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Overwintering Elephant Ears (Colocasia)

Elephant ears make a dramatic statement in the garden and containers. Most are hardy in zones 8b through 11 and require special winter protection when grown in colder regions.

Move potted elephant ears indoors before the danger of frost and grow them like a houseplant in a cool bright location. Be careful not to overwater during the winter when these plants are somewhat dormant.  This is the best way to preserve those elephant ears that do not form a tuber we often call a bulb.

Or dig the tuber just before or after a light frost. Cut off the leaves and allow the tubers to dry in a warm dry location for 1 to 2 weeks. Then place the tubers in an open container of vermiculite, peat moss or sawdust.  Store in a cool location around 60 degrees.

Winter mulch will increase survival for those growing in marginally hardy areas.

A bit more information: Use shredded, not whole leaves when mulching elephant ears for winter. Consider surrounding plantings with a cylinder of hardware cloth to contain the leaves and prevent voles from dining on the tubers. Plant Delights has some additional insights to help you increase your overwintering success.

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