How To Plant Voodoo Lily [ Full Guide ]

Voodoo lilies, also known as Amorphophallus konjac, are unique and intriguing flowering plants that are coveted for their unusual appearance and distinctive odor. While the blooming of voodoo lilies entices a range of pollinators, their captivating scent is often likened to that of rotting meat. This fascinating plant, native to Asia, is relatively easy to cultivate and can thrive in a variety of environments. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a novice enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and techniques required to successfully plant voodoo lilies in your garden.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Voodoo Lily

To plant a voodoo lily, you need to choose a suitable location with partial shade, well-draining soil, and adequate space. Prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter and ensuring proper drainage. The voodoo lily bulb should be planted at the correct depth, and regular watering is essential to support its growth. After planting, provide adequate care, including fertilization and protection from extreme temperatures. Over time, the voodoo lily will develop and produce stunning and unique blooms.

Understanding Voodoo Lily: A Brief Overview

Before delving into the specifics of planting voodoo lilies, it is essential to understand the plant itself. Voodoo lilies belong to the Aroid family and are renowned for their striking foliage and peculiar, foul-smelling flowers. The genus Amorphophallus, to which voodoo lilies belong, consists of approximately 170 species, many of which are renowned for their larger-than-life inflorescences.

The voodoo lily’s distinctive appearance is attributed to its enormous compound leaves, resembling umbrella-like structures that emerge from a single petiole. The blooms are equally remarkable, with a tubular spathe that surrounds a tall spadix. These flowers, while visually captivating, emit a pungent aroma that is particularly alluring to insects, ensuring successful pollination.

Choosing The Right Location For Planting Voodoo Lily

Selecting an appropriate location for planting voodoo lilies is crucial to their overall health and development. These plants thrive in partial shade, making them perfect for areas beneath trees or near buildings that provide dappled sunlight. In regions with extremely hot climates, voodoo lilies will benefit from a more shaded location to protect them from harsh sun exposure.

When choosing a location, consider the space required for the plant to grow. Voodoo lilies are known for their large leaves and imposing flowers, so ensure there is sufficient room for their mature size. Additionally, proximity to other plants is important, as the voodoo lily’s expansive foliage can overshadow smaller neighboring plants and affect their growth.

Selecting The Appropriate Soil And Drainage

Voodoo lilies thrive in well-draining and rich soil. Before planting, it is essential to assess the soil quality and composition of the chosen site. The ideal soil for voodoo lilies is loose, loamy, and rich in organic matter. This type of soil structure provides the necessary nutrients and aeration for healthy root development and robust growth.

To enhance the soil’s fertility and texture, incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the planting area. This process not only enriches the soil but also aids in moisture retention, critical for voodoo lilies as they prefer consistently moist but not waterlogged conditions.

In addition to soil quality, good drainage is imperative for voodoo lilies. Poor drainage can lead to waterlogged soil, which can cause root rot and other detrimental conditions. To ensure proper drainage, consider raised beds or mounds to encourage water to flow away from the planting site. Alternatively, if planting in containers, ensure the pots have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating around the roots.

Acquiring Voodoo Lily Bulbs Or Plants

When acquiring voodoo lily bulbs or plants, it is essential to obtain them from reputable sources to ensure their health and viability for planting. Voodoo lilies are typically propagated from their corms, which are underground storage organs similar to bulbs. When selecting bulbs or plants, look for those that are firm, free from blemishes, and with healthy, undamaged shoots or growing points.

If purchasing bulbs, ensure they are of a suitable size for planting. Larger bulbs often establish themselves more quickly and produce flowers sooner than smaller ones. It is important to inspect the bulbs for signs of mold, soft spots, or other damage, as these can indicate poor quality or issues that may impede successful growth.

For those seeking the immediate gratification of blooms, purchasing potted voodoo lily plants with well-established root systems and healthy foliage is a viable option. When selecting potted plants, carefully examine the leaves for signs of pests, disease, or stress, and ensure the plant’s overall vitality before making a purchase.

Planting Voodoo Lily

Now that you have selected a suitable location, prepared the soil, and acquired voodoo lily bulbs or plants, it is time to proceed with the planting process. Follow these steps for successful voodoo lily planting:

Step 1: Planting Time

Voodoo lilies are typically planted in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. In some regions, fall planting is also suitable, allowing the bulbs to establish their roots before the onset of winter dormancy.

Step 2: Bulb Preparation

Before planting, inspect the voodoo lily bulbs for any signs of damage or decay. If the bulbs have been in storage, they may benefit from soaking in lukewarm water for a few hours to rehydrate them. This process can help stimulate root growth and prepare the bulbs for planting.

Step 3: Planting Depth

The planting depth for voodoo lily bulbs is crucial to their successful establishment and subsequent growth. The general rule of thumb is to plant the bulbs at a depth that is two to three times their diameter. For larger bulbs, this typically equates to a depth of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm), whereas smaller bulbs may require a planting depth of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm).

When planting, ensure the growing points or emerging shoots are facing upward. This will encourage the correct orientation of the foliage and minimize the need for the plant to reorient itself after emerging from the soil.

Step 4: Spacing

When planting multiple voodoo lily bulbs, ensure adequate spacing between them to accommodate their mature size. A spacing of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) is typically sufficient, allowing the plants to develop without overcrowding and minimizing competition for resources.

Step 5: Watering

After planting, thoroughly water the area to settle the soil around the bulbs and initiate the growth process. It is important to maintain consistent moisture, particularly during the initial stages of growth, to support root development and establishment.

Step 6: Mulching

Applying a layer of organic mulch around the planted area can help conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Organic mulches such as shredded leaves, straw, or wood chips are ideal for voodoo lilies, as they gradually decompose and contribute valuable nutrients to the soil.

Step 7: Supporting Growth

As the voodoo lily begins to emerge from the soil, providing support in the form of stakes or cages can help prevent damage to the delicate emerging shoots. This additional support can safeguard the emerging foliage from wind damage and offer stability as the plant matures.

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Caring For Voodoo Lily

After successfully planting voodoo lilies, ongoing care is essential to promote their growth and ensure the development of their remarkable foliage and captivating blooms. Consider the following care guidelines to support your voodoo lilies:


Maintaining consistent moisture levels is crucial for voodoo lilies, particularly during the growing season. While voodoo lilies prefer moist soil, it is important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged, adjusting watering frequency based on environmental conditions and soil moisture levels.


To encourage vigorous growth and prolific flowering, regular fertilization is beneficial for voodoo lilies. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring as new growth emerges, and follow up with additional applications throughout the growing season as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Avoid excessive nitrogen, as this can promote lush foliage at the expense of flowers.

Protection From Extreme Temperatures

Voodoo lilies are generally hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures. However, they are vulnerable to frost and freezing conditions, which can damage or kill the foliage and emerging shoots. In regions prone to frost, consider providing protection such as frost cloth or garden fabric to shield the plants during cold spells.

Pest And Disease Management

While voodoo lilies are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, occasional issues may arise. Keep an eye out for common garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, and snails, and promptly address any infestations to prevent damage to the foliage and flowers. Additionally, ensure good air circulation around the plants to minimize the risk of fungal diseases.

Pruning And Deadheading

Regular inspection of the voodoo lily plants will allow for the removal of any damaged or yellowing foliage. Pruning these portions of the plant not only maintains its overall appearance but also promotes healthy growth and redirects the plant’s energy towards producing new leaves and flowers.

Deadheading, the removal of spent blooms, can encourage the plant to focus its energy on new growth rather than seed production. Snip off the faded flowers as they wither, taking care not to damage the emerging foliage or surrounding plant tissue.


In regions where voodoo lilies are not winter hardy, they will require protection during the colder months. As the growing season concludes and the foliage begins to yellow and die back, reduce watering and allow the plant to enter dormancy. In colder climates, consider digging up the bulbs, allowing them to dry, and storing them in a cool, dark, and dry location until the following planting season.

The enigmatic allure of voodoo lilies makes them an intriguing addition to any garden or landscape. With their striking foliage and captivating blooms, these plants undoubtedly command attention and admiration. By choosing the right location, preparing suitable soil, acquiring quality bulbs or plants, and following proper planting and care techniques, you can successfully cultivate voodoo lilies and enjoy their unique beauty. Whether you are drawn to their extraordinary appearance or the fascinating ecology of their pollination, planting voodoo lilies is a rewarding endeavor that offers an opportunity to connect with the natural world in all its distinctive splendor.

Planting Voodoo Lily: Step-by-Step Instructions

Voodoo lily, scientifically known as Amorphophallus konjac, is an exotic and fascinating plant that belongs to the Araceae family. It is native to the subtropical and tropical regions of Asia. The voodoo lily is characterized by its large and unique flowers, which emit a strong and pungent smell similar to that of rotting flesh. Despite its unconventional odor, this plant has gained popularity among garden enthusiasts for its intriguing appearance and easy cultivation.

If you want to add a touch of mystery and allure to your garden, planting voodoo lily can be a fantastic option.

Selecting A Suitable Location

Before planting voodoo lily, it’s crucial to choose a suitable location that will provide the plant with the ideal growing conditions. Voodoo lily thrives in partial shade to full shade environments, making it an excellent choice for areas in your garden that receive filtered sunlight or are shaded by trees or other structures. It’s important to note that direct sunlight can scorch the plant’s leaves.

Furthermore, ensure that the chosen location has well-draining soil. Voodoo lily prefers soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic, with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. Heavy clay soils should be amended with organic matter like compost or peat moss to improve drainage.

Preparing The Soil

To prepare the planting area, start by removing any weeds or grass. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or a tiller to a depth of around 12 inches (30 cm). This will ensure that the roots can penetrate easily and allow for proper moisture and nutrient uptake. Mix in organic matter such as compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and water retention capabilities.

Planting The Bulbs

Voodoo lily is typically grown from bulbs, also known as corms or tubers. Planting the bulbs correctly is essential for their successful growth and development. Follow these steps to ensure proper planting:

  1. Choose healthy voodoo lily bulbs that are firm, free from blemishes, and have no signs of rot or damage. It’s preferable to select larger bulbs, as they will produce stronger and more vigorous plants.

  2. Dig a hole that is approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) deep. The hole should be wide enough to accommodate the bulb comfortably, with some spacing around it.

  3. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end facing upwards. If you are unsure about the orientation, you can plant the bulb horizontally, and the plant will adjust itself accordingly.

  4. Cover the bulb with soil, ensuring that it is well-covered but not buried too deeply. The top of the bulb should be about 2 inches (5 cm) below the surface of the soil.

  5. Gently firm the soil around the bulb to eliminate air pockets and provide stability.

  6. Water the newly planted bulb thoroughly to settle the soil and provide initial moisture. As a general rule, the soil should be kept slightly moist but not overly saturated.


After planting the voodoo lily bulbs, it’s advisable to apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant. Mulching helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and improve overall soil health.

Spread a layer of mulch, such as wood chips, straw, or shredded leaves, that is about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) thick. Ensure that the mulch is kept away from touching the stem or foliage of the plant to prevent potential rot or pest infestation.

Watering Requirements And Routine Care

Proper watering is crucial for the successful growth and health of voodoo lily. While it can tolerate some dryness, it prefers consistently moist soil. Follow these guidelines to ensure optimal watering:

  • Establishment Phase: During the first few weeks after planting, water the voodoo lily bulbs regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Aim for approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week. This will help the roots establish and prevent them from drying out.

  • Growing Season: Once the plant begins to actively grow, you should continue to provide regular moisture. In general, voodoo lily requires watering every 7 to 10 days, or whenever the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.

  • Dry Periods: During periods of drought or intense heat, it’s essential to increase the frequency of watering. Pay attention to the soil moisture levels and adjust accordingly. Be mindful not to allow the soil to become waterlogged, as this can also harm the plant.

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In addition to proper watering, routine care for voodoo lily involves the following:

  • Temperature: Voodoo lily prefers temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 29°C). It can tolerate lower temperatures, but prolonged exposure to frost or freezing conditions can damage the plant. In colder regions, it’s advisable to lift the bulbs and store them indoors during winter.

  • Pruning: Voodoo lily does not require extensive pruning. Remove any dead or yellowing leaves to maintain the plant’s appearance and prevent the spread of diseases. It’s essential to use clean and sterilized pruning tools to minimize the risk of infection.

  • Transplanting: If necessary, voodoo lily can be transplanted during its dormant phase, which typically occurs in late autumn or early winter. Carefully dig up the plant, ensuring that you don’t damage the bulbs or roots. Replant it in a suitable location following the same planting instructions mentioned earlier.

Fertilizing Voodoo Lily For Optimal Growth

Proper fertilization is crucial to ensure that voodoo lily receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and blooming. Here are some tips for fertilizing voodoo lily:

  • Organic Fertilizer: Voodoo lily responds well to organic fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with other essential micronutrients. Use a balanced organic fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formula, during the growing season.

  • Application Timing: Begin fertilizing the voodoo lily bulbs in early spring, just as new growth emerges. Repeat the application every four to six weeks throughout the growing season until the plant enters its dormant phase.

  • Application Method: Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly around the plant, taking care not to allow it to come into direct contact with the foliage or stems. Water the area thoroughly after applying the fertilizer to help it reach the plant’s root zone.

  • Organic Alternatives: In addition to commercial organic fertilizers, you can also use compost or well-rotted manure to fertilize voodoo lily. These natural alternatives provide slow-release nutrients and improve the soil’s overall health.

Remember not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flower production. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended dosage and application frequency.

Protecting Voodoo Lily From Pests And Diseases

Voodoo lily is generally resistant to most pests and diseases. However, there are some common issues that you should be aware of and take precautions against:

  • Slugs and Snails: These slimy creatures can be attracted to the voodoo lily foliage and cause damage by chewing holes in the leaves. To control slugs and snails, you can set up beer traps or use organic slug and snail bait. Creating a barrier with crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around the plant can also be effective as these pests do not like to crawl over sharp surfaces.

  • Aphids: Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap, causing distorted growth and a sticky residue known as honeydew. Regularly inspect your voodoo lily for aphids and use a strong stream of water or insecticidal soap to eliminate them. Predatory insects such as ladybugs and lacewings can also help control aphid populations.

  • Fungal Diseases: Voodoo lily may occasionally suffer from fungal diseases such as leaf spot or root rot. To minimize the risk of fungal infections, avoid overhead watering and ensure proper air circulation around the plant. If necessary, apply a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions to treat or prevent fungal diseases.

  • Rodents and Wildlife: Voodoo lily bulbs may be attractive to rodents such as mice or squirrels. To protect the bulbs, consider using wire mesh or hardware cloth to create a barrier around the planting area.

Maintaining a clean and healthy growing environment, along with regular inspections, can help you identify and address pest or disease issues promptly.

Planting and growing voodoo lily can be a rewarding experience for gardeners who appreciate unique and exotic plants. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this guide, you can successfully plant voodoo lily and ensure its optimal growth. Remember to select a suitable location with partial to full shade, prepare the soil adequately, plant the bulbs correctly, and provide routine care including proper watering, fertilization, and protection from pests and diseases. With a little effort and patience, you can enjoy the intriguing beauty of voodoo lily in your own garden.

Handling Dormancy Periods And Overwintering

Voodoo lilies, scientifically known as Amorphophallus, are a fascinating and exotic addition to any garden. These plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions and are known for their unique and captivating blooms. Although voodoo lilies are relatively easy to care for, they do require specific planting techniques to ensure optimal growth and flowering.

Voodoo lilies have a natural dormant period, which typically occurs during the colder months of the year. During this time, the foliage of the plant dies back, and it enters a rest phase. Properly handling the dormancy period is crucial for the long-term health and vitality of the voodoo lily.

To prepare the plant for dormancy, reduce watering gradually as the leaves start to wither and turn yellow. Once most of the foliage has died back, completely stop watering. This allows the plant to enter its resting phase.

During the dormancy period, it is essential to keep the plant in a cool, dark place with a temperature between 40-50°F (4-10°C). You can achieve this by storing the tuber in a paper bag or wrapping it in dry sphagnum moss. The tuber should remain undisturbed during this time.

It is important to note that voodoo lilies can be temperature sensitive and may not survive in extremely cold climates. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider digging up the tuber and storing it indoors during the dormant period.

When the dormancy period is over, signs of new growth will emerge from the tuber. This is the signal to resume watering and gradually reintroduce the plant to more light and warmer temperatures. Once the danger of frost has passed, you can safely transplant the voodoo lily outdoors.

Propagation Methods For Voodoo Lily

Voodoo lilies can be propagated through various methods, including seed sowing, offsets, and division. Let’s take a closer look at each method:

Seed Sowing

To propagate voodoo lilies from seeds, you will need fresh seeds. The seeds of voodoo lilies are typically bright red and are enclosed in a fleshy fruit-like structure called a spathe. Harvest the seeds when the spathe turns orange or red and gently remove them from the fruit.

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Before sowing the seeds, soak them in water for 24-48 hours to help soften the hard seed coat. This will improve germination rates. Fill a seed tray or pot with a well-draining, rich potting mix. Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and cover them with a thin layer of soil.

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Place the tray or pot in a warm location with indirect light. Germination usually takes around 2-3 weeks. Once the seedlings have developed several leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots.


Offsets are small bulb-like structures that develop around the base of the main tuber. These can be separated and used to propagate new voodoo lily plants. To do this, carefully dig up the tuber during its dormant period and gently separate the offsets from the main tuber.

Fill pots with well-draining potting soil and plant the offsets about 1 inch deep. Keep the soil lightly moist and place the pots in a warm location with indirect light. The offsets will develop their own roots and foliage over time.


Division is another common method of propagating voodoo lilies. This method is best done when transplanting the plant from one location to another. Carefully lift the entire plant from the ground, being cautious not to damage the tuber. Gently separate the tuber into sections, ensuring that each section has at least one dormant bud.

Plant each section in a new location or pot, making sure to keep the bud facing upwards and the top of the tuber slightly above the soil surface. Water the newly divided sections thoroughly and provide them with partial shade until they become established.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Voodoo Lily

While voodoo lilies are relatively low-maintenance plants, they can still face a few common issues. Understanding and addressing these problems promptly can help ensure the health and vitality of your voodoo lilies. Here are some of the most common issues you may encounter:

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves can be a sign of various issues, including overwatering or underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or pest infestations. To determine the cause, assess the watering practices and check for any signs of pests such as aphids or spider mites. Adjust watering accordingly and address any pest issues promptly.

Poor Flowering

If your voodoo lily is not producing flowers, it may be due to inadequate light or improper care during the dormancy period. Voodoo lilies require bright, indirect light to bloom. Ensure that your plant is receiving enough light during its active growth phase. Additionally, ensure that you are properly handling the dormancy period by providing the plant with a cool, dark location.

Fungal Or Bacterial Diseases

Voodoo lilies are susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases, particularly if the soil is consistently wet. To prevent these issues, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering. If you notice any signs of disease, such as wilting, discoloration, or mold, immediately remove the affected parts and treat the plant with an appropriate fungicide or bactericide.


Voodoo lilies can attract a variety of pests, including aphids, spider mites, and slugs. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pest infestations, such as curling leaves, webbing, or chewed foliage. Remove pests manually or use organic pest control methods to protect your plants.

Harvesting And Utilizing Voodoo Lily Flowers

One of the most fascinating aspects of voodoo lilies is their unique and captivating flowers. These flowers, known for their foul odor, typically bloom for a short period before withering away. However, they can still be enjoyed and even utilized in various ways. Here are some tips for harvesting and utilizing voodoo lily flowers:

Harvesting Flowers

When the voodoo lily flowers are fully developed and have opened, you can cut the stem near the base to harvest them. Use clean and sharp garden shears to make a clean cut. It is important to note that the flowers have a strong odor, similar to rotting flesh, which is intended to attract pollinators. Consider wearing gloves or using a strong-scented hand wash after handling the flowers.

Floral Arrangements

Despite their unusual scent, voodoo lily flowers can make a unique and eye-catching addition to floral arrangements. Their large size and interesting shape create a focal point in any arrangement. Pair them with other flowers that have a strong fragrance to mask the odor if desired. Arrange them in a well-ventilated area to minimize the smell.

Artistic Displays

Voodoo lily flowers can also be incorporated into artistic displays or used as a centerpiece for special occasions. Consider placing them in a decorative vase or pot and adding other elements such as foliage, branches, or stones to create an aesthetically pleasing display.

Several Uses

In some cultures, voodoo lilies have traditional medicinal uses. However, it is important to note that proper research and understanding of these uses are essential before considering any medical applications. If you are interested in exploring their potential medicinal properties, consult with a healthcare professional or an expert in herbal medicine.


Planting voodoo lilies can add a touch of mystery and allure to your garden. Understanding and implementing proper planting techniques, handling dormancy periods, and utilizing various propagation methods are key to ensuring the successful growth and flowering of these exotic plants. By troubleshooting common issues and exploring different ways to harvest and utilize voodoo lily flowers, you can fully enjoy the beauty and fascination they bring to your garden.


What Is A Voodoo Lily?

Voodoo lilies, also known as the Devil’s tongue plant, are exotic plants native to Africa and Asia. They belong to the Araceae family and are characterized by their large, deep purple flowers and distinct foul odor.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Voodoo Lily?

The best time to plant voodoo lily is during the early spring or fall when the soil is moist and temperatures are mild. Avoid planting during extreme heat or cold as it can stress the plant.

Where Should I Plant Voodoo Lily?

Voodoo lilies can be grown indoors or outdoors. If planting outdoors, choose a location with partial to full shade and well-draining soil. If planting indoors, make sure to provide adequate light and humidity for the plant.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Voodoo Lily?

Voodoo lilies prefer moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. To prepare the soil, amend it with organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve drainage and nutrient content.

How Deep Should I Plant Voodoo Lily Bulbs?

Voodoo lily bulbs should be planted at a depth of 4-6 inches with the pointed end facing upwards. In colder regions, it is best to plant the bulbs an inch or two deeper to protect them from frost.