Ben Lippen

Storing elephant ears bulbs over winter ?

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For years I used to just put all my canna and elephant ears bulbs in black garbage bags and just put them in the crawlspace over the winter.  Usually would find them starting to pop right through the bags when I dragged them out in the spring for re-planting. 

My new place has a crawlspace that isn't nearly as cool and ventilated .  Last two years I've had them grow way early, and some die down there.

 I do have a room that is not conditioned off the back of the house.  After reading about storing leek bulbs in sand in the garden thread, I was wondering if I should do that with these bulbs. I can put them all, there's alot of them, into a big black plastic box buried in sand and snap the lid on. This room is about  four feet above grade, if that matters.

Any help?

TIA

 

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When I still had Dahlias, I used to  store them in a cardboard box in peat moss, and put them in the basement, which in the winter ran about 60-65 degrees.

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15 hours ago, jsid6g said:

Have you tried the web ????

SRSLY ?

This place is almost always my first ask.

But thanks for the tip, lol.

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This guy around the block says he takes them in every winter wraps in newspaper into a milk crate and puts in his basement FWIW

 

 

 

 

C2FD35B3-8406-4588-91DF-1173967FFE65.jpeg

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5 mins ago, NaturalScience said:

Keep mine in wood shavings used in pet bedding with bulb dust.

Stored in basement 

Year 3, so far so good.

 

I've decided on sand to cover mine. Next year I'll use that year's potting soil leftovers and some sand. Too late for this year.

 Still on the fence about whether to put the box in the garage where it will stay just above freezing, or the back room where it may well get below freezing.

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The dahlia did not like the shavings. It was too dry. 

Like I said the elephant ears have survived.

I also do calla lily this way.

I would like to hear about how the sand works. 

It was originally suggested to me to use peat moss. In particular for the dahlia as it holds a bit of moisture. 

I think the elephant ears are pretty forgiving. 

I think I remember my mom storing canna lily in a paper bag or something and keeping it either in the garage or crawl space. 

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We have a big Calla Lilly as well. First two years it bloomed.  This year no bloom.

Last year I inadvertently gave away my few Canna bulbs.  I'm hoping to get some back next spring.

 

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I used to just bring the whole pot of calla into the basement but it stopped blooming so I started taking in just the bulbs. Most bloom now. 

Gave up on tuber begonia, just couldn't get it to do much.

Had calladium for a couple years but 2 years ago the squirrels ate every one. Was so mad. Almost found out what squirrels tasted like that year.

I'm in the process of downsizing the flower beds. I just don't have the energy and time to keep up with all the beds anymore.  I just want some borders and 2 or 3 small showcase beds I can do fun stuff with.

 

I was thinking about starting the  bulbs in a cold frame next spring to see if I can get em a good start seeing as how they tend to like the warm weather.

My neighbor told me the elephant ears are edible. 

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On 10/19/2019 at 4:25 PM, Ben Lippen said:

For years I used to just put all my canna and elephant ears bulbs in black garbage bags and just put them in the crawlspace over the winter.  Usually would find them starting to pop right through the bags when I dragged them out in the spring for re-planting. 

My new place has a crawlspace that isn't nearly as cool and ventilated .  Last two years I've had them grow way early, and some die down there.

 I do have a room that is not conditioned off the back of the house.  After reading about storing leek bulbs in sand in the garden thread, I was wondering if I should do that with these bulbs. I can put them all, there's alot of them, into a big black plastic box buried in sand and snap the lid on. This room is about  four feet above grade, if that matters.

Any help?

TIA

 

We've been storing elephant ears for over 20 years now and have found that the way which works best for us is to dig them up (before a hard freeze - first frosts that kill the leaves will not affect the corms as long as you dig them before the top of the corm starts to rot), use sharp pruners to remove the leaves and roots, brush off any soil, let them cure for a couple of weeks in a dry, warm place until the exterior of the corms have dried completely, cut out any rot, put them in onion bags without anything and keep them in a cool, dark place until the spring. We usually have 95% success rate doing it this way.  The elephant ear corms are very tough and store well as long as they have no rot, have been cured properly and get stored in a dark, cool place.

 

Dahlias have been mentioned in this thread also.  I am lucky enough to have a wife that is hooked on dahlias - which means that I am in charge of planting, digging and storing them.  We use bulb crates to store the tubers which we line with newspaper and pack with lightly moistened wood shavings.  These crates are stored in an unheated potato barn where temperatures stay around 45-55 F all winter.  We generally have 90%+ success rate but always lose some to rot and some to drying out.  Different dahlia varieties have very different tuber types which store better or worse than others.  There are many other ways to store dahlia tubers, but this is the easiest way for us.

 

Our dahlia cutting bed...  photo taken earlier this month, before the nor'easter wreaked havoc on these plants:

 

5dadd8bf55efe_10-21-19Garden-1.jpg.56d41d3d2851b1c955ae3adbe796a38a.jpg

 

I planted over 400 in this bed ... over 40 varieties!

 

5dadd917c7eb2_10-21-19Garden-1(1).jpg.e9e935436e8a807d96a253a2fee51c49.jpg

 

Lots of bouquets for around the house, friends and family...

 

5dadd97447efb_10-21-19Garden-1(2).jpg.b27c2f16d9b0f61cd5ca1de765d6e7ee.jpg 

 

Any questions about dahlias, I am happy to answer!

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On 10/19/2019 at 4:25 PM, Ben Lippen said:

For years I used to just put all my canna and elephant ears bulbs in black garbage bags and just put them in the crawlspace over the winter.  Usually would find them starting to pop right through the bags when I dragged them out in the spring for re-planting. 

My new place has a crawlspace that isn't nearly as cool and ventilated .  Last two years I've had them grow way early, and some die down there.

 I do have a room that is not conditioned off the back of the house.  After reading about storing leek bulbs in sand in the garden thread, I was wondering if I should do that with these bulbs. I can put them all, there's alot of them, into a big black plastic box buried in sand and snap the lid on. This room is about  four feet above grade, if that matters.

Any help?

TIA

 

 

My Grandparents used to and my parents still do the following.

 

Cut the stalks off to the bulb

Wrap the bulb in newspaper

Put in a plastic bag

Let it sit on the work bench in the garage all winter.

 

Hope this helps.

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Beautiful Dahlia's, Mike. :th:

 

Now that you mention it, yes, I used to use old fashioned fruit trays to store them in some years. These are kind of wooden slat boxes with cardboard stapled to them on the bottom and sides, perhaps 16"  x 24" by 6"  high. I  would put them in there with damp peat moss, and then just cover with newspaper and store in my basement.

 

 

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When I worked in a greenhouse we used to pack various bulbs in salt hay stuffed boxes & leave the in a "root cellar". It was really nothing more than a big box half-buried & covered with more salt hay & some dirt.

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