What is Corpse Flower?
The Corpse Flower also known as Amorphophallus titanum, grows deep within the Sumatran jungle. But the majority of people call it the corpse flower. The corpse flower holds the distinction of being the biggest flowering, single-branched plant in the world and is also thought to have the foulest odor. Its uncommon and lovely bloom releases a smell that has been compared to the smell of fish, baby diapers, and rotten flesh.
This foul-smelling plant, which can grow as high as ten feet, is designed by nature to draw beetles and other insects from great distances in order to pollinate and breed. The corpse flower can be successfully grown in greenhouses all over the world, despite the fact that it is exclusively native to Indonesia. When it blooms, which only happens sometimes, a rush of tourists rush for a good look (and a reluctance to smell) at the peculiarity.
One blossom is claimed to have been the first corpse flower to bloom outside of Indonesia in London in 1889. Numerous countries, including the United States, Germany, Brazil, India, and Australia, have developed their own varieties.
Some breathtakingly huge blooms have been produced in these well-tended gardens. Last year, the London one measured 260 pounds and was almost 10 feet tall. A New Hampshire-grown stinker that was 10 feet, 2.25 inches tall earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010. For comparison, imagine stacking two Lady Gagas on top of one another.
The Brief Bloom of the Corpse Flower
- This odd plant doesn’t have an annual flowering cycle; instead, it just waits until enough energy has accumulated in its corm or underlying stem. It begins the process of producing its enormous blossom only after that.
- While corpse flowers may go for decades without blooming, generally speaking, they do so every four to five years.
- A protective spathe will develop on the corm once it has accumulated sufficient energy. The petal-like structure is known as the spathe.
- which opens up during a bloom, is actually just one large umbrella-shaped leaf that encloses its hollow spadix, which grows to the highest point of the flower.
- The bloom will endure between 24 and 48 hours when it is fully opened, after which it will soon decompose and collapse.
What Makes Corpse Flower Smell So Bad?
Because of the corpse flower’s peculiar smell, beetles and flies from all over are drawn to it because they believe they are crawling towards a dead animal. The insects then pollinate both rings of tiny blossoms at the base of the spadix, which are composed of “male” flowers that are yellow and “female” flowers that are dark purple and yellow.
The plant must increase its temperature in order to produce the odor; one corpse flower was known to attain a temperature of 96 degrees Fahrenheit. It can manufacture chemicals like isovaleric acid, which smells like musty gym socks, and trimethylamine, which has a fishy-rotten stench. In addition, the heat helps the flower’s scents go farther through the rainforest by lifting them high into the air. The smell typically begins in the midst of the night and is most offensive for four to six hours.
The bugs continue to believe they were dropped on prime, rotting flesh because of the texture, heat, and dark red color of the corpse flower’s spathe.
The flower will produce hundreds of fruits that resemble cherries if those bugs complete their jobs properly. After five or six months, the fruits begin as gold, and turn orange – finally ripen to a dark red color. In the wild, the Southeast Asian bird known as the rhinoceros hornbill will consume the fruit and disperse its hard-shelled seeds. Hopefully, the seeds will germinate and grow into fresh 10-foot-tall, vile-smelling blooms. That is what is referred to as symbiosis!
Growing Corpse Flowers
Online stores with a good reputation sell corpse flowers. You will get a seedling, which is typically a 2-foot tall, 1 or 2-year-old plant. Remember that the corm won’t get big enough to produce flowers until 7 to 10 years.
As tropical plants, corpse flowers require humid, warm conditions to survive. They favor 750–800°F temperatures with 80%–90% humidity. You will need to spritz your plant daily or place it in an area with a humidifier to achieve that humidity.
The corm will need to be gently transplanted into a bigger pot once the stem and leaf die and it goes into dormancy since it gets bigger every year. A flower-producing corm at maturity weighs roughly 50 pounds. Additionally, it will keep expanding after that. When handling the corm, you must be cautious not to scratch or cut it. Any injury makes it vulnerable to disease, which can be fatal. Additionally, you should report it promptly to prevent drying out and death.
Regular potting soil with perlite or peat moss added for drainage is an option. Drainage is crucial to prevent the corm from rotting. Keep the ground damp but not soggy. To stop disease and insects from entering the pots via an opening for drainage in the bottom, many individuals keep the pots lifted off of the ground.
When the corm grows rapidly, you can feed it slow-release fertilizer; however, you should stop feeding it once it enters its dormant state.
Corpse flowers are what are referred to as “understory plants” in the wild. This indicates that they develop in the shade of bushes in the forest as opposed to open glades in which they receive direct sunlight. For this reason, cultivate your corpse flower in partial shade as opposed to bright sunshine to replicate its natural habitat. Place it beneath a tree or in a shaded area if you decide to leave it outside during the summer.
Your plant will get taller and taller as it develops. Your plant will eventually require a space with a ceiling height of 10 to 30 feet.
You Can Grow a Corpse Flower From a Leaf Cutting
To start your own corpse flower, you may obtain a cutting (with permission!) from one of the leaves if you know someone who already has one. A 1 to 2-foot portion of a leaf with a Y-shaped vein should be cut, and the cut edge should be dipped in rooting hormone. Put the cutting in soil and store it in a warm, damp area. A corm will have formed and start to sprout leaves in around 9 months. You’ll get compensated with a blossom in 8 to 10 years.
Corpse Flower Care
Funeral Flower Care Is it possible to grow a corpse flower indoors? Yes, however for the best outcomes, you must be aware of a few crucial factors: In the wild, these plants grow in the understory, thus they would require strong indirect light or, at most, dappled sun. These plants prefer 70 to 90% humidity because they are native to the Sumatran jungle. Make sure to keep corpse flowers from getting much colder than 60 F (18 C). Ideal daytime temperatures should range from 24 to 32 C (75 to 90 F).
The one leaf that the corpse flower produces, albeit enormous, is all there is! The petiole and leaf will decay away at the conclusion of each growing season. Now is the time to remove the corm from the pot, wash the soil off, and repot it in a bigger pot. Avoid nicking the corm or it will rot. According to legend, the plant won’t begin to bloom until the corm weighs 40–50 pounds (18–23 kg).
Never let a corpse flower totally dry out as this can cause it to become dormant. Water it once again after letting the surface dry up a little. On the other hand, avoid letting this plant become overly moist or sit in water. Make sure you have enough space to cultivate this plant. Given the conditions you provide, it can grow to a height of 10 feet (3 meters) or more per year.
During the growing season, you can fertilize (diluted) with each watering. During the active growing season, you can topdress with a natural fertilizer a few times if you’d like. When development slows toward the conclusion of the growing season, stop fertilizing.
Even though the corpse flower houseplant is an oddity, if you can get it to bloom in your house after 8–10 years, that would be remarkable. If this does happen, keep these two things in mind: Only 48 hours pass throughout the inflorescence. However, this can be a positive thing since the smell might make you want to go outside!