I'm in CT, zone 5. I have a bunch of elephant ears and caladiums in
pots on my deck and one of elephant ears in my tub water garden. When
do I removed them from the pots and what procedure do I follow to save
the tubers for planting next year?
Elephant ears: Wash the soil off the bulbs. Trim roots to 1/2" long, and
using a very sharp knife, but the stalk to within about 1" of the bulb. Let
the bulb dry for a few days, but not in direct sun. Get some fine
vermiculite from a garden center. Bag the bulbs in vermiculite and store in
a cool spot in your cellar. Optional step, but a good idea: Real garden
centers sell powdered sulfur. Put some into a bag, add the bulbs, close bag,
and shake, like you were dusting chicken pieces with flour. Tap off the
excess and store as previously explained. This will lessen the chances of
rotting. You can use other fungicides for this, but you may not feel
comfortable handling the bulbs afterward, unless you put on gloves.
I don't have a lot of experience with the other caladium varieties. Someone
else will have to chime in.
I tried to pull the caladium's which were then dried and coated in
sulfur. Then stored them near my basement heater in peat moss. Checked
on an added a few drops of water once in awhile. This did not stop bulb
shrinkage so I treat them like annuals. I interplant with my hostas.
Pricey but I only grow about 20 plants usually white with red veins or
Elephant ears I plant close to my septic tank and they over winter
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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