When to plant elephant ear bulbs in zone 6
The solid green-leaved, clumping Colocasia esculenta is the most common in the trade and can often be found as a dormant corm even in the large box stores. Maybe that would work with your elephant ears too? In areas where they must be taken up for the winter, keep the tubers dry while dormant.
Siting and Planting Elephant Ear tubers. Being a tropical plant, try to find a place in your garden for the elephant ear so it gets full sun preferablyto partial shade. Full sun is 6 plus hours of direct sun each day, most likely coming from the south-west.
Partial shade is an eastern exposure where you get 4 to 6 hours of direct morning sunlight, but no direct afternoon sun light. Other tender Summertime blooming bulbs, tubers, and corms like Dahlias, Canna, Gladioli, etc would also be planted at that time.
Soil preparation is important when planting elephant ears, or any other plant in your garden. Amend improve the soil before planting anything. Work a shovel or two each of dehydrated cow manure and sphagnum peat moss into your existing soil.
This will boost its organic content and make it more fertile and productive. A lot of gardeners who have never planted the elephant ear tuber before, have a hard time figuring which side is the top. The top of the tuber has a number of rings, like the age ringsyou see when you cut down a tree, and there are little bumps and nipples that could be a pinkish brown, on that top side. The top of the tuber is more round and smoothwhere as the bottom is more rough, pock-marked and crater covered.
Now look at the tuber in the illustration. After being planted, the elephant ear plant sometimes waits a while before it decides to start sending up new growth. It seems to want both the air and ground it is planted in warmbefore it starts growing.
The first time I planted them, after not seeing anything starting to emerge after 3 or 4 weeks, I decided to do a little detective work. I carefully scraped back the top layer of soil that covered them, to see if they had been eaten by something, rotted away, or who knows what else. I discovered they were fine, so I covered them back up, gave them a drink, and maybe two weeks after that, when it got warmer they started to grow.
The elephant ear plant likes a good drink of water. Give it a drink, two or three times a week, if the weather is dry. If you can, mix up some water-soluble fertilizer and give it a drink of that every two weeks, also. Follow the directions on the package for the amount of the product you should use.
As the plant grows, it is constantly producing new leaves. Older leaves will start to yellow and collapse. Cut them off to neaten up the plant. The elephant ear mammoth can be planted in a container, or the ground.
The first time I planted them in containers, the root systems became so strong and vigorous, that they cracked through two of my nice plastic pots. My suggestion, if you are planting them in decorative containers, is to first plant them in inexpensive pots, or a plastic pot a bush or tree comes in, and then put that pot into the fancy decorative pot. In middle to late Fall, as days and nights get colder, the elephant ear plant will start to yellow up a bit. Wait for the first elephant to knock it when. After that, take a shovel, dig up the plant, and cut off the leaves, leaving just an inch or two of stem.
Take a hose, wash off the tubers, let them dry on the lawn for a day, and put them in an uncovered box or bushel basket for Winter storage. I just lay mine, one on top of the other in the bushel basket, and I store then in a semi heated garage that goes no lower than 45 degrees fahrenheit in Winter. The big mother tuber has now died, and is kind of clay like not slimy.
Those small tubers are what you will now be planting. I am now, probably planting the off-spring of two elephant ear plants that I bought 15 or so years ago. Finally, I think the elephant ear plant is a wonderful companion to ear castor bean plant, canna, and ornamental grasses. Look at the photo. You will see mine growing by my deck. These plants make me think of the tropics, and transport me to a place far away.
Planting, Dividing and MaintenanceDaffodils. Planting, Fertilizing and MaintenanceTulips. Hi Petercut them off as close to the ground as possible without cutting into any of the other leaves that form the main stem.
It does not have much of a plant system. Just take off the shoots that look like babies coming off it they are babies and plant those, if there are any. Then, just divide it by those trunks. Try to keep enough bulbs with each trunk. If you are not sure how much moisture err on the side of wetness. We've planted in a pot right in the water before although most of ours grow in the sandy soil. With the weather in the summer, the plant material will wilt. Make sure they are mulched and it may take a zone or so before they perk up. Some leaves may die back, just trim.
Transplanting in the middle of the summer is always hard on plant material. It is a shock no matter what.
Elephant Ears Cold Hardy?
The elephant ear in our experience will not grow indoors all year long. Like most bulbs it needs a rest to recoup some energy for the next growth cycle. Generally, it goes according to season.
Zone 6 Elephant Ears – Tips On Planting Elephant Ears In Zone 6
Sprouting in the spring, growing in the summer, and then dying back when the weather gets cooler and the days shorter If you can simulate a tropical condition in your home, you may fool it into thinking it is in Florida and it may grow all year long. There are several varieties and some do better than others indoors. We have some readers who write like the following: I have removed over Elephant plants from my yard.
I just put down new sod and they are growing up through the grass.
I'm digging out ear single plant along with the bulb and they keep coming back. Do they spread with wind? Is there something else that I need to be digging up? Why do so many keep coming back? Could there have been bulbs in the new sod that I laid bulb Besides pulling up every bulb, is there any other way to get rid of them. I have kept four of the plants, they are over 9 feet tall, but I would like the rest of them gone. In Northern Florida we had many volunteer plants all over the yard. They seem to avoid areas where there is intense sun for more than a few hours a day.
All you really can do is just pull up the bulb. We have pulled up a lot where there does not seem to be a bulb. As long as it is shady, humid, and wet they seem to thrive. Sharing is a good way to get rid of them. Chopping as much as you want is ok too.
They are propagating underground! Some are probably more of a rhizome than a bulb. We suspect you will not harm them by digging them up.
Pot them up and see how they do for a elephant of weeks in the pot. If they perk up and seem healthy, we pass them on. We would not suggest letting your children or pets chew on any plant. Not all parts of every plant is poisonous but some parts of plants are. We suggested children would love growing these bulbs, for they grow large very quickly and get instant satisfaction from such a plant. Some elephant ears may be poisonous and others taro, that are sometimes considered in the zone ear family are not. One would have to know the variety of each kind of elephant ear plant to know the specific dangers.
We would never test any plant just to find out. We own elephant ear plants and have two cats that are in and around them all the time. There has never been a problem. But on the same time they do chew and nibble on our spider plants. Cool Colocasias - Elephant Ears for the Garden. I live on the Arkansas Missouri border in zone 6 and serveral years ago planted several elephant ear bulbs in the rocks that make up my yard.
I when had about three parts rock to one part soil and most of my bulbs were barely in the ground. I never thought they would grow but they were beautiful the first year and it's now three years later and they are bigger than ever!!
I have never taken the bulbs up in the fall and worried each winter that they wouldn't come up the next year. The past two winters have been especially hard with at least two months of temps hovering around zero and rarely above degrees with inches of snow and ice on the ground.
Growing Elephant Ear Plants in Your Garden
I did cover the bulbs in a layer of fall leaves and some grass clippings but was sure they wouldn't make it. Which one do you think best describes where the EE are planted? I'm 6a, and will be planting Pink china, but also have "black Magic". Do you have a raised bed?
I'll be using a raised bed, and mulch. I would love if "Black Magic" would survive winter. I know that making sure the area isn't too wet in winter is a must also.
It just may be more important than winter temps, well, just as important. Hi Poaky1, Sounds like you and I will be doing the same thing this spring! I am in the process of making a raised bed where I am going to plant Musa Basjoo and Pink China EE's, along with cannas and other things.
I am hoping the raised bed will be the key to keeping them alive.
Several years ago, I had a Musa Basjoo planted in the ground and I was able to keep it alive for 2 winters, but it died during the 3rd winter. I think it rotted even though it was protected with bags of straw and a tarp over the top to keep the snow off.
It was quite big and had more shoots coming up before it died. I live in northern Utah, zone 6. We usually have snow cover for most of the winter so I hope the raised bed will help with drainage. Yes, I need to get started on mine soon, it's so hot and the pots will dry out little nursery pots they're in. Update on my hardy musa basjoo. It seems the key to keeping the from year to year in the ground here in zone 5 is to plant them a foot deep and don't plant them in a place where water stands if it rains a lot.
One more step
Then you don't mulch them at all or do anything to them. They just die down and come back. My oldest ones are now 7 years old in Muncie Indiana and lots of customers are having good results too. The pink China did well for about four years but then we had a really cold winter and that was the end of it. Pic is my basjoo bananas in fall Nice sandy, is Muncie in southern Indiana? Are you sure you're not zone 6? I always hear about mulching even in zone 6 Pa here, or they will not come back. I guess you know your zone. I think I'll add some sand to my raised bed soil, just a bit.
I'll be trying Cannas in the same bed, I just bought a bag with 3 roots in it, and the foliage is starting to come up. I will be putting soil in my raised bed tomorrow if the weather permits, you know, no rain.
Move the plant to a dry, frost-free location and leave it until the roots are dry. At that time, cut the stems and brush excess soil from the tubers, then wrap each tuber separately in paper. Store the tubers in a dark, dry place where temperatures are consistently between 50 and 60 F. Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.