Recently I was gifted an elephant ear. Upon removing it from the grower's pot, I notice that nearly the entire bulb was completely mush. The first photo is what was left, there are a few roots on either side. I potted it and I'm hoping for the best. Will it survive with the remaining roots? Or can it even survive with such a considerable amount of the bulb gone?
Thanks for any help!
These types of plants don't need a lot of water and it seems that the plant was over watered for some time to make the bulb of the plant like this. I live in the tropics and this plant is abondumt here and I have plenty of them around my yard. The plant is easy to grow and also to transplant. I have split my plants more than once and the only thing they actually need is a few roots to take off and grow again.
These do need water and fertilizer but not excessive amounts of either. Plant probably only needs a good watering once a week and mild fertilizer once a month during growing season.
Of course, a pot that has excellent drainage is a must and I hope you used all new potting soil.
Usually it is best to dry the roots out a little before repotting but hopefully this one will survive.
I recently read that you can help to prevent root rot by spreading some non-flavored cinnamon (organic). After clean-up just sprinkle a thin layer onto the healthy parts before placing into a bed or pot of new soil.
Hydrogen Peroxide can be used to help supply healing oxygen and it's cheap.
Use about 1/2 cup to 2 cups water for a small plant and just splash it on the ground around the plant.
Do this about 3 times over a 2- or 3-month period after repotting.
These links have good general information as well as advice about root rot. Also, you can contact either of these sites and ask questions about this plant or any plant problems you may have in the future. You will have to join the group first.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Can you store the elephant ear bulbs for more than 1 year without replanting them? I had about 15 areas with elephant ears and at the end of last season ended up with about 100 tubers.I couldn't use them all.
It is very hard to store bulbs and tubers more than a season but it can be done. You may loose a few but here is an excerpt from a bulb company.
Here is a link with some information on this subject.
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.
I love Elephant Ears, and I can't wait to plant them again next year!
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).
Do we tear the stem off of the elephant ear bulb after we have dug it up or leave it to completely dry?
Make a clean cut toward the base of the bulb(be sure not to tear) leaving maybe a inch or two from bulb!
In the tropics where I live we never have to store our bulbs or take them out. The plants grow year-round here on the islands. However, it is easy to store your bulbs for the winter and plant them again in spring. Here is a great site that will walk you through all the steps needed to store your bulbs and keep them safe for next spring. www.gardeningknowhow.com/
We run ours over with the lawn mower in the fall (like just recently) and they keep coming back every year, including in the place I don't want them and dug them up. They are hearty buggers and in Pittsburgh hard to kill no matter what you do!!
I store my bulbs in a paper bag in the garage.
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?
This is called a tuber.
I have been an owner of an elephant ear for the last year. It was my first try, and I left my pot outside all winter. However I did cut it back, but like I said before I didn't know to put it up in a dry area. It's very devastating because I love my plants!Is there any way I can save it? I also had gotten another bulb from a friend, but she pulled it out instead of digging it and may have ripped the main root. It still have some roots you can just notice where the main root was located.
You can remove some mushy spots at the top of the bulb. If there is damage in other areas, the bulb must be discarded.
Unless the bulbs are either total mush (look, smell, feel rotted all the way through--like you touch them in the smoosh between your fingers) or are totally dry, black, and literally disintegrate in your hands, they should grow back.
You don't say which variety you have (there are several) but that should not matter (even the loss of the main root usually does not kill these plants).
These are very hardy (at least where I am in Pittsburgh) and not much can be done to kill them.
I would suggest that when in doubt about anything to do with a new plant (or even an older plant) check out what USDA zone it grows best in so you can know better what climate changes are needed.
Everyone has given good advice about gently removing all the black or soft spots to see if anything is salvageable.
If any good roots are left, you can let it dry out a little (not in direct sunlight) and then try planting it in new soil or even in the ground.
Try the same thing with the bulb you received from your friend as there may be enough of the root system to survive.
Freeze and excess water root rot are the two worst things to happen to elephant ears.
If neither of these things work you may have to look for new bulbs. I have found several types at Walmart and Ace Hardware for $5-6.
Here are a couple of sites that have a lot of information about caring for elephant ears and what to do if they are damaged.
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.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
How can I save bulbs from Caladiums and Elephant Ears to use next year? My elephant ears are still HUGE!