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which ones come in before frost?

Posted by cheerpeople z 5 IL (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 29, 04 at 6:54

We were supposed to have an early frost last night.
Didn't happen- although my garden was strewn with sheets just in case!

Which ones MUST come in before frost and sit on a windowsill. And which can get hit by frost and then stored in the basement like canna. I'd PREFER to do the later.

Bird of paradise (BOP)
Giant BOP
EE blackmagic.
aztec lily - sprekelia
EE portodora
pregnant onion

Please don't guess, only respond if you've actually had storage experience or know someone who has.

I lost quite ,a bit in my basement last year (even some fancy canna)- yet if it's a sure thing I'd prefer to store them there. It might have been to dry or too warm--- not sure for sweetpotato vine, c.striped beauty and some others that were stored there

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: which ones come in before frost?

Elephant ears (Colocasia) will usually show damage from even a light frost, and a hard frost will destroy the leaves BUT it won't kill the plant. I usually wait until a hard frost kills the foliage, then dig them up, cut off the leaves at the base, and let them dry out in a cool dry place. The bases of the leaves can be pulled off the tuber after they have finished drying out. I store the tubers cool and dry in my attic, and have had no problems (but then again my winter is a lot shorter than yours!).

This applies to the standard big green elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta). I can't comment on 'Portadora' which is an Alocasia--I haven't grown it.

Colocasia 'Black Magic' is a special case, in part because there are 2 completely different plants going around under this name. One is a clumper, and I can't really comment on overwintering it as I haven't grown it. The other is a runner and produces numerous long rhizomes, and has been re-named as 'Black Runner' but I've gotten it under the name 'Black Magic'. This one produces a very small tuber (even on giant plants) and I have never been able to overwinter it as a dormant tuber; it always rots. I have only been able to overwinter it by propagating it from the small plantlets that form at the ends of the runners and keeping them growing indoors over the winter.

RE: which ones come in before frost?

I am in zone 5b, and here is my experience:

Bird of paradise (BOP)- can not take frost - keep as a house plant
Giant BOP - same as above.

EE blackmagic - after frost kills leaves, lift and dry tubers, wrap in saran wrap, and keep in a cool, not cold, and dark place. Check every month to make sure it isn't rotting. You can also grow this as a house plant.
aztec lily - sprekelia - I have no experience with this but would think the saran wrap technique would work here, too. I would think it would be like other lilys - allow pot to dry out completely, DO NOT WATER, store in a cool, dark place until spring, then start watering lightly until it begins to grow again.
EE portodora - haven't grown this one.

pregnant onion - this makes a lovely house plant, blooming fragrant white blooms on long stems about mid-winter, if it gets sun. I have always grown this one as an attractive house plant.

RE: which ones come in before frost?

Bird Of Paradise NEEDS to come in. If it gets hit by a light frost, it will be a slow recovery - a hard frost will most likely kill it.

RE: which ones come in before frost?

Thx so much JohnnieB, reinbeaux and kayjones.

My garden had a mass exodus last night. I'm now landscaping in the livingroom! Trying to figure out how to arrange the plants so hubby and kids can still see the TV!

Oh I forgot about this one--I kept it as a houseplant last winter but do I have to? - EE macrorrhiza. Gees, it was just a tiny trade last fall- It must weigh #40 now!! The leaves are only 12" long tho- is that max size they will get?

Well I put it in the garage for now 'til yah LMK.

Thx again


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