The voodoo lily, or Amorphophallus konjac, is one of many plants in its genus which produces a rotting meat like smell when it flowers in order to attract various carrion insects as pollinators. What's unique about the konjac is that it's corm, which is a structure similar to a bulb or tuber, can be eaten, and is used in both Japanese and Korean cuisines, where it's known as konnyaku, or yam cake. In Japan it is eaten in both this gelatinous cake form, as well as in noodles made of the fibrous material of the corm, called shirataki. The cake is also found in a candied form. Preparation for both usually involves chopping and boiling the "yam" and then blending it into the right consistency with water.
The voodoo lily has a set growth cycle every year. During its dormant period, October - February, it should be unplanted in a cool, dark space, no colder than 50 degrees. Near the end of this time, if the corm is big enough, it will shoot out a bloom that can reach up to five feet tall. During this time, you can move it for display purposes to an area of your choosing. Once the flower blooms, it will emit a pungent smell, that has been likened to roadkill among other bad smells. To mitigate the effects of this, you can wrap a bag around the flower, taping it at the base. After a couple of days the smell should dissipate, and you can enjoy the bloom without the smell until it wilts. Once the flower dies off, return it to its cool, dark spot until late March-early April. Around this time it should be growing it's leaf, which grows similar to a tree. At this point, it can be planted outside once the temperatures are 50 degrees or above at night, in either the ground or a raised bed. If kept inside, treat it like a cactus or succulent and water sparingly every three to four weeks. If planted outside, let mother nature take its course. If you decide to keep it in a container outside, make sure the container has drainage holes, you might even want to drill extras on the bottom to make sure it drains well. For soil, a mix of cactus and succulent with normal potting soil should suffice, and it can be fertilized once a month per your fertilizer's instructions. Near October the leaf will start to die off, and you want to stop watering the plant, and let the corm dry out before returning it to its cool, dark place once again. The voodoo lily will grow well in any kind of lighting conditions, though the more light will mean the quicker it will leaf and bloom.
Our friends at Botanical Interests, who provides all of our organic seeds and sprouts, shared with us some great Summer Garden Care Tips. Come to the store to find out more about their products: