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elephant ear white and mushy

Posted by sara82lee SE VA (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 20:27

Things are popping up out of the ground here, and I checked on my elephant ear today. I've had it for a few years, cut off all the leaves after the first frost, and leave the stumps, overwinter it in the ground. I was looking forward to dividing it this year. I've never had any problems with it - so far it's been a super easy plant.

But... Today I poked around a bit an pulled off the loose pieces of last years "stumps." It was white inside, and the texture of thick cake frosting. It's never looked like that before in the spring, and it doesn't seem right. Also picked out a few little white things that looked maybe like some kind of egg, but I'm not sure and I only found a few. Maybe leaf borer eggs. I seem to get leaf borers every spring, though I don't know what they look like. I just see the holes in the leaves after they open up in my cannas :(

A few feet away from the center of the plant it looks like the plant is sending up a shoot.

What could be wrong? Should I try to dig it up? What should I look for if I do? Should I destroy it all except the new little shoot on the side and start over? Or can the rest be saved?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: elephant ear white and mushy

It;'s not uncommon to get die-off in older parts of underground tubers. That can affect gingers, cannas, heliconias, aroids. Those older parts may become mushy as they break down and attract insects, moulds etc, depends what's in the soil really.
If you have fresh growing points that is great. If you are concerned, then you could dig up a good clump inclusive of the fresh shoot, and manually break or cut off any areas that look like they are mushy or diseased. A slight dust with sulfur powder or even cinnamon powder is helpful then re-plant. You might want to shift out some of the soil and replace if it looks like there is evidence of any cut-worms etc ready to re-invade.


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