elephant ears

janisoga(Atl, GA)November 1, 2009

My EE are gigantic, at least 6' tall 4' wide - planted in the spring. Would like to let them winter in the ground as I have no basement, do I cut them down? Now or later? Please help. Thanks. Also what is the best to do for canas and cana lillies for the winter? I must have beginners luck as they were gorgeous all summer too. Thanks for your help!

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I am in west Marietta -- it gets pretty cold here most winters. Both my neighbor and I have elephant ears and callas and cannas. (Dahlias too.)

I have never been efficient enough to get them out of the ground and they come back every year.

This may have something to do with where they are sited -- neighbors are next to her foundation -- mine are by a stone wall. Maybe this provides a little shelter?

If you are willing to risk losing them, give it a try. Leave them in the ground and then mulch over with chopped up leaves or something.

I'm guessing they will come back.

Ooops - wait -- are your elephant ears the fancy, super-tropical kind? If you know the variety, maybe look them up...... I know there are some that are enormous and can really only handle warm weather. Someone here sent a link to a site that sells them -- in Florida, I think. Search elephant ears on this site and see what you find.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 6:39AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

I watched Gardening in Georgia last year or year before. Walter Reeves said just covering in a pile of well-placed pine straw can do the trick, this will act like insulation. The elephant ears we had we never touched, they were up under a 2nd story deck, in the coldest area of my yard, and they lasted through the last couple snows without being removed from the ground, and without anything more than hardwood mulch that we mulch the whole yard with.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 3:32PM
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janisoga(Atl, GA)

Thanks to both of you - My Elephant ears, canas & cana lilies are all free standing, not near a wall or house and w/ no basement, I'm going to count on what you said and feel comfortable leaving them in the ground. BUT - you forgot to answer -- do I cut them down now or let them die out and go dormant on their own or WHAT? Thanks for your help.
When I have some time I will post picture for your enjoyment.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:27AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

I just left mine be, and the first couple nights of chilly, freezing weather took them out in DEC/JAN. But, if it makes you feel better, you may consider cutting them back.

The important thing to remember is, as long as the root doesn't freeze, it's porbably coming back the next year (unless a dog, squirrel or something else digs it up and runs off with it).

I like to let nature take its course. I'd leave it be, let it do its cycle, and wait till next spring. If it's not back by May/June when the ground starts warming up, then ... time to score a new root!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 4:16PM
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I do the same thing. This time of year (freeze time) is so busy, I always forget to do anything in the garden until it's too late anyway. Boy, do those elephant ear stems get slimy after they have frozen! Good for the soil, I assume.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 8:33AM
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