The Q&A Archives: Planting instructions for elephant ear bulbs

Question: How deep do I plant my recently purchased elephant ear bulbs and how can the bottom of the bulb be determined? Do they need any special care?

Answer: Elephant ear bulbs are warm season bulbs and must not be planted outside until the soil has warmed up, well after frost. They are often started indoors using a pot that will hold the bulb with room to spare and gentle bottom heat to give them a head start until it is safe to plant them outside. There is usually a slight dent in the bulb where the main stem grew. If you can't tell, plant it sideways and it will figure out on its own which way to grow. Once it sprouts give it as much light as possible. Then harden it off and gradually acclimate it to being outdoors once the weather settles and nights are above 50 degrees. Special care includes lots of warmth, rich soil, and lots of water once it is actively growing. (Keep soil only slightly moist until it is actively growing.) You will need to lift it in the fall if you want to save it for the next year. To make that easier, you can grow it as a container plant. Repot it in early summer into a very large container for best results.

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