Winterizing Elephant Ears plants is a must if you grow them as perennials. This beautiful tropical plant makes an excellent ornamental plant. Their large deep green leaves which are bold, are their most distinguishing feature.
The Colocasia Taro is not cold hardy. Being a tropical plant, It is best grown in areas with high-temperature levels. Storing Elephant Ear bulbs is your best chance of it surviving the cold winter. And this is how you can get this done.
How To Winterize Elephant Ear Plant.
Step 1. Identify the Colocasia Variety
Some Colocasia varieties like the ‘Pink China” are cold and hardy. So it helps to know which variety of the exotic plant you’re growing. Do some research, and check if your Elephant Ears are cold hardy. If they aren’t you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2. Dig Up The Bulbs and Tubers
Next, you dig up your Elephant ears and tubers from the ground. This should be done using sterilized tools. Start by cutting off the plant’s foliage with a knife or scissors. Be careful when doing this, so you don’t harm the exotic species.
Once this is done, get a shovel and dig out the bulbs or tubers. Start digging at the plant’s base. This would give you an idea of how wide the plant is underground. Once this is done, pull out the bulbs from the ground and dust them.
Step 3. Select The Best Bulbs
Before cleaning the bulbs, ensure you inspect each of them. The goal is to store the healthiest and biggest tubers. So be on the lookout for signs of decay or pest damage. If you do notice any of these, dispose of them and keep the healthy bulbs.
Step 4. Clean The Bulbs
After selecting the best and healthiest bulbs, you would need to clean them. Do this with a bucket of water. Rinse off the excess dirt debris from the body of the bulbs.
Avoid using brushes, as this might leave tiny scratches on the tubers. You can spray them or with natural oils like Neem oil to help prevent pests.
Step 5. Remove The Remaining Foliage.
You would need to trim or prune the excess foliage attached to the tubers. Do this with sterilized scissors or a knife. The stems located at the top of the bulb should be trimmed first. Do not cut it too close to the tuber. Leave an inch or two.
Next are the excess roots. Cut off the extra root foliage and separate the bulbs from each other. Smaller bulb offshoots can be joined together.
Step 6. Dry The Bulbs Or Tubers
You would need to dry the Elephant Ears plant Tubers next. Doing this would help keep the outer skin tough. It would also keep it moisture-free which then reduces the chances of rot or decay.
Pick and store the tubers in a spot with regular room temperature. Wherever you dry them should be dark, and allow enough air circulation.
Step 7. Store the Elephant Ears bulbs
Now it’s time to store them for the winter. Before doing so, you would need to wrap them up. Use light brown paper or any paper, but make sure it isn’t wrapped too tight. Once this is done, cover them up and keep them in a cool yet dry place.
You can check back on the tubers often for signs of pest damage. If you notice any, ensure you treat them and dispose of the infected tuber.
When Do I Dig Up Elephant Ear Bulbs
The option of digging out Elephant ears can be done anytime during the winter. Although they are frost-hardy, they do have some level of tolerance. But, it is advised that you never expose your Elephant ears to frost. Ensure you dig out your Colocasia variety before the first sign of winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Elephant Ears bulbs when stored well can last as long as 3 years. It should be stored in a dark cool place.
Yes, these rhizomes are known to divide. And it can be easy to propagate them through division.
Elephant ears have fast growth. Expect their shoots after 3 to 8 weeks from bulbs.
Yes, but it depends on the variety and hardiness zone. A USDA hardiness zone range of 7-11 is okay.
Elephant ears are Perennials, which means they come back every year. They would need protection from the cold winter.