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Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Posted by kellyschofield z7b NC (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 11, 05 at 18:21

As dormancy approaches and my collection has grown larger, I'm hoping that some of you who grow many of the tuberous aroids; Amorphs, Arisaema, Typhonium, Arum, etc, will give some additional insight to the rest of us regarding your treatment of tubers at lifting. I have been doing this several years with good success and very little loss, but was wondering how some of you treat yours, especially the more finicky ones like A. hewetii, titans, etc. Washing? Drying? Soaking in fungicide? Which fungicide? Storage: Dry? in soil (titan and hewetii of course) ? temperature stored? etc. Like I said, I have good success, but any additional thoughts and advice would be great.
Kelly


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Kelly - are your arisaemas, arums, and typhoniums not hardy? Mine are, and I just leave in ground.

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Many of mine are hardy, but I lift many of them that should be hardy because I only have a few at this time. Here in NC, the winters tend to be wet and cool: bad things for most tuberous aroids. I don't have my beds raised and drained enough to risk some of my plants. Most of the ones that aren't hardy for me, wouldn't be for you either like T. varians, T. glaucum, Arisaema maxwelli, etc. I have tons of Amorphs in pots that will be going dormant promptly and will probably do my standard washing/drying/storage, but I did lose a few last winter to rot and hoped others had insight into additional strategies for treatment. Thanks.
Kelly


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

I have been adding orchid bark mix to my soil at planting, hoping to improve the drainage even more than that of my usual mix. So far, I haven't had any problem with my elephant ears - colocasia esculenta, or alocasia macrorhiza, or arum maculata. I even put a plastic bag of mulch over the macrorhiza last year, and still the bulb was okay and it multiplied several times over this year. It was gooey mess when I pulled the bag off in late spring, too.

The only thing I have had a problem with rotting is rhododendrons so far. We'll see this year with my arisaema nepenthoides. I have other bulbs - not aroids in the yards as well - lilies, cardiocrinum, petasites (rhizomatous), hardy tuberous begonia, polygonatum, etc., but so far, no rot. It may be because it is a south facing exposure, so that it dries out quickly because of the many decidious trees whose roots absorb the moisture as well.

I've planted a lot more this year, though, so we will have to take a "wait and see" approach. I know amorphs are a bit more sensitive, but I've never really known that to be true of arisaemas. Maybe it is also because the soil does not get so cold as the air?

We never know what our winters are going to be like - they could be really really wet, or really really dry.

Kelly - do you use a fungicide? I've also heard that recommendation, and, if so, what kind?

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Kelly, okay, after visiting other sites and reading a lot on this site in particular, I think the best thing to do is to dig them up, wash the dirt off, let the tubers dry, dust them with some sulphur or powdered fungicide to discourage any rot, put them in the foot part of pantyhose with at least 12-18" of the leg portion left, and hang them up in a cool closet for winter storage. Kelly is a non-gender specific name, so I don't know if you're male or female. If male, go to the dollar store if you're not married, and buy some cheap knee-high pantyhose.

Or, and this is a method I learned about on the dahlia forum, and I think this would be great for aroid tubers as well. After dusting with sulphur/fungicide, wrap them tightly in saran wrap, and store them in boxes in a cool location, between 35-50 degrees. Dahlia tubers rot easily, too, so I am assuming that if this works well for them, it will probably work well for aroids. I am going to try it for some of my tubers of more common aroids - like C. Illustris and Black Magic - easily replaceable ones. Apparently, it is not the issue of air circulation, but the issue of keeping them dry and rot-potential-free. The tubers have to be dry, totally dry.

Another woman used shredded paper to store hers in, and the saran wrap. She said the tubers in saran wrap fared much better.

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

I am very surprised to hear anyone suggesting wrapping taro or dahlia tubers in Saran wrap. Everything I have read, observed or tried has led to the conclusion that plastic or Saran will cause these to rot. Shredded or crumpled newspaper allows air movement and wicks away rot causing moisture. Can you supply a source for this info? Sandy


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

The strategy that I've used for my 50+ species of Amorphs as well as my Arisaema, ALocasia, Colocasia, Taccarum, Typhonium, etc. is to let go dormant, remove from the soil to clean and dry COMPLETELY! For my Colocasia/Alocasia, I typically powder with sulfer, but haven't used any fungicide with my tuberous aroids. I checked with other folks like Dan Devor and Alan Galloway, and they typically don't use fungicide, but DO let things DRY DRY DRY! I am sure that placing any of your aroids in plastic of any sort would be a disaster. For some of mine, they go in dry peat and boxes, others just on the shelf or in a PAPER bag. I typically lose paeonifolius each year over winter and am hoping for some new trick with those. Even Dan and Alan have told me they tend to lose those, though Alan has a paeonifolius the size of a basketball. Any additional idea would be great.


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Okay, Sandy, and I know you're going to think I am crazy. But I heard this on another forum to use for tubers of another plant. A plant also inclined to rot. So, I'm thinking I will try this with one of my alocasias or colocasias and see if it works.

Just go to the Dahlia forum and read all about it. They all swear by it; most have tried both methods (dry storage and saran wrapping) and have found that the saran wrap works best. I know, I found it hard to believe myself. But, I've got to try it to see if it works.

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

I went to the Dahlia forum and read the info and have been thinking hard about it and the way we store food. While I am not totally convinced, there may be some evidence for it in situations where the cool air is too moist. I rarely lose any tubers from dehydration. Most losses are due to rot which is caused by bacteria or fungi that thrives in moist conditions. Plastic has always been a problem because it traps moisture, which encourages rot etc.,etc. So if the tubers are allowed to dry very thoroughly and dusted with a fungicide I can see where the saran might be successful. I'm not sure it would be as successful with bulbs that don't form a dry skin the way the dahlias do, for example, lilies. I don't think I am going to try this unless I have a lot of extras to risk and keep very good notes.Lots of fruits and veggies are shipped with nitrogen pumped into the packing cases which slows down spoilage. I wonder if Dalhia tubers give off a lot of nitrogen? Sandy


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

Good question, Sandy. I don't know that much about dahlias, altho I'm going to try winter sowing some Stargazers. No, I don't think I would try that with lilies, especially the ones with scaly bulbs. I didn't mean to imply it was a safe alternative for all bulbs, tubers, and corms. I am just saying that some aroid tubers are very similar in texture to say the colocasia and alocasia tubers. I have a ton of Illustris and Black Magic, which is why I am going to risk some of them and see if it works. I agree they must be absolutely dry and dusted with a fungicide, but I think they mention that on the dahlia forum as well (don't recall, though). I wonder if one of those little silicon packets which maintains prevents the development of moisture in, for example, medications, would be helpful?

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

I have an unusual set of circumstances that most would envy. I planted albo maculatum around a fountain pool for a wedding that took place in June ( I started them indoors in February). They were supposed to grow about 16-18 inches tall but instead are at least 24 inches and many are way above that. They dominate the pool surround where people could sit but now they can't. The Callas looked beatutiful for the wedding and now there are spotted leaves left over. I wouldn't mind lifting them out of the ground now and drying them out but this forum talks about dormancy. Do I have to wait until Fall to do this? How do you tell when dormancy is? If I do have to wait I won't plant them in same location next year. BTW what are the small round items in pods? Seeds? Should I save them and plant in Spring? Thanks for any assistance.


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

What you are seeing are the berries, and the seeds are inside the berries. After the berries have ripened (the stalk will turn brown, you can clean the pulp of the berry from the seed and plant the seed. It needs to be planted quickly and not allowed to dry out. Fresh seed is more likely to be successful.

Allow the foliage on your callas to turn brown, and then you can pull it off, dig up the bulbs, or store the pots indoors over winter. You might want to give them a tiny bit of water occasionally just to keep the tubers from dessicating. Once you begin to see new growth in spring, start watering and feeding them, and as soon as it's warm enough, put them outside.

I'm going to leave mine in the ground, but our winters are much drier than yours. So less problem with rotting.

You can also allow the tubers to dry, pull off all the foliage, etc., and store them in peat moss or something like that, in a paper bag or shoe box over winter, and plant them out again next spring.

Susan


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

I had excellent luck last year just pulling out the tubers, putting them into a cardboard box, the kind you buy fruit in, and putting them on a shelf in the garage. I waited until the first frost had startled them and then dug them up. This year I'm going to separate the colours because I prefer one colour per pot but they all did well, extremely well. We've not yet had a frost but this weekend "Sandy" is going to bless us, no doubt. I love this forum; thank you for all your wise insight


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RE: Dormant tuber handling in fall/winter

great dialog!! :) i struggled for a couple yrs
with some of my EE's overwintering..a good guy i got best info from brian williams.. was for my colocasias to pot up..what i did last yr..and i dont think i lost but a couple..i have over 100 EE's sigh..LOL i kept them bareroot,placed them in big tubs and covered up past the roots with shredded leaves..i kept the leaf mix just barely
moist.. no rot..and roots were firm come late april when i potted them up..yea !! :)


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