I just bought 2 EEs and a banana plant today. This will be my first time growing these. The varieties of EE are Alocasia wentii and Alocasia calidora. The banana is Musa 'Cavendish'.
Can I overwinter the EEs in my cellar in a dormant state? Do I dig the bulbs? Do I wait for frost to kill the foliage first or bring in before frost hits? How about the banana? Can that be also overwintered dormant in the cellar?
Keep the banana in a pot until close to first freeze. Let it kinda dry out the last couple of weeks before your first frost date. Bring it in and place in the smallest BLACK pot possible after cutting off about half the roots from their ends. Cut off all but the last leaf to come out. Place in your basement and don't water unless it looks like it is going to dry up. Handheld sprayer JUST A LITTLE BIT on top of the rootball once a week should take care of it. As spring approaches, if there is light in the basement, the plant should start waking up. Water one time when it is waking up good and then ONLY AS NEEDED. The growth or lack of growth will tell you when to water. The longer days will get it going and you should be able to start moving it in and out of the house on nice days around 60F. NO COOLER though, or you will rot those roots. I would use a medium of 50% coarse agricultural grade Perlite and 50% ProMix-B. It will stay a little moist but drain highly effectively. Once your nighttime temperatures average 60F. or greater, plant it in your garden. Place some shredded leaf mulch in the fall (before you plant the next summer about 2'-0'' deep on the place you select for your banana to grow. On top of the leaves place black garbage bag type plastic to keep the area dry from snow melt over the spring. This will keep the soil warmer over the winter and on warm days in the spring you can go out and pull the leaves back to expose the soil to the suns warming rays. REMEMBER to place the leaves back on that spot though, later in the afternoon or in the event of rain. Don't move the leaves at all on cloudy cool days! You want to keep that area warm. Booom Booom!! Good to go in the Spring /Summer.
Alocasias would rather not go dormant. If you can keep inside the main living area, place in the smallest pot possible to just get the roots in.Use the same medium as the banana, if not a 60/40 blend perlite to ProMix, near a South-Southwest facing window (not to close,especially if you have drafty windows). Water when the plant is DRY and then only to a sightly moist to slightly dry moisture level. I would try to keep on a warming mat around 65 - 70F. If not this, then, let dry out in the fall and place in basement and follow banana directions for watering...
I am quite sure you will get diverse answers to your questions... these answers I have given you have worked very well for me in the past.
Thank you so much for all your advise, Drew. I do have an enclosed, heated porch, though it's on the north side of the house. I have successfully overwintered many tropical plants in there, including brugs, staghorn ferns, birds nest ferns, etc., even though it sometimes gets into the 40s in there, and normal range is 50s and 60s. I may try putting them in there for the winter. Will have to are how crowded it will be.