A year ago, April temperatures were warm. This year, it’s been cool — especially the overnight temps, which have approached the freezing mark. As a result, my patience to get my hands dirty and to get my tropicals into the ground has grown thin. My solution? An experiment.
Since I did not start any seeds in the potting shed this winter, it’s quite empty. My plan is to plant the Elephant Ears and Canna in pots, place the pots in the potting shed, and then let the heat get their juices flowing. And that’s the purpose for this repost — I’ll be doing exactly as I spelled out a year ago. Happy gardening.
Attractive, aren’t they?
The last time I saw my Elephant Ears, they were clipped back, packed into peat moss, and stored in a cement bunker. With the very warm April temperatures, I couldn’t resist opening up their winter palace. But unlike Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vault, I found my treasure.
1. After a long winter’s nap, the stems, leaf remnants, and roots have withered from tropical green to paper bag brown.
2. To clean each bulb, I shake off the excess peat moss and dirt. Then, it’s time to husk the dead leaves, stems, and roots.
3. It takes a little effort, but once cleaned, there is usually a pinkish shoot at the heart of all that brown – the promise of new growth.
4. Some bulbs may still have healthy looking roots. These I leave on – might as well give the bulbs a head start once they’re planted.
5. This Elephant Ear collection began years ago with the purchase of one bulb. Over time, smaller bulbs developed, like the one pictured here (toward the right), and these can eventually be separated, either manually or on their own. I’ve also learned that the bigger the bulb, the larger the leaf. But the smaller bulbs also have value – they can be kept in pots and moved around the garden as filler.
6. To plant the bulbs, the toughest part is choosing the right sized pot. I add some potting soil to the pot, settle the bulb into place (shoot side facing up, of course), and then fill until the crown is just below the surface.
7. I’m sure I make more work for myself by first potting the Elephant Ear bulbs. With the pots, however, I feel I have more control over the plants. If there should be a frost, I can move the collection indoors. If a bulb fails to bloom, I won’t have an empty area in the garden.
8. Once planted, I place the pots in a sunny location and water daily. These are tropical, and they thrive on heat and moisture. Once they develop leaves, it’s into the garden they go – usually to a partial shade location.
A special thank you to Elaine from Ramblings from Rosebank for suggesting that I post a few photos of Elephant Ears in their glory days of summer.
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