Titan Lilly, Amorphophallus titanum

Titan Lilly, Amorphophallus titanum

André Beaurain ~ July 8, 2015

From Ancient Greek amorphos, “without form, misshapen” + phallos, “phallus”, and titan, “giant” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphophallus_titanum

In other words The Giant Misshapen Penis.

The day I saw the the plant of the Largest Flower or rather inflorescence on earth at Kew gardens was in August 1997,  the month Princess Diana died,  yes and I was there for the funeral,  by accident in London.  London’s air was filled with delicate perfume of a billion colourful flowers, there was not a Florist in England who had any flowers left.   It hit you in the face when you come form the underground,  and the doors open up in the city,  wham flowers!

Then I spend two days at Kew Gardens walking around with my tongue hanging out.  I just missed the flower of the Titan Lilly,  that flowered the week before,  but I sat there under the one leave that it pushed out just after the flower.  The leave was already 3m high,  like a gigantic Symmetrical  tree from a distant Avatar planet.   I sat under the strange plant and sketched the leave knowing that one day I will own this plant and breed its seeds for prosperity.

The germinating seed arrived on the 16 July 2014.  It was immediately planted in a 25cm ceramic Pot,  in Seedling mix which we sell in the Nursery, which is very light and rich in compost.   A rich free draining soil.

It send out its first leave in about 2 weeks.   It sat in the Orchid House in front of the oil heater which was on constantly to keep the temperature above 23degrees.   It was cold in July and this is a sub-tropical plant.

In January the first leave started to turn Yellow,  but not before three new growth point emerge from the soil.   Corne and I  was flabbergasted.   Already 4 leaves in one season.

We potted it up from the 25cm to a 30cm pot,  slipping it out of the old one very carefully as not to damage any roots, the plant must not know that this is happening, otherwise it will go into its dormant season.  It is advisable to let the corm grow for at least 18 months to fatten it up considerable, this way one has a better chance of its survival.  We were lucky that it arrived in July and is still going through the second  winter.

I suspect aalthe growth point has something to do with the……………… fertilizer that Corne feds the Orchids with.  But who knows.

The second leave started to wilt at the beginning of June keeping two on the plant still, but still sending out another 3 Growth points!