'Black Magic' colocasia

linnea56(z5 IL)March 17, 2011

What the secret to growing these? I bought one last year, but all I got from it before frost was a 2" spike emerging above the ground. I really wanted this, and it wasn't cheap. It was so disappointing, I didn't even bother to dig it up last fall.

It was planted in nice soft dirt, in a very large pot; and I picked a big one (for that variety) that showed obvious life, and was planted in May.

Should I have started it indoors?

Some tender bulbs I have no luck with (like cannas: same result: all I get is a leaf spike before frost). Some are so easy (like dahlias). Start Indoors, start outdoors, I get flowers.

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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

You have trouble with cannas ?! just kidding, it's only that your posts cover such a wide range of bulbs, I thought there wasn't anything out there you didn't grow well! lol

All I can suggest for the colocasia is that it wasn't wet enough? I haven't grow that particular variety, but the others I've grown want plenty of fertilizer and hot weather with as much water as you can give them. I think of them more as a bog plant that will tolerate normal garden conditions.

I can't help you with the cannas... but they do like the same boggy, warm, fertile conditions that the colocasias like, just with more sun!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:10PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Boggy?! Well, that is exactly what it (or the cannas) didn't get. Heat, yes, fertilizer, sun, yes. But both were planted into dryish conditions. The Black Magic I put in a very large outdoor pot. But it does dry out faster than the ground does. I just bought another one: I will try planting it right in the ground this time. How do they feel about clay soil (amended clay soil)?

I grow a lot of bulbs, it's true. Someday I will have tried everything. When something does not succeed, I tend to move on. But I owe it to myself (and to the poor bulbs) to try twice.

Should I start it indoors, too?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:37PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Both cannas and colocasias are tropical plants that want all the sun and heat they can get. Both also do well in boggy conditions except over winter.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:04AM
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I started with a few small corms of Black Magic last year. I ended up with more than I could count. They spread everywhere! We've got the heat and humidity covered here in VA. I just had to water... a lot. A minimum of 4-5 times per week, if not daily. That's just the price of keeping tropicals.

To start I dumped a handful of milorganite in each hole I dug. For the larger colocasia corms I dumped in a full shovel full. My first year tropical garden was quite the overgrown sight.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 6:56PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'll have to try more milorganite this summer, I think I've been putting it on a little too timidly. "Overgrown tropical" would be perfect around the porch. Any pictures from last year?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Here are a few pics. Don't mind the dirty house... I had to wait until this spring to power wash. It looks much better now.

Here's my lovely wife. I think this pic was taken in August. This was a small colocasia gigantea at the beginning of the summer. I think I purchased it in a 4" pot in early may.

Here's a brugmansia in front of some ruellia. The brug I brought into the basement to overwinter. I just left the ruellia out. I doubt it will come back.

Here's our dog Angus wondering what he's doing in the tropics.

This was my first year trying tropicals. I underestimated how much they grow and how fast. Everything was planted too close together. I'll be sure to space better this spring. The 3 bananas all grew to be at least 10' tall, started from 14" pups. Three of the brugs were between 6-8' tall, all started from small cuttings.

I'm lucky to have good rich soil on our small city lot. I then ammended with about a 3" dressing of aged horse manure, plus 1 bag of milorganite per 100 sqft. Then, in each hole I added a fair amount of milorganite per plant. This was all per Boca Joe's recommendation. I also fertilized heavily once per month starting in June. Miracle grow mixed with fish emulsion and seaweed extract.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:32AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

very cool..... definately working a little harder on soil prep this spring with the tropicals. wow.

-sorry to go off topic, but where did you get the plants from, any particular source?... as if I need more plants to lug in and out every winter.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:44PM
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