The voodoo lily’s (Amorphophallus bulbifer) reputation as a real stinker precedes it, and I have to admit that I have always been a bit hesitant about introducing something that smells badly to my home. Still, as the bulb drew closer to blooming, it was curiosity, and the worry that I would miss the event that made me bring it right up to my kitchen door.
On the morning that it opened, Davin woke up before me (as he does) and opened the kitchen window to let in a breeze. He says he was instantly whacked in the face by a terrible smell. Within an hour it had permeated the entire house!
The smell was like rotting flesh, but also something else that I can’t place. Sort of like rotted garlic: strong, pungent, fetid. Fortunately, the smell was gone by the afternoon.
They say this is the easiest of the genus Amorphophallus to grow, and I certainly haven’t had any trouble so far. In the early spring, I planted the fist-sized bulb in a terra cotta pot that was a few inches wider than the bulb and about 10″ deep. I used potting soil with some sand and grit added for good drainage. I watered it very sparingly in the beginning, slowly increasing the water once it was outdoors. I placed the pot in a shady spot outdoors a few weeks after the last frost date had passed and since it is not hardy, will be bringing it in with my other houseplants in the fall.