How to Store Elephant Ear & Caladium Bulbs for the Winter

Overview

Caladium is more commonly known as elephant ear, because of the huge, showy leaves in various shades of mottled red, pink, green, white and green. With its bright colors and exotic, tropical appearance, caladium is a real show stopper, but because caladium is a tropical plant, it won't survive cold winters. If you live in a cold winter climate, dig caladium bulbs when the large leaves begin to turn brown after the first light frost of the season, and replant them in the garden when the weather warms in spring.

Step 1

Cut the tops of the caladium plant down with garden shears, leaving only two inches remaining above the soil. Dig the caladium bulbs carefully and put the bulbs in a dry, well-ventilated area for two weeks.

Step 2

Brush the soil off of the caladium bulbs and put the bulbs in a cardboard box filled with peat moss or sawdust. Leave the top of the box open so the bulbs will be ventilated, and put the bulbs in a cool location, about 50 to 60 degrees F., for the winter. Caladium bulbs won't survive temperatures below 45 degrees F. for extended lengths of time.

Step 3

Check on the caladium bulbs occasionally. If the bulbs seem to be shriveling, sprinkle the peat moss or sawdust with a small amount of water to keep the bulbs hydrated. Discard any caladium bulbs that are soft or rotting. Bring the caladium bulbs out of storage and replant them after the last frost of the season.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Shovel
  • Cardboard box
  • Peat moss
  • Sawdust

References

  • University of Illinois: Overwintering Tropical Plants
  • Iowa State University: Fall Storage of Tender Bulbs, Corms and Tubers
Keywords: caladium bulbs, elephant ear, caladium plant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.