Aroids forum: Colocasia esculata "Ele Paio" problem

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twitcher
Sep 20, 2012 2:02 PM CST
I need some help with my Ele Paio's. Last winter, the plants were held indoors and relatively dry, almost dying out. They recovered and did well this summer, but I had noticed that the plants grew "out" of the soil, in that the base of the stem/fibrous roots disappeared except for a few narrow roots penetrating into the soil. Thus, the plants have a tendency to fall over.

I am concerned that these plants will not survive thru another winter, although they are doing well at the moment. I tried covering the base of the plants with more soil, but that did not seem to do much. I am also curious to learn how much water/moisture these need to be in.

Is this normal for this variety? I was expecting these to form a tuberous bulb like the other esculentas but have not seen these do it.. Can anybody offer some advice or helpful information. I really want to keep these going.


thanks
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Sep 25, 2012 12:33 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hi twithcher, I was hoping someone with direct experience with Elepaio will chime in but I'll take a shot. First of all I think your mounding of soil or compost is a good idea. The root zone should probably be a minimum of 4" or so deep. I've noticed that some C. esculenta might take two years to form a sizable tuber here in z6a. I've also read that the runners may take even longer if ever. Is Elepaio a runner? Brian, of Brian's Botanicals, replying to an email noted that many of his less cold tolerant, potted Colocasia are overwintered dry in a greenhouse.

One of the pieces of advice I've read and follow is to modify the type of fertilizer applied to 14-26-6 in the fall when the tuber is in active growth. See "Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner - Soil fertility by the seasons" by LariAnn over on DG.
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Sep 25, 2012 5:17 PM (+)]
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twitcher
Sep 25, 2012 2:14 PM CST
Thanksforthe advice. Not on dg anymore though.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Sep 25, 2012 4:14 PM CST

Plants Admin

Your welcome twitcher. The gist of LariAnn's article was fertilizing in synch with the natural nutrient availability. A high nitrogen fertilizer in the Spring, a balanced mix in the summer and the high P mix in the fall. Spring 20-6-12, summer 14-14-14, fall 14-26-6. Hopefully LariAnn is "listening" and will comment. I don't think I've ever over-fertilized a C. esculenta when they're actively growing and I exceed the recommended dosage regularly.

As to moisture needs the C. esculenta varieties I have love water. Those in pots are all set into a tray or basin full of water (I picked up several oil change trays at a discount store and use these). Those in the ground are in soil amended with materials that retain water and are covered with 2 to 3 inches of compost. Elepaio should do well in a boggy situation.

Evan

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twitcher
Sep 25, 2012 6:03 PM CST
Mine are kept in a basin of water as well, although I have to admit that occasionally they will run dry on me before I get back to watering them. I seldom fertilize, however.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Sep 26, 2012 9:15 AM CST

Plants Admin

Hi twitcher,
In your experience do the leaves of Elepaio all have the white markings or do some come up all green?
Evan

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Sep 26, 2012 7:45 PM CST
It varies. Some leaves are spectacular with a lot of solid white, but others can be mostly green with just some lighter green speckles. I've only had for a couple of years, so still learning what works best for them. They don't like our dry winters in the house. I've almost lost them each of the two winters I've been growing them and no bulb formation worth mentioning. I have a few other ee's that do ok, but have decided that if I lose any of them, I will not replace due to the difficulty of keeping them thru the winter. I don't really have the time nor right conditions here. Still the Elepaio are very nice when in good shape and worth some effort.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Sep 26, 2012 7:49 PM CST

Plants Admin

If I had to grow them all overwinter I'd be aggravated too. Do you grow Mojito?
Evan

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twitcher
Sep 27, 2012 7:28 AM CST
Don't have it, was hoping to trade for it one of these days as it does interest me. Saw one at a local nursery last year, but it was too expensive.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 4, 2012 12:48 PM CST
Do you have a basement? After trying to fight it a couple of winters when I lived up north, I found it easier to let Colocasia go dormant for winter, put the whole pot in the basement when frost kills the foliage. Kept cool and dry, it won't rot. It can't get spider mites this way. As the bulb enlarges, the pot will need to also.
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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Oct 4, 2012 6:22 PM CST
Used to do that, but had too many losses. Can't reliably keep them overwinter that way. I think the basement is too cold or possibly to cold and damp.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Oct 5, 2012 3:17 PM CST
Yes, cold and dry would be good, as long as it's above freezing. Cold and damp = rot. Would some kind of riser help, to keep the pots off of the ground? My basement was damp, and wet in places, but dormant bulbs like Colocasia, Canna, and Gladiolus did well down there, as long as they didn't get wet. I used some plastic shelves for some, some cinder blocks.
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Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Nov 18, 2012 5:36 AM CST

Grows in the Far East, 100% humidity with leaf litter which is free draining but it rains there almost every day. We eat the tubers and forget the oxalic acid, cooking I think breaks it down. Excuse me but has any one ever tried to take the tubers out of the soil, air dry and preserve them until spring? At least for me it is less painful.
Regards,
Masud.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Nov 21, 2012 1:13 PM CST

Plants Admin

KAMasud said:Excuse me but has any one ever tried to take the tubers out of the soil, air dry and preserve them until spring? At least for me it is less painful.

Now there's a question I can relate to. This year C. e. 'Mojito made tubers large enough to over-winter dry, likely because I started them indoors a few months early. I typically have a 5 month outdoor growing season for Colocasia. I'm wondering if most of the C. esculenta cultivars will make a large enough tuber if given enough time.
Evan
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Nov 27, 2012 1:28 AM CST

If you go to an ethnic store you can get Colocasia tubers by the weight and comparatively free. South Asia, South East Asia and I don't know where else this a staple veg. As this thing is rich in oxalic acid it is not for people who redly get kidney stones.
Regards,
Masud.

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