Elephant Ear Bulbs - what do I do now?

rhrohdeNovember 3, 2010

We planted some elephant ears this summer, after buying the bulbs on close-out for 50 cents. We were very surprised and happy on what they grew into! But now, after searching the internet, I am still wondering what to do. I cut off the growth and dug up the bulbs as I read they would not survive up here in Wisconson in the ground over winter. There are 4 parts I am not sure on...

1. Roots - the spaghetti like roots. I assume I should cut these off. Correct?

2. The old bulb - 1 of them separated from its new growth and hte other 2 are still attached. Do I save these and replant? Should I separate from the new growth or keep attached?

3. The stalks - cut them off about 4-6" above ground and now they are drying out. How much of these do I cut off?

4. What I'll call the 'new bulb'. This is above the old root and immediately connected to the stem/leaves. Is this the new bulb that gets planted?

Any help would be appreciated. I have a pic and will try to figure out how to post it. If I do, I'll post the link here.



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Link to picture:

Click on the small dot above the word Elephant and you will get my pic.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:21PM
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I'm no expert, but I hope this helps...

1. Yes, trim the roots - and wash off all the dirt.

2. Save the old corm that is detached, it may produce another plant. It would probably be a good idea to put Rooting hormone on the new corm where it was attached. The hormone has a fungicide which could prevent rot from starting at that point. Leave the others attached.

3. From your photo, it looks like you have cut them about as short as needed. The petiole stubs will dry up, one by one, and you can remove them as they do.

4 Yes, that is what you plant next year.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Very difficult to tell what you are growing from the photo of the tubers Rick but it is likely Colocasia esculenta. This is the most commonly grown form of "elephant ear.

Despite common misconceptions, you do not have a bulb or a corm, your plant is growing from a tuber since all the roots grow from the top. Read the link below and it will tell you the differences. All aroids grow from tubers, not corms or bulbs.

Your plant could also be a Xanthosoma or one of several other genera. Look at this link and hopefully you can tell the difference. Tubers, bulbs and corms all all very different physically despite the fact they are all starch storage units and underground stems.


There are hundreds of leaf forms to this species due to natural variation.

Sounds like you did it right.


Here is a link that might be useful: bulbs, corms, tubers, stems, etc

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 2:30AM
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