The Q&A Archives: When to Plant Elephant Ear Caladiums Outdoors

Question: I have purchased Elephant Ear Caladiums from you. I am unable to start them inside. What is the earliest I can plant them out side? I also would like to know what is the best soil preparation as I purchase them each year and have experienced mixed results? Also, I have been unable to reuse my Elephant Ears because by the end of the season they are mushy and soft. Am I digging them up to late? Stephen Griffith Somerdale, NJ

Answer: Plant your caladiums outside when daytime temperatures are 70 degrees F or higher. Space the tubers 12" apart and cover with 1" of soil (2 parts loam, 2 parts peat moss, 1 part well rotted or dried cow manure and 1 part coarse sand. Feed every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a weak fertilizer solution. In fall, when the foliage falls over, or frost threatens, dig up the roots with soil and tops and let them dry in an airy place out of sunlight for about a week or until the tops come away with a gentle tug. Shake off the soil, and dust the roots with a combination fungicide-insecticide and store over the winter at about 55-60 degrees F.

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