How to Plant & Care for a Giant Elephant Ear Bulb

Views: 22468 | Last Update: 2009-05-02
Elephant ear flower bulbs, which grow in tropical areas, get their names because their leaves look like huge elephant ears. Giant elephant ear bulbs can be grown as an annual in a shady location with tips from an experienced gardener in this free video... View Video Transcript

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Jessica Smith

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Jessica Smith and I work for Blands Nursery in West Jordan Utah, and today we're talking all about bulbs. Now we're going to discuss how to grow and care for giant Elephant Ears. Now these tropical guys don't grow here as a perennial, but you can actually grow them here as an annual in a shady location, and then just lift the bulb like you would your dahlias or your cannas each fall. Now the giant Elephant Ear gets it's name from the leaf itself. This leaf grows and looks just like a huge elephant ear, they can get six-ten feet in diameter. They grow usually down around like Florida in your tropical areas, and even in some countries they actually eat the root. Make sure you don't touch the leaves or the stalks to your lips or anything, they are actually poisonous, and can burn your lips and cause your tongue and your lips to actually swell. Now the giant Elephant Ear is going to add interest and accent to a shady location. Some of the leaves aren't always green, they actually can be in reds or blacks. But it is grown for the leaf itself. In a warm climate, down around the south and that, actually they can be quite invasive and can overtake an area. But here where we're cold it won't make it through our freezing grounds in the winter time, so you do need to lift the bulb. Basically you're going to lift it just like you would any other type of a bulb, wait until the tops frost down a little bit. After that first light frost you call it a killing frost, but you want to lift that bulb before the ground actually freezes. Just go ahead and store it like a dahlia tuber and that, let the soil kind of dry off for a day or two, remove the soil, any dry roots lightly. And then just put it in some peat moss or vermiculite for the winter months. Store it in a box or a perforated plastic bag, make sure there's some air flow, check it periodically throughout the winter. If it feels a little bit dry, if your peat moss in that feels a little dry, just go ahead and mist it with a spray bottle. And then just check for any type of rotting or shriveled bulbs, discard them at that point so they can't spread to the others. And then just go ahead and plant them back down in the ground with a nice organic matter. They like it a little bit acidic, so maybe find a compost that's a little on the acidic side that you'd use for like hydrangeas or rhododendrons. And use that one, and make sure that they have a well drained soil, they can take a moist soil. So if you've got an area in your yard, where it's shady, but the moisture it's kind of the soil doesn't tend to dry out. This would be a good option for you for an annual plant, and make sure you give it plenty of nitrogen. They like that high nitrogen level.