Elephant ear- Large bulb type from Home Depot

dsacco85March 10, 2012

Last summer I grew a large Elephant Ear plant from a large bulb that I got from Home Depot for about 5 dollars. It grew great and eventually I overwinter in wood shavings in a cool place and it survived. So here is my question when i look at the bulb now the old bulb is at the bottom and it appears that a new bulb formed right on top of it. Looks almost like a snowman, I can wiggle where they connect but I am afriad to separate them until posting in here. I have attached two picture for you to see, I need some advice on if I should separate them. One bulb on right connected to new bulb from growing season on left, sorry took picture sideways with cell phone.


top picture


Here is a link that might be useful:

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eclayne(Z6a, MA)

Hi dsacco85, What you may have is probably Colocasia esculenta, Taro. Edible corms. Pics of the leaf should help in identification. As to the corm, yes you can detach the lower, mother corm, from the upper corm. Especially if it is already loose. I'd do that a week or so before planting in Spring. Are you zone 6? Often the mother corm will have rotted away by the time you lift for overwintering. If the old corm is hard it is likely fine and you can plant this in spring as well and offsets should form.

Colocasia corms must be kept dry which it sounds like you're doing. While it appears that where you cut the petioles, leaf stems is fine, please take care not to cut too close to the corm. The larger offset may be removed a week or so before planting in spring, to allow the break or cut to dry, as well.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:26AM
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When you separate the old and new tubers, dust the wounds with some ground cinnamon - it will help to dry and heal them, and will act as an antifungal agent.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:35PM
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eclayne(Z6a, MA)

ctn, I'd read that about cinnamon somewhere. Nice to have confirmation that it really works. I'll start doing that regularly this spring. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:48PM
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Thanks for posting this question, dsacco85. I hope you don't mind me adding to this thread but since it's the same subject I thought it would be better to keep these questions together for others who might be looking for the same answers later.

I also bought one of the giant elephant ear bulbs from Home Depot, it's very different from Colocasia. Mine grew from a grapefruit sized bulb to 2 grapefruit sized bulbs stacked one atop the other when I dug it last fall. The bottom bulb has shriveled badly over the winter but there are several smaller bulbs embedded into it. I'm very glad to read I can remove the lower section and plant the upper section seperate, should I dig out the smaller bulbs from the mother bulb or should I plant the whole thing and plan to seperate the bulbs this fall? Some could be easily detatched, but others are firmly embedded.

BTW, one of side bulbs broke off as I was loosening soil on Monday, by Wednesday it appears to have calloused over nicely. I was thinking of dusting them with old rooting hormone but cinnamon seems like a much better idea.

Also, I would agree with Evan that perhaps you should leave more top when you cut back next fall. I left about a foot of stem on mine and it dried quite well over the winter. On the other hand, my mother bulb did shrivel over the winter, I wonder if that would have a difference?

Fun thread.


Here is a link that might be useful: Old FB profile pic with giant EE

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:09AM
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I also bought one of the giant elephant ear bulbs from Home Depot, it's very different from Colocasia.

It's very different from my knee high Colocasia, rather.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:54PM
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eclayne(Z6a, MA)

Hi Jeanne. Species Colocasia esculenta regularly top 6' here from the larger corms. The original corms I bought from HD 4 years ago were larger than those I now get, probably due to the shorter growing season. Last year I experimented with yautia, Xanthosoma robusta, which they sell at the local Spanish markets for the price of potatoes. Nice big EEars.

Is the mother bulb hard or spongy?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Hi, Evan. The mother bulbs is quite spongey. There are about a half dozen eyes that are firm and, upon closer look, firmly embedded in it. Two are about half way down the bulb, the other four are near the top of the mother bulb. Since the top of the mother bulb slightly firmer than the bottom, my personal thought is to dig out the bottom two and leave the upper four in a slice of the mother bulb. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. I bought my EE last February, stuffed it under the bed and forgot about it until almost June. I was so glad to see it do as well as it did. This year I may get it in the ground in March, depending on what the weather looks like when the wound has calloused over. Two bulblets were potted up earlier this week.

I'll see if I can get a good picture in the morning. Thank you.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Hi all,

I'm surprised of the difficulty some are having keeping the original tuber. However storage should be in a cool dark location so it goes dormant. If kept in temps above 50 degrees or so it won't go dormant and will shrivel due to lack of water. I'm here in NE Pa and esculenta is the only specie HD sells here in tuber form so more than likely that is what you have.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Here are clickable pictures of my mother bulb. The first pic shows the bulblets embedded in the still fairly firm top section. The second picture shows one of the bulblets (center of the picture) in the spongey part of the mother bulb.

I would interested in any opinions, thanks.

Scott, I kept these where I usually keep my other Colocasias and Caladiums, those sailed through just fine despite the fact they were about 10-15 degrees above the usual temperature of that particular spot. The root cellar (usually below 40 degrees) was a complete disaster, everything I overwintered down there had sprouted by the time they came out. Somehow I've managed not to lose anything, so all's well that ends well.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 2:19PM
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eclayne(Z6a, MA)

Thinking back when I first bought these, three, all had a firm mother corm still attached when I lifted in fall. Made a beautiful hourglass shape. I separated 2 mother corms and all remained firm throughout winter. Planted all 5 and all did fine. Basement storage in paper bags with perlite. I don't use perlite anymore as it's so messy. Temps are around 50's low 60's F and DRY. I'm sure you're right about the 50F Scott but just don't have a spot that cold.

These days the mother corms are usually, but not always, gone or very rotted by the time I lift. Because they're smaller to start with?

Jeanne, From what you've written seems to me you know what needs doing and that's what I'd do. If yours are soft I'd cut away all the soft rot, see what's left and cut off whatever seems right. Then dust w/cinnamon. These things are very prolific here and by years end you'll probably be giving them away.

One of the things I did early on was peel off the dried petioles from the corm as soon as I could, usually in January. I'm thinking that's a bad idea as it promotes moisture loss. Now I just store them on there side. ??

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Hi Evan, thanks for the boost of confidence. That's exactly what I did. The lower bulblets dried away to nothing and aren't usable but the upper plate looks good and is drying nicely. I can see how these like to multiply, it would be nice to have a hedge of these along the back of my garden. I'm sure they would go like hotcakes at the plant swap too. Thanks again!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Jeanne if I understand what your saying you thought that because the tubers had sprouted it was a disaster. Not so most of the various species of plant tubers I store over the winter begin to sprout in February and March which is normal for them to do and means they made it through the winter.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:57PM
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