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How to Store Elephant Ear Bulbs

Elephant ear, or Colocasia, is a wetland perennial that grows natively in tropical climates. Elephant ear that is grown in the south will generally require partial shade, while plants grown the north can tolerate full sun. Two other species are also called elephant ear--Alocasia and Xanthosoma. These plants are grown and treated the same as the Colocasia variety. All three plants cannot tolerate cold weather and a hard frost will thoroughly kill the plant, if the bulbs are left outdoors to over-winter.

Cut back any remaining brown to yellow foliage after the first light frost. Remove the above-ground plant material with the scissors.

Remove the bulb(s) from the soil using the shovel. Take care to dig well away from the bulb itself. Use the foliage to determine the center of the bulb. Place the point of the shovelhead well away from the center of the bulb.

Wipe the bulb of any excess dirt. Do not wash. Place the bulb in an area away from direct sunlight and that can maintain a temperature from 60 degrees F to 70 degrees F. Keep the bulbs well ventilated to remove any excess moisture. Cure the bulb for approximately 1 day to 3 days, until the outside of the bulb is dry.

Fill the storage container with approximately 3 inches of either sphagnum moss or vermiculite. Place the bulbs in the container. Cover the bulbs with the moss or vermiculite.

Keep the stored bulbs in a frost-free area that is well-ventilated and protected from rodents.

Start Elephant Ear Plants From Bulbs

Choose a site to grow elephant ear plants in filtered sun to part shade in a location protected from wind. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the length of the bulb so that it can go in the hole upright with one-quarter inch or so of soil covering the tip. Space multiple planting holes 3 feet apart. Smooth out the area with the flat of your hand. During the rainy season, water only during dry spells if the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Fertilize once a month during the growing season.


Label the container or the bulbs themselves to identify them for spring planting. Check the bulbs often to keep an eye out for mold and rot.

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