on top of it.. the thing just keeps sending the vegy spike higher and higher..but not pushing the corm up anymore
i dont have a paeoniifolius ..yet.. there are some big ones on ebay..i should buy a couple.. seems like its getting
late in the season though??? do u all think so?? im in utah.. so everything has to come out early oct.
there are some interesting species on ebay ..or was the other day.. some are comming out of russia.. postage is a killer..
great fun though..isnt it !!!! :)
good luck to ya tropic on your amorph garden!!!

Miami, FL(Zone 10a)

I've got a bunch of paeonifolius seedlings - how many do you want? I have the giant paenonifolius but that one pups so rarely that I hardly ever have one available. Also, a note about amorph corms - every year a new corm is formed. The old corm is used up and the new corm forms on top of it, except that the new corm forms downward. Therefore, every year, if the corm is left undisturbed, the plant will form a new corm lower in the soil than the one from the previous year. Corms can end up on the bottom of pots, bowing out the bottom if kept in a pot for several years.


Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

?? do you think its to late in season for me to be potting up/planting amorphs now??
its always a fall present then when i dig my corms for overwintering to see how the new
corm is..
i guess with great vegetative growth..the corm must be doing well.??..
im doing a "sort of" experiment potted up and put into soil corms.. if one is better summer
planting method over the other..
of course thats only with amorphs that this works for..
i understand our buddie titanum likes to stay potted up..not taken out and let sit...

Miami, FL(Zone 10a)

It is a little on the late side for starting them unless you can keep them going after it gets too cold to have them outside. Good vegetative growth means you took good care of the plant last year - the current year's leaf is made with stored energy/nutrients from last year's corm. So the better you care for them now, the better they will grow next year.

For your climate I'd go with the potted up method because that enables you to bring them in on cool nights yet still take them back out to get every last possible bit of Fall sunshine and warmth during the day.

Titanums need to stay potted up and you cannot let the soil get totally dry once they are dormant. They also may not go dormant for the first year or two, especially if young. They're not as easy as konjac or paeonifolius, that's for sure.


Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks lari ann.. thinking i will wait for next early spring for any addtions
on sized corms.. except if tindara puts some good sized titanum corms up for sale this fall.. :)
makes sense on potting up corms so i can move inside on chilly nites this fall.. i have several that
way..i took advantage of early spring in same way.. :) hopefully i fertilized them as you said
next yrs growth will be good..:)
these plants sure are fun !!!!

noonamah, Australia

I'd agree about not starting Amorphs off at this time of year in your climate. Be too big of a headache later on. And keeping them in pots lets you move them around to take advantage of warm spots. The thing about keeping titanums potted is more about keeping them evenly moist so they don't dry out. The potting soil is really the best for that.

Here's some photos of paeoniifolius. The first (left) is one out bush. It's about the same size as mine in the pot (second photo). Mine was 2.27 metres tall (just the plant, not including the pot). The last photo is the tuber mine produced end of season.

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noonamah, Australia

The first of these photos shows the hole left by the previous season's petiole and the new shoot coming up through it. Second is the flower the tuber in the earlier photo produced (it was planted into the ground). And then there's a couple more I had growing in the ground.

The trap with that hole left by the old petiole in a garden situation if you are watering through the winter is when water goes down the hole it gets caught in the hollow of the concave top of the tuber. During dormancy that's enough to rot out the tuber. Which is what happened to my largest one. The other trap with having them in the ground, as per the last photo, those two were so bound up with tree roots that I ended up spading them trying to get them out. The damaged tubers did grow again though, and one even produced a flower that following season.

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Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

tropic..very cool !! how facinating that you have paeoniifolius in the woods..
i guess we all have our own endemic plants we take for granted..:)
your 4:49am post..2nd pic.. im guessing the pot that has your big corm in it is 24-30" width pot?
how old is that biggest corm??
does anyone know the life of some of these corms?
very good point on the "trap" with the indentation in center of corm.. in dry dock
for konjac and others.. not an issue..when dormant..
but when growing for the likes of konjac/paeoniifolius..others of like habit i'll have to
be careful so as not to let rot..
the titanum.. im thining of adding even more porus amendments.. ?? i was thinking
of adding small lava rock.. not the mulch kind..the really porus,"rock" type..??
think this could help in not overwatering the titanum??
again.. tropic.. way cool pics !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miami, FL(Zone 10a)

I can tell you that I've had my giant paeonifolius for over 20 years (before 1992 to 2012) and it is still going strong. So they can last a while.


This message was edited Jun 22, 2012 7:24 PM

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

thanks lari ann.. wow..thats great..

noonamah, Australia

The paeoniifolius is fairly common growing naturally here. But it's not endemic. It ranges from India, through South East Asia, Pacific Islands and Australia. The other one growing naturally here is galbra, which also grow (naturally) in New Guinea. That one is a little less common, but still easy to find. Because I've had so many paeoniifolius I don't know how old the largest one is. One time I counted out 150 small tubers to give away but only managed to get rid of 50 of them. Bulbifer will soon be approaching those numbers, and I guess konjac will follow. Now what need to work on is producing an over supply of titanum.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

for sure tropic!! u will get money for them !!! yea! :)
all of the species/varieties of amorphs..are just terribly interesting..
and some challenging.. just what some of us gardeners enjoy.. :)
a challenge..
ive probably hit my max on EE..except if lari ann comes up with some
super monster i have to have... hint..hint... :)
bananas im still adding to.. still on the search for musa ingens and musa bowman
not giving up.. :)
with truely a greenhorn..and have alot to learn.. and im sure will make
mistakes along the way.. but i know i'll love it all.. and take great joy when i get it right
with many of these facinating amorphs..
another reason to have a greenhouse.. :) LOL

noonamah, Australia

You can't get many banana species here. The banana industry is very powerful and over 100 years ago they got the government to stop any import of bananas, plants, even seed. They claimed it risked disease being brought in. So the ban continues to be in effect.

I'd heard of the Musa ingens and thought I'd really like one. A couple of years ago I was trekking in Papua New Guinea and I saw this tree trunk on the ground which looked a bit odd. Seeing tree trunks on the ground in the rainforest isn't unusual in itself. But this one had a different texture. I looked again and realised it was a banana the dimensions of a huge rainforest tree. I looked around and realised I'd been walking past lots of them. Because you need to watch your footing you don't often look up. But as it was laying on the ground it was obvious. Very difficult to get a photo of, they disappear in amongst the tree canopy. But I did get some photos. These won't grow for me, not in the tropical lowlands, especially equatorial where I am. And they need protection from wind, that's why they grow amongst the big trees. The ones in the photo you couldn't put your arms around the trunk.

You'd love Papua New Guinea. Aroids, all over the ground and in the trees, some really huge. The 3rd photo is a Xanthosoma.

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Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

sigh..thanks jealous.. ya..reading on PG's plants..if i were to visit..i think i
had gone to "heaven" :)
aroids everywhere..and in environment where they do the best..
like many bananas i want to grow.. alocasia robusta..sigh..thanks to lari ann
for getting us a hybrid that has potential..
i dont know orgin of xanthosoma robust ..i have 3 that pupped last
i have 8 now..
bummer on government regulations on bananas allowed in auzzie.. :(
thanks for the pics tropic..!!!!!!!!!!!

noonamah, Australia

Xanthosoma robusta comes from central/south America. It was intoduced into the Pacific region by the Chinese and is still often referred to as Chinese Taro. Funnily enough China is the biggest producer of Colocasia Taro.

I only found out about the ban on bananas when I bought some seed from overseas. Next I had a stern letter from AQIS (quarantine) saying that the seed had been seized and was going to be destroyed. At least I found out about the processes for importing and how to access the online database on restricted imports.

In PNG I thought I was in 'heaven'. Madang was my favourite place. Lowland coastal so no Musa ingens there. But this is a photo I took over a fence. Had to stand on something high as the fence was above head height. In the upper right of the photo you can see the roof of the house.

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