Elephant Ears Cold Hardy?

sandienc(Z7 NC)September 16, 2006

Hi guys,

I have several elephant ears. Black magic, Illustrious, Black Runner, Green runner, etc. and live in zone 7. I've read that they are cold hardy to zone 7 and I've also read that they are not. Does anybody have the real scoop please?? I'd hate to leave them in the ground with mulch and loose them if they are not cold hardy here in NC

Thanks for any information you can give me.


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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

In zone 7, unless you already know they are hardy for you it's safest to overwinter them indoors and I wouldn't risk an unreplaceable plant. I'm zone 7a/b and have never had any Alocasia, Colocasia, or Xanthosoma survive in the ground over even a mild winter.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 4:51PM
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I've had them survive in places that stay dry in the winter; trouble is, very little of my garden has good drainage. I split the difference and pot up divisions every fall to winter over indoors. That way, if they don't survive (and frequently they don't), I have replacements available. The younger plants often outstrip the older ones in growth by this time of year, anyway.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 4:30AM
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sandienc(Z7 NC)

Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 9:15AM
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I would not leave them in the ground. Trouble with these tropicals is also excessive soil moisture over winter and our Eastern winters can be very wet, combined with cool/cold soil temps they are prone to rotting.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:20AM
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Hmmmmm, your comments are interesting - I am in zone 5b/6 and leave mine in the ground. I haven't lost them yet!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 7:17PM
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steve_nc_7b(7b NC)

Sandie, I grow and over winter outdoors, many different elephant ears, Alocasia as well as Colocasia. Like some other members have written above, the trick to it is raising the leavel of the bed by adding gross amounts of organtic matter. I add to my beds, ground up leaves, I add a lot of that, like 50%, also soil conditioner(pine bark that is ground pretty small), a bag of black cow and a bit of sand. This is how I make most of my beds, they reall take off, and they really like the drainage in the winter. I also have bananas I leave in the ground and many other tropical plants.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 9:55AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

There is one called Pink china in my greenhouse that is supposed to be ground hardy in zone 6. I'll let you know next winter. I didn't sell any of them this year because they were so small.
I overwinter the musa basjoo too. They are easy if you mulch them with bags of leaves after cutting off the stems after a hard freeze. The bags of leaves aren't so pretty, but they provide insulation, and also protection from excess moisture, and later on, in the spring, mulch! Maybe that would work with your elephant ears too?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 8:32AM
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I'm in NC zone 7b and they come back every year for me. No special treatment, just sandy soil with compost added. No mulching either!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 10:55AM
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In spring add some shredded vegetation. Maybe in April or May.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:07AM
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