How to Dig Up Elephant Ears to Store for the Winter

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Elephant Ear or Colocasia Esulenta typically grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. These fast-growing, large-leaf plants do well in rich organic soils and thrive in semi-shaded locations with high humidity. They cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. When the large bulbs are exposed to freezing, the bulbs will turn mushy and need to be discarded. By following a basic process, you can store the bulbs every winter and replant in the spring once all threats of frost has passed.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Shovel
  • Peat moss, vermiculite or sawdust
  • Warm dry area
  • Allow the large leaves to turn brown, typically after the first light frost. Cut the leaves and green stems back with a pair of scissors. Leave a short section of the stem sprouting from the bulb.

  • Dig the large bulbs from the ground with a shovel. Dig the shovel into the ground well away from where you think the plant may be. In most cases, the bulb will have divided and there will be more than one bulb in the ground. Shake any excess dirt from the lower roots of the bulb after you pull it from the ground.

  • Dry the bulbs by placing them in a warm area with plenty of air circulation. One full day in this type of environment should be sufficient.

  • Cover the bulbs with a dry layer of peat moss, vermiculite or sawdust. Store the bulbs in a warm and dry area and keep the roots of the bulb dry. Keep the bulbs well away from any freezing temperatures.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you plan to leave the bulbs in the ground for the winter, ensure the area is well drained. Cover the bulbs with a thick layer of straw to prevent the cold air from freezing the ground in which the bulbs are planted. Soggy ground will rot the bulb during the winter.

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