The Q&A Archives: Elephant Ears Not Dormant

Question: Last year I bought some elephant ears and they did very well. In the fall I had no ideal what to do with them. On a web site, the info. I got was to wait to the first frost and the leaves to wilt to dig them up, then put them into a bucket and store in the basement or garage for the winter. Not to cut the leaves off, for they feed the bulbs all winter, just pull off the old growth (leaves) when completely dried out. The problem is they had new grown on most of them on and off all winter and some of the old growth isn't dried out yet. It's time to pot them so I can tranplant outside after last frost, but I don't know what to do with the growth that is on them. Do I pull or cut off the old leaves or let them stay on? If I plant them 6 inches down like I'm suppose to, I'll be covering up the new leaves. Will this damage them and stop them from growing this year? Please help, I really like them.

Answer: Since they are are actively growing, I would plant them in the pots so that the foliage is above the soil because burying it would be an invitation to rot. I think you may have dug them up too early in the fall -- usually the frost literally kills the tops all the way back and there is no life left in the foliage at all. These plants take a certain amount of cold so you are not risking killing them by leaving them out for a hard freeze. Then, they may have been kept either too warm or too damp -- when dormant they should be stored dry and cool (not freezing).

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