The Q&A Archives: Voodoo Lily

Question: A friend gave me a bulb she was unsuccessful in blooming. She called it a voodoo bulb; the bloom apparently smells horrible. I would appreciate any info you could give me on this plant.

Answer: What you have been given by your "friend" is Sauromatum venosum, the voodoo lily. The flower is composed of a one-foot long bract, greenish yellow with deep purple markings, that surrounds a long, blackish purple central spike. The bloom has a strong, unpleasant odor when it first opens. The tuber will bloom without planting, just place it on a windowsill. Or you can pot it up in rich potting soil, keeping the soil moist while the plant is growing, then letting it dry during dormancy.<br><br>The odor is the flower's way of attracting pollinating insects - mainly flies - and is strongest the day it open. After that, it's a curiosity that's sure to evoke comments from your visitors.<br><br>If you decide to keep your voodoo lily after itblooms, you can plant it in a container in regular potting soil and give it bright light and moderate amounts of water.<br><br>

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