When do you zone 5'ers start these tender bulbs?

linnea56(z5 IL)March 18, 2011

I will try to get a head start by starting most indoors.

Tuberous begonias?


Colocasia (elephant ear)

I started the caladiums early last year, in April sometime, but they did nothing at all until I had given up and put the flats outside on the deck. THEN they sprouted. I have a cold house. I would really love to have them ready to pot up earlier.

The TB I started in peat pots last year, but most barely fit. I'm thinking about flats or foil pans.


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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm thinking of upgrading to zone 6 based on the fact that my hardy bannana made it through the previous winter unprotected. If it comes back this spring I'm definately claiming zone 6 status.... but I guess until that happens I'm still a zone 5'er.

soooooo, I'm still undecided on caladiums this summer- they were awesome last year but you know.... so many bulbs so little time (plus the bulbs I saved all look totally dead). But if I do start some it won't be until mid April.

I will start some cannas and elephant ears this weekend. If I don't get them into dirt there's a good chance they will die as the garage gets warmer and they dry out. They'll probably just sit there for two or three weeks and do nothing until it gets a bit warmer (so the soil has to be damp, not wet-or they may rot)... but they'll prob make new roots at least.

I also want to start a few dahlias I bought. I'm going to try and make cuttings of the sprouts that come up and get a couple bonus plants going. I've never tried it before, so I hope it works out!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:46PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! So you are starting the elephant ears this early? Do they prefer a plastic pot or a peat pot?

My bench mark for starting dahlias has always been late March/early April. Too soon, and they get too leggy. I tried making cuttings one year, and none of them made it. But then I am rotten at rooting any kind of cutting. I think it might be excess chlorine in my water. At my old house I did fine. At least that's my story. Though I get roots, they never transition to planting.

Last year was my first for caladiums. I started them in flats indoors but they did absolutely nothing until it was warm outside. I'd like to have them earlier, so I am thinking about setting up a swing arm lamp on a timer to give them daytime warmth.

They were so great I just have to have them again. I went to the store just to see if they had the ones I liked so much last year ; "White Christmas", in the event mine are dead. But they didn't have any of the ones I grew last year.

I will have to bring mine up and see if they are all dried out. If they are lightweight they are goners?

I checked the tuberous begonias in the same box; they are all firm and look fine.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 10:58PM
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Just begonia, and I started my 8 plants two weeks ago. Theyère sitting on a table facing the east sun in a upstairès back room window and will be moved probably around mid May to the outside...about the same time I put out my saved geraniums and trust the weather for my hibiscus.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:08PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

hmmm. maybe I shouldn't bother with the dahlias.

My elephant ears are some sort of alocasia... (if that matters).... I'm just going to open the plastic bag they've been in since fall, remove ant rotted bits, fill a little potting soil around the root (I left a good bit of soil around the roots) and give it a little water to dampen it. I guess this would count as starting it in a plastic pot.

I wouldn't toss the caladiums just because they seem light. Mine were light but also crumbly when I cut into them. if you're unsure, plant them anyway!

ps. nothing got planted this weekend. I started cleaning the potting area, went through all kinds of messes, ended up cleaning the whole garage and then sat in the yard while the kids played in the sandbox. Maybe during the week I'll get to the cannas. Unlike the caladiums, their roots look great.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:26PM
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I suppose some people have luck with storing in plastic bags but I don't trust it--they don't breathe--they harbor moisture too easily. Moisture breeds mold and mildew.
I'd rather store, either on a shelf alone, undisturbed, or maybe buried in peat moss.
As long as the environment doesn't initiate growing, keeps the bulb or root dry and no moisture is allowed, I have luck with all what I store.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:18PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

that's a good point about NOT storing bulbs in plastic bags. I only do it for the ones that usually dry out too much for me..... (two canna types and the elephant ear)

The rest of the stuff overwinters in the way you describe.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:55PM
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