November 4, 2014
November 4, 2014
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My sister and I both grew elephant ears for the first time this summer. We are wanting to store the tubers for the winter, so we dug the plants up this week. This probably sounds stupid, but we don’t see any tubers or bulbs, as some people call them. We thought we would have a large bulb when we dug them up, but all we see is roots and something thicker than the roots that could be tubers but they are only about 6″ long and about as round as a pencil. Are these things the tubers? They do not look like the bulbs we have seen for sale for elephant ears and they are not nearly as big as the tubers we store from cannas and other tropicals. Thank you for any help you can give us!
There should have been a tuber and with elephant ears. They are rather large - about the size of a softball, maybe a baseball. They would be round, brown and knobby. If you did not find one, it is possible that the soil where they were growing was poor and the plants were unable to replenish their tubers. I would check the area again, maybe a bit deeper. If you can't find anything, keep the thicker parts of the roots as tubers. They may be smaller due to not be able to store enough food over the summer.
When I received my plant, it started to put out new leaves and growing. Then the leaves started to turn yellow and fall off. I only have two leaves left. I watered it when dry and gave it a diluted 20-20-20-plant food. It sits in front of a west window.
There are many varieties of elephant ear (Colocasia,) but few of them make very good houseplants. They need more light than they can get indoors. Insufficient light is one reason it would be failing. Also, they need soil that doesn't go drier than slightly damp. Soil either too wet or too dry could cause the leaves to yellow and die. Learning too test soil moisture all the way to the bottom of the pot is very important with houseplants. This article could help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/testing-moisture-in-plants.htm
Also, it's easy to over fertilize potted plants, and foliage plants fresh from the grower don't need
fertilizer at all for the first 6 months. At this point, there's two things you can do. You can put the plant in higher light - (you may need to use supplemental light https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/hpgen/fluorescent-lighting-for-indoor-gardening.htm
keep the soil slightly damp but not wet, and give it time to adapt and start growing again. Or you can wait till all the leaves die back, move it to a dark and cool place to spend its dormancy, then take it outdoors in the spring. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/elephant-ear/growing-elephant-ears-indoors.htm
I brought my Elephant Ear plant indoors for the winter. It’s still in the pot. I keep it watered and it’s in a dark closet that is warm. It’s growing and growing. The stems and leaves are white and about 3 to 4 feet tall now, and it’s only November. My question is, should I keep cutting the growth back? It seems pretty persistent to keep growing in next to total darkness. What do you think?
There are two ways to treat elephant ears for the winter. One is to bring them inside, keep in a pot, and treat as a houseplant (a BIG houseplant) in high light. The other way is to wait till they die back, then dig up the rhizome, clean and dry it, and store it in a dark place for the winter. It sounds like you've got the two methods confused. I would take the plant out of the closet and give it light, since it seems bent on growing. This article has more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/elephant-ear/storing-elephant-ear-bulbs.htm
Depends on where you're located. If you're in zones 11, 10, 9, even 8, where the plants can grow outdoors all year, and you have an elephant ear that seems too big, or is growing where you don't want it, just cut back the in the way leaf stalk(s) to the ground. Or, if the plant is too big for its spot, you can transplant it to another position. This article has more information: https://www.gardenguides.com/92668-transplant-elephant-ear.html
If by any chance you're talking about cutting back plants for the winter, here's an article on overwintering them: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/elephant-ear/storing-elephant-ear-bulbs.htm
You could dig up some of the plant, looking for a corm, or small bulb, growing from the root. The corm will be able to send out a shoot. These articles have more information: https://www.gardenguides.com/92668-transplant-elephant-ear.html
I didn’t expect them to get so big so fast. I now have 6 plants growing in 1 big pot. I won’t be able to put them in the ground till like the end of May. All 13 of them are doing terrific, standing a strong 3-4 feet tall already, with huge leaves. Plan is to “dump” out the pots, separate the roots and put them individually in their own big pot. In about 2 weeks, I will have the greenhouse going, and they will be moved out there then. Is my plan correct? Do you have any helpful advice to help them be strong until putting outside?
Your plan of action sounds very good. My best advice would be to duplicate the soil, watering and fertilizing you have provided your elephant ear plants thus far, as it seems to have served you very well!
For more information on growing elephant ear plants, please visit the following link: