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.