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How to Store Elephant Ears

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How to Store Elephant Ears

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Overview

Elephant ears add a tropical and exotic look to many gardens. Because these plants sprout from bulbs, they can be reused from year to year in subtropical climates where they might ordinarily die from winter temperatures. Gardeners who grow elephant ears in colder climates will need to cut back the plants and store the bulbs for the winter. Bulbs that are overwintered can be planted in the same spot in the spring for lush summer foliage from year to year.

Step 1

Observe your elephant ear for signs that it is about to go dormant. When the elephant ear plant begins to produce smaller, yellowish leaves, it is time to dig the plant up.

Step 2

Insert a shovel into the ground at about 12 inches away from the stem. Loosen the soil around your elephant ear in a circle. Make sure to stay approximately 8 to 12 inches from the soil to avoid damaging your plant's tuber.

Step 3

Slip the shovel under the tuber and tilt back to lift it. Grasp the stem near the soil with one hand and gently pull upward. Shake the soil off as you lift.

Step 4

Spread a sheet of newspaper in a warm, dry location. Leave the plant on the newspaper to dry for approximately two weeks.

Step 5

Trim away dead foliage. Fill a brown paper grocery sack with peat moss. Place the tuber into the peat moss and fold the top of the the sack over. Tape the bag closed with masking tape and write the contents of the sack and the date when you are storing it on the side.

Step 6

Store your bulbs in a cool dry place that will not drop below 50 degrees all winter. An unheated basement or garage is a good place to store your bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Peat moss
  • Brown paper grocery bag
  • Masking tape
  • Marker

References

  • Mississippi State University: Elephant Ears Add a Tropical Flair to Gardens
  • Exotic Rainforest: Colocasia Esculenta
  • Parker County Master Gardener's Association: Elephant's Ear or Taro

Who Can Help

  • Horticulture Magazine: Q & A: Storing Canna and Elephant Ears
Keywords: overwintering elephant ears, storing elephant ear bulbs, growing elephant ears in cool climates

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."