Overwintering tender bulbs

rolrod(5)September 30, 2009

So this was my first year growing caladiums, elephant ears, and dahlias from bulbs. I'm in Chicago and I'm worried about waiting until first frost, which as you may know can come without warning.

For Caladiums: I have started pulling some of the ones that look like they're dying now, but I was hoping to get some detailed info on overwintering them. I've read to put them in flats, or in mesh bags with peat moss if space is limited.

Here are some details for storage locations:

1. The basement, which stays pretty warm all winter due to the washers/dryers and the boilers. I'd say it stays between 70 and 90 degrees all winter.

2. I have a storage closet inside, which probably stays at 60 - 70 degrees, but could potentially drop to the 50s since it is in the front stairwell.

If I store Caladiums in flats, how well ventilated does it have to be? Should I cover them in plastic to keep bugs off? I was thinking maybe aluminum roasting pans, would that work?

What about the Elephant Ears? I have three - plain Esculenta, Black Magic, and Illustris.

The Dahlias I am a little less worried about because I got those in bulk at CostCo for cheap, but I'd be curious to try.

Thanks in advance!

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Never had luck with caladiums and never tried elephant ears. I have stored dahlias for about 15-20 years. After a frost kills the foliage I cut them back and leave the tubers in the ground for 10 days to 2 weeks (weather permitting). Then I dig them, leave them dry for a day (again, weather permitting), knock the excess dirt off and store them in peat in paper bags in the basement against a wall that stays cool. Your best bet sounds like the the storage closet.

tj

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 10:18PM
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