Proper Way to Store Elephant Ear Bulbs in Winter

Overview

Elephant ears, also called taro, are tropical plants with large, heart-shaped leaves. They grow best in partial shade, but can be grown in full sun if they receive enough water. They thrive in wet, humid climates. Elephant ears can be grown in large containers and brought inside during the cooler months. However, elephant ears planted in the ground must be dug up and stored properly during winter to survive.

Step 1

Dig up the elephant ear bulbs before or soon after the first frost. Loosen the soil around the bulbs with a small garden spade and carefully remove the bulbs from the ground, taking care not to cut or break the fleshy part of the bulb.

Step 2

Cut the stems with garden shears so that they are about 4 inches long.

Step 3

Wash the bulbs gently with a hose to remove any dirt. Leave the bulbs to dry out of direct sunlight and wind. This should only take one to three days, but in cooler, more humid weather it could take up to two weeks. Bring the bulbs inside at night if the temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After they have dried, inspect them for insects or diseased parts.

Step 4

Remove any diseased areas and the dust the bulbs with an insecticide-fungicide mixture.

Step 5

Place the bulbs in peat moss or vermiculite in paper bags or boxes for storage. Store them in a cool, dry place where the temperatures are about 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Garden shears
  • Water hose
  • Insecticide-fungicide mixture
  • Peat moss or vermiculite
  • Paper bags or boxes

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures
  • WVGardengate: Storing Non-Hardy Bulbs in The Winter
  • Johnson's Garden Talk: Winterize Your Summer Bulbs

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Elephant Ear Care
  • Floridata: Colocasia Esculenta
Keywords: storing taro bulbs, overwintering elephant ears, elephant ear care

About this Author

Tracey Bleakley has been writing for the last year. She has had numerous education articles published on both eHow.com and Brighthub.com. She has 10 years experience as an elementary school teacher. Bleakley received her Bachelor of Science in education with a specialization in reading from the University of Texas at Austin.