Is it time to dig Elephant Ears? they are wilting but not dead

maggie_berry(z6CT)October 30, 2005

Hi, this is my third year of trying to save my EE bulbs.

The frist year I think I dug them up way to late and then did not dry them out before storing because they looked dead. Last year I think I waited to long to dig them up and they experienced a hard freeze while drying on my deck. Right now they are very fleshy but wilted. For my zone am I early or late in digging the bulbes out. Thank you, Maggie

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What kind of elephant ears do you have - are we talking the plain colocasia esculenta that you find in large tuber size in the big bins at the nursery? Wilted is okay for the foliage. Most people here suggest (I leave mine in the ground, except I brought 3 in that are in pots) washing the dirt off the roots, allowing the fleshy roots to dry, get rid of the dried up foliage. Treat them with a powdered fungicide, and store them in dry peat moss or sphagnum moss.

However, there has also been some discussion about dessication of the tubers especially those of colocasia. They like a bit more water than alocasia. Someone else suggested potting them up in a light mix of peat/perlite or vermiculite/perlite 50/50, and watering about half a cup per month. In this case I would pot them at the same level they are in the ground, unless someone else comes on and says otherwise. If you have a fairly bright window, put them there - just don't put them near a heat vent, or a cold draft. They may not look like much come spring, but after you plant them back out in the yard, they'll revive.

Someone else suggested that you dry the tubers, cut off the dead foliage, put them down in the foot of a leg of pantyhose or a knee high, hang them up in a cool dark room and leave them alone until spring. I'm going to try this method to see how it works.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 4:55PM
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Thanks Susan, In the past the fleshy cut off stems become a messy slim when left outside. So I'm going to try the panty hose method also and the peat moss method. Thank You once again, Maggie

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 7:15PM
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The local gardening show on PBS indicated them being dug, leaves trimmed and brought in. You may want to dust them with sulphur as a fungicide.
I store them in dry sphagum moss in cardboard boxes in the basement till spring which comes March here. No plastic bags as they have to 'breathe'.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 8:33AM
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