Watch it grow - November 2007 flowering
This titan arum opened late-afternoon on Sunday 4 November and was fully open on 5 November.
Kew's recent flowerings
In 1996 a titan arum flowered at Kew for the first time for many decades. Six years later we saw an unprecedented three flowerings in as many months. This was the first evidence that Kew's horticulturists had finally cracked the secrets of cultivating this rare and unique plant. Since then there has been one flowering in 2003, three more in 2005, and two in 2006.
1996 - A plant donated by Leiden University's botanic garden flowered at Kew and attracted vast crowds and intense media interest from around the world.
2002/3 - the specimens which flowered in 2002 and 2003 were grown both from seed donated to Kew in 1995 and from tiny micropropagated plants received from the botanic garden in Bonn in 1995. To build up the storage tubers, they were potted on into 750 litre containers in 1999 although they were in full leaf at the time. When the leaves died down, the largest tuber was placed in a 1,000 litre pot and the two smaller ones were put into new compost in 750 litre pots. For the next 14 months, they were grown behind the scenes at Kew in our Tropical Nursery. The plants are fed regularly with a high potash liquid fertiliser.
In January 2002, while the plants were dormant, they were potted up again. The largest of the three tubers, one of those grown from seed, weighed 75 kg (although since then we have had one, repotted in winter 2004, which weighed an astonishing 91kg). As the new bud started to emerge the plant was transferred to the Princess of Wales Conservatory. During the day, the temperature is at least 24ºC and at night it drops no lower than 19ºC. The humidity is maintained at 70-80% – mimicking the conditions prevailing in the plant’s original rainforest habitat.
2005 to today - thanks to an increase in the number of plants held at Kew, but equally the enhanced understanding and skill of Kew's horticulturists, we have seen several flowerings at Kew each year.