The Q&A Archives: Black Elephant Ears

Question: I purchased a black elephant ear already started at greenhouse this past spring. It did wonderful all summer. Yesterday I went to dig it up for the winter like I do my green Elephant Ears and much to my surprise there was no bulb/tuber! All there was was lots of roots. Now I'm confused about wintering them over. Do I just put them in my basement like my other Elephant Ears? Also this plant had leaves on the bottom that had laid on the dirt and rooted. I kept almost all of these and have them in water. Can I plant them and keep them in the house this winter to plant outside in the spring? Thanks for the help! Jeanne

Answer: You probably have a type of Alocasia which spreads by rhizomes -- and looks very similar to the related Colocasia; both are commonly called elephant ear or taro.

To save it for next year, you could try potting up some rhizomes and keeping them as houseplants for the winter. You may also have success storing them just as you do the tubers. Gardeners report success using both methods so I would suggest you try both and see which one works better for you.

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