Dracunculi vulgaris or dragon arums are particularly striking tuberous perennials bearing a single large maroon-flower with an almost black spadix, enhanced by bold leaves emerging from spotted buds. Sadly, their beauty is not measured by their strong and putrid aroma which is why dracunculi are best planted at the back of the border and away from any window. Luckily, their distinctive scent does not last and will fade after a few days.
Plant tubers around 15 to 20 cm deep in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade — ensuring that they have plenty of space to develop. Maintain the soil moist during growth and feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. Stop feeding once the flower has faded and provide a layer of organic mulch over the winter to help protect the crown.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Always wear gloves when handling and planting dranunculi tubers since they can cause skin irritation. They should never be eaten.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Dracunculi do not suffer from any serious diseases or pest problems.