Please Don’t Flower!

For many bulbs, spring is the time to come back to life and show off with big showy flowers.  For my amorphophallus bulbs, it’s also time to awake from their winter slumber, I just hope beyond hope that they don’t flower.  Why?  Because they’ll stink… like rotting meat.  I’ve never seen them do it, but it doesn’t sound pleasant.  These are a cousin of the huge rotting corpse flowers you hear about (UC Davis has one and so does the Huntington Library) and while these ones are much smaller, I think even having a small rotting hunk of meat in your yard would be unpleasant.  Now, they don’t flower every year, only when they store up enough energy.

The big one I’ve had for four years.  I received it from a student who brought free samples of the plant he was giving a presentation on.  The little one showed up last year, apparently spawned from the big one.  It was a nice surprise to get a new one and not have to go through the flowering process.  I’m wondering though, if the big one had enough energy to make a clone last year, is it going to flower this year?

This year I re-potted them in their own pots and started watering them again last week.  If they decide to flower, the flowers will come up first, then the leaf.  Yes,  they’ll only put up only one leaf.  It will be a pink-ish stalk with purple spots a little less than knee-high topped with an umbrella-like leaf.  When the leaf dies back in the fall, I’ll stop watering them and put the pots away where they’ll be safe.  Then when spring comes again, I’ll start watering them and hoping they don’t decide to flower.


About micheletobias

I lead two lives - one as an artist and the other as a scientist. More and more I'm finding my two worlds colliding, and it's not the disaster you might expect. View all posts by micheletobias

2 responses to “Please Don’t Flower!

  • Veronika


    They do verily stink when they bloom – I used to live in the area where the smaller ones grow wild (Israel), and they are awful. The question I have, though, is this – do you have a particular reason to cultivate such an unpleasant plant, or a science interest that doesn’t involve it blooming? Because if it were me, I’d take it somewhere it can grow and plant it away from where it’d stink my life up should it ever be happy enough to bloom!


  • micheletobias

    I just seem to collect odd and interesting plants. I think they are really cool. It only has one leaf a year and the stem is pink with purple spots so it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. It’s like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. It’s outside right now, so if it did bloom, it would be ok.

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