Amorphophallus titanum (Becc.) Becc.
Titan Arum, Voodoo Lily, Voodoo Plant, Corpse Flower, Giant Krubi
Amorphophallus selebicus, Conophallus titanum
Color: Dark burgundy red
Bloom Time: Midsummer
Amorphophallus titanum is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. The inflorescence can reach over 10 feet (3 m) in height. It consists of a fragrant spadix of flowers wrapped by a spathe, which looks like a large petal. The spathe is deep green outside and dark burgundy red inside, with a deeply furrowed texture. The spadix is hollow and resembles a large loaf of French bread. Near the bottom of the spadix, hidden from view inside the sheath of the spathe, the spadix bears two rings of small flowers. The upper ring bears the male flowers, and the lower ring is spangled with bright red-orange carpels. Both male and female flowers grow in the same inflorescence. The female flowers open first, then a day or two following, the male flowers open. This usually prevents the flower from self-pollinating. After the flower dies back, a single leaf grows from the underground corm. The leaf grows on a somewhat green stalk that branches into three sections at the top, each containing many leaflets. The leaf structure can reach up to 20 feet (6.6 m) tall and 16 feet (4.8 m) across. Each year, the old leaf dies, and a new one grows in its place.
It is grown as an annual plant, so it has no USDA hardiness zone.
How to Grow and Care
Many have said Titan Arum is one of the most difficult plants to grow in cultivation. However, it is not any more difficult than any other flowering plant. The difficulty comes in the consistent growing conditions for seven years or more. You must mimic its native environment of tropical Sumatra. For instance, once the plant dies back, the corm must be moved into a larger pot every year. If the corm is nicked or damaged, it can allow disease organisms to kill the plant.
Titan Arum is not forgiving. Humidity has to be 80 percent, and the ambient air temperature needs to be above 60°F (15°C) and preferably above 75°F (24°C). It won't hurt the plant if the temperature dips into the 60s for a few days in a row, but it shouldn't be in the 60s for months at a time. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and use sterile soil when transplanting.
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