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How To Store Elephant Ears and Other Tropical Bulbs

By Swayback
November 14, 2013

Tropicals are really catching on, and more gardeners are finding the rewards of growing these fantastic foliage plants outside of their normal zones. It's really very easy, and I'm happy to show you some tricks to growing them in your gardens.

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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Nov 13, 2013 8:38 PM CST
This was my first year growing huge Elephant Ears and this tutorial is exactly what I needed to know to save the bulbs for next year. Thanks for a very well written idea with great photos.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
Nov 13, 2013 9:56 PM CST
If you haven't dug yours yet greene, then you might want to leave a few in the ground and mulched good, as long as they stay dry most of the common EE are plenty hardy for 8b!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
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 14, 2013 9:13 AM CST

Plants Admin

Great article Swayback! Very thorough and clear reading. I'll go star this article A.S.A.P. A few Mojito tubers developed rot, I was slow to remove the leaves and they were stacked too tightly I guess. They've been cleaned and have healed over though. I didn't apply a fungicide. Do you think a light misting and fungicide application would be helpful?
Evan
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Nov 14, 2013 10:34 AM CST
Thanks for the tutorial, I think I'll give these a try next year.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
Nov 14, 2013 11:19 AM CST
eclayne said:Great article Swayback! Very thorough and clear reading. I'll go star this article A.S.A.P. A few Mojito tubers developed rot, I was slow to remove the leaves and they were stacked too tightly I guess. They've been cleaned and have healed over though. I didn't apply a fungicide. Do you think a light misting and fungicide application would be helpful?


I'd stay away from misting, and defiantly apply a fungicide!

There are some exceptions...if the bulbs are drying up and dessecating is the only time I would even think if adding moisture to a storage situation!

If you must, just spritz a bit on the bulbs themselves, not on the surround packing material, let it dry a bit, and repack it.

I'm going to experiment with a few things this winter, one of which is soaking dessecated bulbs. I WOULD NOT advise trying this, I have no idea the long term effects!

I had a few bald bulbs, they were offsets, no leaves no roots, they just looked like little potatoes...they became soft very quickly, it was my fault for not carrying for them better!
After a few days of them declining, I deceided to soak them, I just filled a bowl with cold water and tossed em in!
In 24 hours they were all back to hard and firm status!
I let them dry fully and packed them in peat, one of 15 rotted at the tip before I could ever pack them! The other are fine now, 2 weeks later, not so sure about 2 months down the road...

A couple questions if you don't mind:
What size are the bulbs?
how do plan to store them?
Are they solid and firm?

Mojito doesn't store the best...or grow the best...it's sure a beauty though!
Removing the leaves quickly and cutting them just the right height...low...it's really important!
That tip rot sets in so easy this time of year!
Soft bulb growth due to late season growth is atleast partially to blame.
That little growth tip is so tender until the bulbs drys and hardens off that the slightest damage or rotten leaves around it, quickly progresses!

It's easily stopped, by just what you did!
Cut away the bad and let the good dry up and scab over.
Sulphur or copper based fungicides are so dry that caking it on a wound and dusting off the extra, can really speed thing along!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
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 14, 2013 2:07 PM CST

Plants Admin

The tubers are medium sized, maybe 2" dia. and nicely scabbed over. I usually apply the fungicide right after the rot is removed and they're still moist. Like you noted I pack tubers this size in peat, sometimes they just get tossed in a box.
Evan
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
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Swayback
Nov 14, 2013 2:18 PM CST
With mojito, defiantly go for the peat!

Fungicide now would be good, and just keep a close eye on em til it time to wake em up.

You lucked out there!

One cool thing about that tip rot is that when new growth emerges, it will be from several points, each making a plant, the same principal as eye scooping.
A bulb that size I would expect to make 3-5 shoots!
The trade off is that these plants are smaller than they would be if the bulb made only one plant.
Just pot the bulbs like usual, use an extra loose mix if you want to separate each individual plant, I do, colocasias grow so fast that it's more than a fair trade!
So you'll be in the mojito business as long as they make the winter!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!

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