Overwintering Colocasia Illustris/Black Magic

lolaky(Z6KY)September 27, 2005

Any ideas on overwintering Colocasias inside? I have tried leaving them in their pots (they slowly died/rotted) and I have tried digging them up and saving the bulbs (they dried up)... I know they are a little different/diifficult than alocasias (the green ones) to overwinter. I have no trouble with alocasias- both ways they do fine. Any advice? I live in Zone 6 & can't leave them outside. P.S. Don't try to bring an Illustris or Black Magic in your house (whole plant) like I did last winter- the black "sap" permanently stained my carpet & walls!

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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I have dug and overwintered 'Black Magic' and other Colocasias in a pot under fluorescent lights. Let them pretty much dry out between waterings, leave off the fertilizer, and they will be semi-dormant. They don't look very good, but come mid to late spring and warm temps outdoors they'll rebound quickly.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 11:05AM
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lolaky(Z6KY)

Thanks for the reply! Actually, I did exactly the same thing last year, but now I think I just over watered. Three plants ( one large Black Magic & 2 baby Ilustris) went from my living room to the lights in the basement after they started not looking good & making a mess. They did barely grow & I didn't water too much, but alot was rotted when I repotted in spring . I didn't want to uproot a big 6' plant, so I took runnners & started them in pots a month or so before frost. Pots are not an issue, but what do you do for colocasias in the ground?
It's difficult to enjoy/want to save money & overwinter tropicals without a green house, etc... I try & creatively stuff my little living room with about 8 or so 4-6' plants every winter. I also do the light thing in the basement, but there's only so many that I can put down there, also. Anybody else out there with overwintering struggles?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 4:51PM
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angsaidso(NYS)

Hi there Lola! My name is Angela and I also find challenges in over wintering my Ears. I have 60 varieties of ears, all of which overwinter fine if I meet a few criteria. Since these are tropical as we all know, they require huge amounts of humidity. I use a special damper on my dryer vent in winter that allows me to pump the moist heated air into the house instead of outdoors. This helps keep my humidity up during the dry cold months. I find if you can match their outside requirements inside, you will be okay. I use grow lights and keep my house temperatures up around 72 or higher during the winter months. Also, all grow lights are on for ten to twelve hours, mimicking the outdoor sunlight of summer. I water my colocasias heavy without incident. But I found that ALL summer growth requirements must be met. Otherwise, they rot. Mine continue to grow (knocking on wood)without any problems. At least thus far. I know what you mean about the greenhouse though! I don't have one either and just about every vertical surface in my house has a few plants, if not buried in them! Peace ~ Ang

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 2:18PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

I definitely don't have room inside the house (thanks for the black sap warning!), so I am going to try one in the basement 55-65 degrees under flourescent lights. I have them sit above trays of pebbles in water, so humidity is usually decent, but it may not like the temps.

I thought I would try another just going dormant like canna, dahlia etc, but I just dug it out of its pot and there was no bulb/corm/tuber. I was quite surprised to see just regular fibrous roots. Mine is Illustris.

So I guess that means my choices are limited to basement under lights.

I suppose I could try a fibrous rooted plant going dormant. I guess I've got nothing to lose. Never done that before except a failed attempt with geraniums and fuschia.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 11:42AM
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farmgirl40(z5MO)

I overwinter Black Magic. They are planted in a pot. I just cut them off and put them in a closet in the house. When spring comes take them outside, start watering and they start growing again.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 11:52PM
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tombootom

I have overwintered Black Magics in the ground with mulch for several years, though they are some of my toughest questionable hardiness plants to maintain as I can't seem to control rot on the big mother "bulbs", though I always get volunteers to come up. In any case, I usually pull a few plants to separate and share with friends and have a method that works for me. Here is what I do:

- Pull the main plant after your first hard frost.
- Cut off all frost damaged material and remove any dirt
- Take the remaining "bulb", turn it upside down and place it over an air register in your house to dry out the moist stem (usually a day or two) and prevent rot.
- Place the main "bulb", volunteers attached, in a cool location in some sort of moisture retaining medium.
-Sometime around early Feb (you can try later, but I have a little green house I set up around then for veggies and annuals, so that's when I do it).
-Separate the main plant from the volunteers and then pot everything up individually in regular potting soil.
-Place in a warm, bright location and in about 10 days, you will begin to see small leaves begin to emerge. The plants always grow well for me and are in good shape to go in the ground when April comes around.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 10:13PM
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bubba62

'Black Magic' usually winters over in the ground here, but I always keep a few through the winter for insurance purposes. I've found that potting up small divisions in 4" containers in the fall is the best way to go; when planted out in spring these always equal or surpass the large plants I've carried over from the previous year by August, given enough water and food. They can be held in these pots all winter on a windowsill or under lights - they'll be potbound by the time you plant them out, but seem to do just fine. This is the method I use with 'Antiquorum Illustris' and several other stoloniferous varieties.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 3:20AM
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ccckoball(z 8)

where would be the best place that I can I post a "wanted" for black magics? None of mine made it through our hard winter up here in seattle, despite my efforts.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I've tried several tactics to overwinter 'Black Magics' this winter. So far I haven't lost one yet. Just a few months to go!

1) Some I potted up and kept in basement under lights. Temp about 70 degrees. Lights on for about 14 hours. They only keep about one or two leaves at a time. And those droop when they need water. So I water when dry. They are prone to spider mites at this temperature.

2) Potted and kept in my cool garage. These look about the same as the ones in the basement. I water when dry. I can let these go a bit dryer due to cooler temps. Temps run from minimum of 45 up to maybe 60 during warm spells. (I have heater in there to keep above freezing).

3) Water-bucket method. In Fall dig plants, hose off ALL the dirt, trim some roots, dead leaves, and leave one only or two leaves. Place plants in buckets of water maybe 3-4 inches deep. Occasionally dump water, trim off dead tissue and refill. My two buckets of Black Magics seem to be doing fine this way too. These I keep in my cool garage. The cooler temps keeps the water from turning stagnant. This method does require some maintenance of dead tissue removal and water replacement, otherwise water will stagnate, but I don't think it's any more work than worrying about keeping pots watered. I'll probably have to pot these up next month.

So.... take your pick. I believe Black Magics are worth wintering over. They're my favorite.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:11AM
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ccckoball(z 8)

Thanks for vender source recommendation! I'm going to give it another try and am expecting the shipment soon. This year I decided to go with a dozen black ruffles rather than black magic. perhaps I'll have better luck with it, if I can get my greenhouse completed by fall (lol).

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:21AM
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greenpassion(z4-z5 VT)

I have two black magicss in pots on my deck. I also have two helena's (bright bright green leaves, an alocosia?)and I thought that all I had to do was treat them like dahlia's? I live in Vermont,zone 5.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 10:16AM
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Mac_Trader

Hello Everyone
I have a Thailand Giant Colocasia and need some advice about overwintering. This is the first one I have tried to overwinter.
I grew it in a 16" pot outdoors until after the first hard frost. I then cut the leaves off and brought it into my walkout basement. My plan was to overwinter in the pot. The basement is bright and about 61 F right now, it will cool down to about 55 F soon. I have not watered the plant since I brought it in. My problem is that the plant is continuing to grow slowly, new leaf stalk is growing from the center of large stalk. Should I do something different or do you think it will survive under these conditions?
Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:55AM
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ctnchpr

@Mac, We're in the same boat, I'm trying to overwinter one, and can't find any information.

I was concerned that the bulk of the "body" was petiole stubs, with very little tuber, so I repotted it and will overwinter it as a house plant.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:09PM
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wsg89

I have overwintered a variety of aroids many different ways for years. I've left them in paper bags in the dark, sitting in sand in the garage, and heavily mulched in the ground. My favorite way is to cut all but one leaf back before the first freeze and put them in pots under grow lights. The shed is heated to about 60F and they get watered about every 2 weeks. I end up with a month head start the next spring...

Here is a link that might be useful: okcpalms.com

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:04PM
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Mac_Trader

Thanks for the responses.
This picture is where I am today. All the new growth has happened in the past month after the first frost and after the leaves were cut off.
At this rate it will fill my entire growing area long before Spring.
My current thinking ( because I don't know how to make it go dormant )is to reduce watering, cut off excess growth that shows up during the winter and hope I can keep it on life support until Spring.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:14AM
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carol_user_4dcd74a0c3b7f

I have had great success with overwintering Black Magic indoors, watering only sparingly. Room temperature was 68-70 degrees and good filtered light. All summer, they are in my pond with their feet wet and they couldn't be happier.

I have also had success with overwintering the Giant Thailand by moving the pot and all into my garage under a grow lamp. Again, I watered sparingly as I believe you can easily cause root rot while these plants are in dormancy.
Hope that helps!
Carol

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 6:53PM
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carol_user_4dcd74a0c3b7f

I have had great success with overwintering Black Magic indoors, watering only sparingly. Room temperature was 68-70 degrees and good filtered light. All summer, they are in my pond with their feet wet and they couldn't be happier.

I have also had success with overwintering the Giant Thailand by moving the pot and all into my garage under a grow lamp. Again, I watered sparingly as I believe you can easily cause root rot while these plants are in dormancy.
Hope that helps!
Carol

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 6:54PM
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