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Saving Elephant Ears Bulbs

Category Bulbs
Elephant ears are not cold hardy, so in colder climates you will want to dig them and store them over the winter. This is a guide about saving elephant ears bulbs.


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By 0 found this helpful
September 1, 2017

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.


September 1, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.
Most flower companies that sell bulbs will mark them with a best before date. While the flower bulb shelf life may last for more than one season when stored properly, be aware that the quality of the flower decreases with each season that the bulb does not go into the ground.

Here is a link with some information on this subject.

https://www.gar  b-shelf-life.htm

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October 27, 20131 found this helpful

How do I store my elephant ear bulbs?

By David from Nashville, TN


November 4, 20131 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

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By 0 found this helpful
November 13, 2009

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

By Merrill Bolender


November 14, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

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By 1 found this helpful
October 20, 2015

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?


October 26, 20171 found this helpful

This is called a tuber.

  1. Leave this a few days to dry out. Store in a cool, dry spot for winter. Use either peat moss or dry potting soil to store the bulb.
  2. In Tahiti these grow year round because we don't have cold winters.
  3. If you live in areas like California or Arizona. you can cover the ground with a heavy top layer of soil to protect the bulb during the winter months. Otherwise, dig it up and store it for winter.
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By 0 found this helpful
April 5, 2019

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.


April 6, 20190 found this helpful

You can remove some mushy spots at the top of the bulb. If there is damage in other areas, the bulb must be discarded.

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April 6, 20190 found this helpful

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.

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April 7, 20190 found this helpful

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.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 22, 2014

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.

By kb


March 22, 20140 found this helpful

The same thing happened to me but I'm going to try planting them anyway.

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March 24, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful
By Ellen Brown

How can I save bulbs from Caladiums and Elephant Ears to use next year? My elephant ears are still huge.

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.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Saving Elephant Ears Bulbs

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)

By Chris

Saving Elephant Ears Bulbs

I store Caladium, Dahlias, and Cannas all in peat moss in the basement over the winter. Had them for years. (10/20/2006)

By Beth

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