Elephant ears : how difficult?

linnea56(z5 IL)March 4, 2010

Elephant ears : how difficult?

I have not grown these before. How difficult are they? I am interested mostly in the ones with dark purple leaves. I was reading in Brent and BeckyÂs catalog that the dark one takes longer. Though I grow a lot of non-hardy summer or tropical bulbs like dahlias and begonias, some kind I have had absolutely no luck with: like caladiums. I bought 50 of those once, and what bust that was. Babied them along on a heat mat and everything. Got only 1 to grow. Ditto my luck with crocosmia : for those, none grew.

That caladium experience has me gun-shy now. And the elephant ears are pretty expensive.

In my mind dahlias are dirt simple. Even if you leave them in the bag they will grow! Begonias maybe a little harder, but not by much. Callas were ok. Where do elephant ears fall on this continuum of difficulty?

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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Very easy to grow during the summer.....shade or sun depending on the species/hybrid and lots of water. Depending on the species/hybrid you are getting they can either be dug and stored in peat (those with large tubers) for the winter or you need to be kept in a pot growing for the winter. Seriously, the summer with these will be very easy :o) Dan

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 7:53PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The one think I will caution you about EE is to be sure not to plant the bulb into cold soil. They will easily rot if you do. Once they have roots they will take the cold soil OK. Here they are grown in the garden year around. Right now they are a slimy mess of collapsed foliage laying on the ground, as a result of our mild winter frosts. By the end of April we will have no more chance of frost and I will remove all the rotten stems. Soon new growth will start and they will soon be over my head. Al

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:16AM
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Alocasia or Colocasia? I have grown colocasias, and they are reasonably easy--though real water hogs, here in the desert--but I always have to watch for spider mites. That may just be a local problem. I would give them an "easyness rating" about the same as white calla (Z. aethiopica).

My one attempt at alocasias, the site I chose got too much sun, so they fried (that's a technical gardening term). So I don't know how easy they might be.

Have fun!
Kevin : ])

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:49AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I think the one I want is a Colocasia. I saw both in brent and becky's catalog. I don't really know how they differ. I would probably start it indoors with the dahlias so putting it in cold soil would not be an issue.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 2:22PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

They are very easy to grow.

I grow mine in large 10 gallon pots and keep them well watered. I plant them at the end of May (same zone as you) and they really don't do much until the warm weather comes in late June. I do not save mine each season becuase the roots are VERY dense and it is hard to clip everything off so it won't rot over the winter.

Well worth it. I think you can even get them at WM for 3-5 bucks, so you should at least try them.

I love clipping a leave off and putting it into a vase.. very modern and cool.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 5:19PM
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