For the last two years, Flower Show visitors received a special treat when Northeast Philadelphia resident Brandon Huber entered an eye-catching and ‘fragrant’ voodoo lily (a.k.a corpse flower), in the Show.
Huber, 20, is not only hoping to bring back the voodoo lily this year, but is planning to enter more than 100 plants over the nine days of Passport to the World.
“I hope to have about 105-110 entries for the week,” he said recently. “This number could go up or down depending how things fare during the final week before the Show.”
One Day at a Time
Huber, who starts Temple University in the fall to study horticulture, grows and cultivates plants both in his bedroom and basement. His favorite? Huber says that’s always tough to answer. He interested in alocasia, colocasia, and many of the aroid plant family. He’s also always been interested in cacti, succulents, and carnivorous plants – in particular, the Nepenthes genus (tropical pitcher plant).
But the voodoo lily is never far from his mind. The titan plant (lily), or
amorphophallus titanium, is known as the world’s largest flowering plant. His Show plant is one of the slightly smaller of the genus. Huber recently moved it to a warmer growing location.
“The voodoo lily is starting to speed up now,” Huber said this morning. For the first judging day, he puts the spike at about 50″ tall, which is about 10″ from when it begins to open. “It may be where I want it to be by the second judging day, March 2nd.”
Huber said he started observing plants in his parents’ vegetable garden at age five. His grandparents were also avid gardeners. One side of the family owned a 93-acre farm, which included a large-scale vegetable garden and fruit trees. His other grandfather, who lived in Connecticut, had a passion for woodland native plants.
He entered his first Flower Show in 2006, bringing three plants. In 2007, he brought another three. It was in 2008 when he entered dozens of plants, including the voodoo lily.
What’s so fun about the corpse flower?
“I think it’s just the unique qualities that draw me to it. Everyone sees flowers but what about one 6-7-feet-tall? The plant is fun to grow, and really isn’t all that hard. Growing these kinds of plants is just one of the things that make horticulture worthwhile.”