Anyone familiar with A. Titanum care?

jedh_2008September 2, 2009

Any suggestions on my A. Titanum? Now 28" tall with 3 leaves. I have it in a 10"Pot with an even mix of potting soil, perlite, and peet. It is under a bright overhang but no direct sun until I move it out from under around 5:00PM. Temps here in Central Florida have been mid-90Âs with 80-90 humidity. I keep a plant light on it all night..one of those blue coated Home Depot ones. Anyway my questions are from time to time it begins to droop. Am I watering it too much at twice a week? What is too moist and how do I recognize rot? Could it be getting too much light?

Any advice, as always would be greatly appreciated.

Jed

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exoticrainforest

Your soil mix sounds good although in nature the plant lives in primarily rotting leaves. Many botanical gardens use more peat than you have added but until it goes dormant it would be best to leave it alone.

These plants come from one of the wettest rain forests in the world so it is tough to over water as long as the soil is fast draining. Soggy soil will kill it quickly. I'd just check the soil and as long as it feels evenly damp you're doing fine.

From the size I'd say it is about 2 years old and you'll find it will go dormant anywhere from once a year to once every 2 1/2 years. In your climate you might be able to keep it up longer. Once it goes dormant stopping watering it but unless you need to change the potting mix don't remove it from the soil. In the past the advice was to remove it and wrap it in burlap but the good gardens don't do that any longer.

Your best advice can be found on the International Aroid Society website. Just click the link below and look to the lower left of the page. Type in Amorphophallus titanum and all the posts on the plant since 1996 can be found. Look for anything written by Wilbert Hetterscheid. Wilbert is the world's leading botanist in this genus and if he says it you can believe it. Also look up the growing advice on the Berlin Botanical Garden website. They tell exactly how they mix their soil.

As for the droopy leaves, more likely the heat but check the soil just in case. Mine lives in an artificial rain forest and it is watered every other day.

Here is a link that might be useful: The International Aroid Society

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 6:37PM
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jedh_2008

Thank you so much. very good to know. I had placed about an inch or two of orchid bark at the bottom to promote drainage.

Should I keep the light on it all night or should it get some darkness?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 7:17PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I'm a huge believer in getting advice from people in the same locale as you live in. Having said that, there are a large number of growers of this rather common species in FLA so I would find one in your area and query them if they have had theirs for a few years. For example, I live in zone 6 and do not have a GH.......I've had mine for 5 years now......if mine were in peat it would have rotted out a long time ago.....until I knew better I rotted even the easiest of species like konjac because I had peat in my mix. Get good advice from someone that lives in your area without a GH :o) Dan

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 8:22PM
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exoticrainforest

I certainly agree about the recommendation to get good advice from folks that grow them. That is exactly why I asked Wilbert Hetterscheid who is the world's leading botanist, specialist and grower in this genus. The growers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami use a similar soil mix and I use the same in my own atrium in zone 6. If you'd like the name and email address of the top grower in Florida for this species drop me a private note and I'll give you his email address. He is on the Fairchild staff but grows them at home as well. You can find my address on the ExoticRainforest website.

Peat promotes drier soil. The more peat you add the faster it dries out the soil which is what the tuber is wanting. It just likes to be wet for awhile and dry out which is why it grows in a deep bed of decaying leaf vegetation.

In Berlin they add more peat since they water it very often just as it receives in the jungle. However, if a grower is having good results I don't recommend changing a thing.

It has always been my practice to inquire of the top aroid minds in the world before posting advice. Since I'll be serving on the International Aroid Society board of directors for the next few years I'll make it a point of giving only advice approved by the experts but I won't ever argue with growers that are successful.

As for the light, turn it off. Plants only receive natural light in the forest and other than the full moon it is quite dark. The light won't hurt but leaving it off is better for the environment.

I would suggest you go to the International Aroid Society website and read what is stated there about the species. Since I've already read it I know for certain it gives the same advice as they give on the Berlin site.

Good growing and I hope it stinks up the place for you!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 1:15AM
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exoticrainforest

This link will take you directly to the IAS website but the info is from the Berlin Botanical Garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amorphophallus titanum

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 2:50AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I agree with what ERF says, but the reason I always recommend advice from a local grower is because anyone that uses a GH all year has no real way to give advice about winter or low humidity care......someone from zone 5 with a GH does not experience the day length or light intensity the same. Just to show you how far afield you can go, I have some that are in a soil less potting mix (bonsai soli) that consists of turface and pine bark......they do not grow fast that way, but since I can not handle a plant 6 feet tall I do not want them big.....I grow them simply for the adventure......I have mine in a lot of sun to keep them shorter as well......mine all decided to go dormant this summer.....not really optimal since now they will have to leaf out in front of a window this winter.....oh well, I do the best I can :o) Dan

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 11:11AM
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