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How do I store my elephant ear bulbs?
By David from Nashville, TN
I brought them in in a laundry bag, and hung it up on a nail on the wall. I have so many more this year I will have to find somewhere else to store them or give them as gifts.
You can use an onion bag, or any bag with holes in it, or any place they stay dry and get air.
I love Elephant Ears, and I can't wait to plant them again next year!
I dug up my elephant ear bulbs today and it appears that the original bulb that I planted has rotted or gone soft. Since this is my first year doing this, I'm not sure what else I should be seeing. Is the portion at the bottom of each stalk a new bulb?
I live in Indiana and therefore must dig up my elephant ears every fall and store in an attached garage. This has worked well for me for several years, but this winter was brutally cold. I'm sure they were in temperatures below freezing for several days at a time. Should I assume they're dead and buy new? I'm on an extremely tight budget, but I'd really hate it if I wound up with none coming up this year.
The same thing happened to me but I'm going to try planting them anyway.
If they didn't make it, big grocery stores should have taro bulbs in the veggie section. They don't get as big as the elephant ears do but 3 or 4 in a pot make a nice showing and they aren't nearly as expensive. Taro is used in Hawaii to make poi.
I dig up my elephant ear tubers each fall. Now I read about those that have a problem with their remaining tubers in the ground keep coming back each spring. Why dig them up each fall if they survive the winters in the ground?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
I *think* it depends on your zone. I have one near a picture window that comes back every year, too (I'm in 7a). I just looked at a hardiness zone map, and your zone gets quite a bit colder than mine (-15 to -20 vs 5 to 0). If you want to give it a try, I'd suggest leaving only a couple in the ground for the first year. So you don't lose all of them if it's just too cold. Best of luck!
I agree with Mrs Story. Try leaving a couple in the ground but cover them good with lots of mulch of some kind. I also live in 7a/b and leave mine in the ground. I just cut them back (that's my job for tomorrow) and cover them up with leaves. Every year they come back bigger and better. For that matter, from one bulb only that I planted 16 yrs ago, I have dug it up and split it 5 times making 8 new plants. 2 of which I'll have to split again tomorrow.
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My Elephant Ears and Patio Peach Tree are the same size. It looks unusual looking down from the stairs and seeing those giant Elephant Ears. They were not that big when I bought the pot of them at the nursery.
Photo Location The chicken enclosure wire keeps the dogs from stomping down the Elephant Ears. Each year I dig up the bulbs and there are dozens more to save over the year in the house for the next Spring!
This is under our porch rail. I had an area set aside for the chicks to exercise during the spring. After they leave for the year to their loving homes, then I plant out the Elephant Ears. The Patio Peach Tree is very fragrant. They are small peaches and have not been edible as of yet.
The chicken enclosure wire keeps the dogs from stomping down the Elephant Ears. Each year I dig up the bulbs and there are dozens more to save over the year in the house for the next Spring!
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Hardiness Zone: 7a
Elaine from Charlottesville, VA
You can use the same method to store both types of tubers over winter. As soon as the tops turn yellow and start to die back (usually the first or second fall frost), carefully lift the plants out of the ground. Go ahead and cut the stems back to the tubers, but leave the roots and any soil attached intact. Allow the tubers to cure for a week or two and then clean off the remaining soil and trim the roots. Dusting the tubers with a fungicide before storage is optional. An easy way to do this is to shake them in a paper bag filled with a bit of dust. The tubers can be layered in a box filled with dry peat, sand, sawdust or vermiculite. Stored in a dry room at temperatures between 50-55ºF. Check on them periodically. If they appear to be shriveling due to moisture loss, sprinkle them with a few drops of water.
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You should wait to pull the bulbs out until they are done for the season. So long as they are still green and leafy they are still making food for the bulb. Once they are done, cut the foliage off and store the bulbs in a cool dry place. They can be wrapped in newspaper, stored in dry peat moss or saw dust would work too. Do not allow them to freeze though. Once the ground is thawed and the risk of frost is past you can replant them. (10/09/2006)
I store Caladium, Dahlias, and Cannas all in peat moss in the basement over the winter. Had them for years. (10/20/2006)