Amorphophallus, Caladium, Colocasia, & Zantedeschia Bulbs. It’s A Family Thing.

Amorphophallus sp. on 7-1-17, #353-1 after I brought it home.

Hello again, folks! I hope this finds you all doing well and that you have been getting your hands in the dirt. It’s the time of year we can enjoy being out with nature before the mosquitos get too bad. I have seen a few already so I try to be quiet so they don’t hear me.

I mentioned in the last post I had taken a few photos of the bulbs so I thought I would ramble about them for a bit. All these plants are in the Araceae family of aroids. All I can say about this family is that I need more.

I found this Amorphophallus (a-mor-fo-FAL-us) in the above photo to bring home at Wagler’s Greenhouse last summer. She had several pots but I took this one home because it also had an Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae growing with it. 🙂  According to the Wikipedia, the common name of the genus is Zaminkand but some of the species are referred to as Voodoo Lilies or other strange names. Of course, as with most of Wagler’s “pass-along plants”, there was no label and she had no clue what species it was (Well, heck, she doesn’t even know the genus like most normal folks). Plants of the World Online list 220 accepted species of Amorphophallus but luckily only a few are popular in cultivation so MAYBE I can soon figure out the species if it flowers. Despite the name being hard to spell or type really fast, it is a very interesting plant like most aroids.

The Amoororphooophaalluuus and Oxalis both went dormant when cool temperatures started getting close even before I moved the potted plants inside. The pot had been in the basement during the winter and I moved them outside on April 29 to play the waiting game.

When I went to the greenhouse a few weeks ago with my sister and niece, I asked Mrs. Wagler if she was going to have more Voodoo Lilies later. She didn’t know what I was talking about. I tried to explain the plant by reminding her of the story she told e about her mother growing them when she was a kid. Still, it didn’t ring a bell. I should have asked what she called the plant last year instead of just asking what species of Amorphophallus it was. I always get a blank stare… Sometimes a grin, though.


The Oxalis started coming up soon after I moved the pots outside but there was no sign of the “others”. I am done writing that name for this post… So, after being patient long enough, I ran my fingers through the potting soil to see what I could find. Low and behold I found a bulb and it was sprouting. I thanked the universe and the creator. Yeah, I know, most people would say thank God. OK, thank you, God. Feel better now?


I dug around a little more and found the other one. What I found strange last year was this stem in the middle of the pot with no plant. It remained there all winter with no change. It didn’t rot, either. You can see it here in the photo. It looked like it was starting to green up, though.


So, out of curiosity, I pulled it out to have a look. Well, GEE WHIZ! It had no roots! Once I pulled the stem out I could tell the bulb that needed to be in the soil was on top. Many aroids do this. They grow a new bulb on top of the old one, including the Colocasia esculenta. So, I pushed the whole thing into the soil down to where the top was covered up. Hmmm. I wonder how old that stem is?


I had also bought a few Caladiums last year. I thought I would attempt to overwinter their bulbs, too, but they didn’t fare so well. They were kind of moldy but I put them in pots anyway. We shall see what happens. I have heard that overwintering Caladium bulbs is tricky. If you do successfully overwinter them, trying to figure which side is up is also confusing. Supposedly, the smooth side goes down and the knobby side goes up. They will grow either way, but apparently, they will peep through the soil faster if they are planted the right way and the plants will do better.


Now, for the Colocasia esculenta. The two larger bulbs (tubers) on the right were the plants growing on the north side of the house for the past two years. There were three but one rotted instead of coming up last spring. The other two next to the bucket and the bulbs in the bucket were growing on each side of the… Well, what used to be the foyer of my grandparent’s house. The smaller bulbs in the clay pot were a few of what I didn’t plant last year. They stayed perfectly fine all summer and during the winter. They sprouted a little last summer but they didn’t grow past that.


I didn’t count them once I cleaned them off, but there are plenty. I took the smaller bulbs ad the ones in the clay pot and planted them along the north side of the chicken house. I will plant the largest bulb along with the Colocasia gigantea, I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ in the north bed. I need to move the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ farther out of the corner in the north bed so I will only have room for two bulbs. I can’t put the other big bulb farther down the bed because of the Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill). So, maybe, I will put the other big bulb around the corner on the east side of the house. MMMAAAYYYBBBEEE I will put the rest along the east side, too, since I really need to do something there. They don’t grow that well in front of the old foundation because they don’t get enough sun. Maybe I will sneak a few in dad’s Canna bed, too. 🙂

Oh yeah… You can see, especially with the two larger bulbs (tubers) the old bulb on the bottom with the newer bulb on top. The “stem” is right on top of the bulb and actually seems to be part of the bulb. The petioles grow from the stem and as the petioles and leaves die, the new tuber is formed (above ground). You can actually separate the two and plant them both. I should have taken a photo to explain it better… If you look at the old bulbs, you can see rhizomes coming out. Those will also make new plants and the old bulb will rot. The little “bumps” on the bulbs will grow into rhizomes if you have them in good light where they will grow well. In to much shade, that doesn’t seem to happen as much. They can be quite productive!


Now, for the Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily). This cluster did really well over the winter and started sprouting without even any soil. I put them in this pot the same day I moved the plants outside.


I decided I better put them in a larger pot and saw all these nice roots. I had planted them in the shade bed last year but read where they do better in more sun. I saw a HUGE plant growing by a sign in Clinton right out in full sun and it was looking really AWESOME! Well, you never know. Maybe they just planted the pot before I saw it because I hadn’t seen them there before. So, just to be on the safe side…


I put the Calla in this pot so I can move it if I need to. I think I will put this pot on the north porch once they start growing well. I don’t have a page for the Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) yet. Still working on the ‘T’s (Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus).

I am finished now. So, what have you been planting?

Until next time, stay well, be positive, hug your mate, enjoy nature and GET DIRTY!

10 comments on “Amorphophallus, Caladium, Colocasia, & Zantedeschia Bulbs. It’s A Family Thing.

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    A lot of work keeping bulbs alive from year to year. I had a calla lily that stayed in the ground for 4 years and this past winter was so severe that it killed it. No sign of it popping up. I might replace it.
    I hope this past winter was one of a kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To bad about your Calla. They are really nice plants and I hope you do replace it. I had one in Mississipi I kept in a pot until I realized I could keep it in the ground there. It was funny how when someone from a colder zone moves to a warmer zone and they have to learn to garden all over again. I an Amaryllis I grew and did all the things I needed to so it would flower. Then one spring, I saw the neighbors flowering in her flower bed and she said she kept them in the ground all year. LOL! Live and learn. I hope this past winter was one of a kind, too. Thanks for the comment, Lisa!


  2. Jim R says:

    I planted some mammoth sunflower seeds in a couple of places and a packet of flower mix for butterflies and hummingbirds.

    Two days ago I started mowing alongside the house where the rainbarrel is sitting. A very young fawn all covered with spots jumped up and ran to hide in a patch of weeds nearby. It really surprised me. I never saw the doe then or later in the day. I assume they got together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim, glad to hear about the sunflowers you planted. I planted the mammoth in the garden last year and they did very well. I would like to get some wildflower seeds and plant them in several places on the farm and along the street in front of the pasture. Pretty amazing about the fawn in your yard. I’m sure it found its mother. Thanks for the comment!


  3. Very useful post. Lots of free plants for those who make the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bittster says:

    Wow look at all those alocasia bulbs!
    I was doing the same thing yesterday, going through pot and finding bulbs. Your luck seems to be running a little better with survivors though 🙂
    It would be cool if your amorphophallus turned out to be A. konjac. They get big and the foliage is really awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ummm… Colocasia esculenta bulbs. 🙂 I never know if I should edit a comment because I don’t want to offend anyone. More than likely,. the Amorphophallus is an A. konjac. I think they are the most widely grown and unlikely any other would show up as a pass along plant at an Amish greenhouse. But, you just never know. Thanks for the comment Bittster!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. […] you remember a few posts ago I had found three bulbs and pushed the “unknown” bulb in the center down into the pot. […]


  6. […] nothing but the Oxalis bulbs. Then spring came and I put the plants outside. In an earlier post, on May 24, I had written about finding a few Amorphophallus bulbs, etc. Well, as time went by, there were […]


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