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We all can agree on the mesmerizing name of this plant, VOODOO. Yes, my friends and the name is there for a good reason, as you will see soon enough.
Everything about this tropical plant spells charisma, and it has a charm of its own—the voodoo lily flower, or as some gardeners refer to corpse flower. Hold on as it has loads of surprises.
More About The Voodoo Lily Flower
Whether you love magic or dislike it, the voodoo lily is a must-have exotic plant. The plant has a long dark history when it comes to voodoo. But please do not hold a grudge against your gorgeous plant.
The voodoo lily plants cleaned up their act years ago and are a fascinating ornamental plant. One thing the voodoo lily will do is enchant you with, how we say, saucy charm.
But be forewarned that when you plant voodoo lily bulbs; it is best to place them in the basement for a good reason. Now, this is where the plant gets its other name, the corpse flower. Once it blooms, it smells as if something died. Sounds mysterious, right!
The truth is that it grows its foliage in the first few years. When winter arrives, it starts to bloom, leaving you pleased to see the spike grow tall and skinny. However, be prepared as once the flower opens, it has a dreadful stench that lasts a few days.
No kidding! While the flower is not the most explicit part, the first sign of growth is as the spike can reach up to two feet tall.
You find voodoo plants growing in Southeast Asia but not in Mexico which is strange enough because this is where voodoo is well known.
Even growing voodoo lilies are super easy. And if curiosity is your thing for voodoo lily care, let us start on a magical trip to make sure your plant produces that foul smell flower attracting different insects from butterflies to bees.
Voodoo Lily Care
While the voodoo plant is a common name, some gardeners also refer to it as the elephant yam. You find the rare plant flowering in early spring or even in winter, depending on the environment it grows.
Depending on the bulb size, the voodoo lilies can take years to mature.
Species: Amorphophallus konjac
Common Name: Voodoo Lily, Corpse Flower, Snake Palm, Umbrella Arum, Dragon Plant
Family: Araceae family
Plant Type: Perennial
Native to: Southeast Asia
Maximum Size: Up to six feet tall
Watering Requirements: Dry the soil out between watering
Light Requirements: Partial sun to full shade
Preferred Humidity: High
Preferred Temperature: Warm
Soil or Potting Medium: Rich, well-draining soil
Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer
Propagation Method: Division
Vulnerability: Root rot
Toxicity: Humans and pets
You can find many voodoo lily varieties in the species, but they all need the same care as seen here.
Best Potting Mix for Voodoo Lily Plants
If you grow the voodoo lily bulb outside, it attracts natural pollinators. If placed in clay soil, we recommend adding compost to provide proper drainage and nutrients.
If grown indoors in a container, the soil needs to drain well. You can use a general-purpose potting mix. But if overwatering is a concern, you can add some coarse sand or perlite.
Your exotic plant prefers partial shade or some filtered light. The voodoo lily does not enjoy direct sunlight as it can burn the foliage. So gardeners that grow this plant normally build a greenhouse or screen house.
You can place it on a window sill on the north or east side when grown inside. With some lace curtains, those delicate leaves will be protected.
The most crucial part is watering as they prefer wet conditions in the summer and dry in winter. You can water them well in summer, but make sure the water drains freely from the container.
The rule of thumb is to allow the ground to dry between watering. For some species, they prefer dry winter since they’re susceptible to root rot. You can stop the watering in late summer to early fall.
Once winter passes and spring arrives, you can continue watering your plant.
Temperature & Humidity
Your voodoo plant prefers warm temperatures between 60°F and more but cannot grow in gardens where frost is present. So, you will need to bring your plant indoors for overwintering. The tropical plant loves high humidity. Make sure it receives ample moisture from its environment.
Feeding Voodoo Lilies
Your voodoo lily is not a heavy feeder but may still benefit from an organic feed to provide. Adding in a few fertilizers rich in phosphate may supply it with all the needed nutrients.
Some great options are buying a liquid concentrate, fish emulsion, or brewing compost tea. When the end of summer comes, it is best to stop providing your plant with fertilizer as it prepares for inactivity.
Refrain from feeding in winter and provide weak dosages of liquid fertilizer during spring once you notice new growth. You can feed them as usual throughout summer. But remember, your voodoo lily blooms one flower every year.
When growing voodoo lily bulbs, you can add a lot of organic manure to the ground.
The best way to propagate your voodoo lily is through division. You can do this in summer since this is the time when it produces a lot of small bulbs.
Alternatively, you can collect the seed for growing if successfully pollinated, and you notice the red berries forming. You can collect the berries once they are soft and starting to harden. The problem is that the sources do not have a long shelf life.
Thus, it is best to plant them soon in a seed starting soil and keep them moist until they grow. It can take a long time, sometimes years, before it flowers.
When you grow the voodoo lily inside, it produces no seeds as it blooms in winter.
USDA Hardiness Zones
The important thing is to check your voodoo lily variety. Some may grow in the USDA hardiness zones down to six as a perennial.
Others may not stand the winter. These plants do not flower when it is freezing in winter.
Pruning and Over Wintering
Every year the voodoo lily bulbs need some dormancy period and they do it naturally in the fall season. So, if you see your plant dying back, leave it be.
But if it is in a container, you can place it in a garage or cellar where it is warm. You can do this once the frost kills the plant, then you can stash it in a corner to forget about the plant until you get the familiar smell.
You may also unearth the bulbs in the fall. Keep them indoors by preserving them dry. You may find them growing back with the blooms showing first, even before the foliage.
You need not prune your voodoo lily, but if it is expanding too huge, you can give it a trim only do this in fall after the foliage dies off, and once the flower fades, you can remove it.
Other Species Similar to Voodoo Lily Plant
There are three species in the genus native to the Mediterranean basin. You plant them as tuber roots in spring or summer, and they grow upright with the same smell of rotten flesh.
You can grow these voodoo lilies in zones 7 through to 9. The Dracunculus vulgaris, also called the dragon arum, has maroon-purple flowers that stink.
In the genus, you have two species called the voodoo lily native to Asia and Africa. The foliage grows arum flowers even before the leaves start to grow in summer.
The blooms are purplish-red with a rotten smell. You can grow them in zone seven, and warmer climates such as the Sauromatum venosum is called monarch-of-the-east.
This is the voodoo lily you find in Asia and the tropical woodlands of Africa. It is a huge plant known by many names like the snake palm or devil’s tongue, with over 100 species found.
The leaves are ornate with huge flowers and range in height up to 60-inches. These flowers have a choking aroma, and there are three species known.
We already mentioned the Amorphophallus konjac. Then you have the Amorphophallus paeoniifolium and Amorphophallus titanium. You can grow them outdoors in zones nine to ten.
Voodoo Lily Diseases & Pests
The best part of growing voodoo lilies is that it is hardy and not prone to pest infestations because of the foul odor. The main concern is that it can get root rot from poor drainage. Another problem is that when you leave them outside in winter, the plant may get killed completely.
Cheat Sheet Growing Voodoo Lily
Once the awful stench after the flies and pollination takes place, we mentioned you could plant the seeds from the berries. Or, you can get your hands on the bulbs.
- Always make sure the seeds are fresh and not older than three months, as they will not germinate well.
- Take a shallow container with starting soil and a potting mix to fill it up.
- Make holes, drop one seed in each hole, and cover with the soil with your finger.
- Plant as much as you can as the germination rate varies for each seed. Then, once it starts to germinate, you can pick the best seedlings.
- Keep the ground moist without disturbing the seed and place them in a warm spot but not in direct sunlight or a chilly wind.
- Once the seed sprouts, you can place the pot in a well-lit room on a window sill.
- Prepare organic-rich soil and transplant the most vigorous seedlings in a pot.
Frequently Asked Questions
If it is still summer and warm and you notice the leaves turning yellow, it may be due to overwatering. But when winter arrives and you will see the leaves dying off and turning yellow to brown shade, that’s totally normal. In winter, all you need to do is keep the tuber completely dry without watering it.
The two plants belong to the same family and become smelly during pollination. However, you may find different genera in the same family bearing the same name.
Still, the common voodoo lily has an outer petal called the spathe, looking similar to a leaf. The flower, both male and female, is small, emerging from the center known as the spandex.
Yes, it depends on the botanical name as the corpse flower goes by the name Amorphophallus. It is an exotic plant belonging to the aroid family with huge flowers and that dreadful odor. Some of these species are winter hardy, and others are more made for container planting.
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