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Easiest EE to Overwinter

Athens, OH

For those of us not in the tropics, overwintering EE can be quite a burden. Especially if your plants are taller or wider than you or if your collection has grown out of control.

I would be interested in knowing which EE have overwintered the best for you and your techniques.

Here are my experiences (Sone 6a, overwintering Late Oct. through mid May):
(1) Colocasia.
Fontanesii, Ruffles and Big Dipper will overwinter:
(a) in a garage in a pot if you water very sparingly.
(b) as bare roots and storing in peat with very limited watering - maybe misting 2x per winter has worked but dessication can be a problem.
(c) in pots in a room with supplemental light (14 hr light cycle) at std house temps or slightly warmer but aphids and spider mites are problemmatic.

Other colocasia -including several hawaiian forms I can only overwinter as (c).

(2) Alocasia
Gageana is by far the easiest with good results using (a), (b) or (c).
Macrorrhiza and odora are also fairly easy using (a), (b) or (c) but is more susceptible to root rot.
Wentii seems happiest with (c).
Cucullata seems happiest with (c) but is very susceptible to mealy bugs
Lutea, plumbea, aurora, hilo beauty and ridleyii seem to resent overwinter and barely hang on with (c).
Caderii seems happier overwintering as a house plant than being outside.

(3) Xanthosoma
Violacea, Robusta seems to do fine with (a) or (c).
Lime Zinger and Mickey Mouse seem to resent overwinter and barely hang on with (c).

zone 6a, KY

I'm new with elephant ears so I'm eager to learn all I can. I have some baby plants growing in southeastern and southwestern windows and all seem okay to really good. In one area it is like 70 ish and the other area is warmer (wood stove in room). I spray the foliage off with water every couple weeks to help with spider mites, and I've been squishing aphids as I see them. I've been letting them dry down at least an inch before watering again, because I was worried about rot, too. At first I was trying to keep them too wet and they didn't grow as well for me.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't live as far north as you so here are my results.

Colocasia: overwintered outdoors in ground
Yellow Splash
Black Magic
Giant Upright macrorrhizos

Caladium Siam Moon: overwintered outdoors in ground

Alocasia: Overwintered inside in "community" pot
Purple Cloak
California ( overwintered out/in ground)

Xanthasoma: in same c pot as alocasias
Lime Zinger

All are doing well. No problems to date.

This message was edited Jan 26, 2010 3:15 PM

Thanks for the thread Rox. It made me take a closer look. I was surprised to see my Alocasias were doing better than the Colocasias. I thought Alocasias were harder to grow.

I'm overwintering:


Polly ✩
Sarin ✩
Boa ✩
Fantasy ✩
Hilo beauty ☆
Lauterbachiana ✩


Ele paio
Tea cup
Black ruffles ☆
Black Magic ☆
Elena ☆
Nancyana ☆
Royal Hilo
illustris ✩ inside The one in the GH not doing as well.
Black stem ✩

All are small. I have them in a south window supplemented with an overhead plant light. Most are doing well. The ones without a star drop a leaf as soon as a new one comes out. Not sure why or what to do to change it. Sprayed for aphids and spider mites a few days ago when it was warm enough to set them outside. Hopefully that will improve things.

zone 6a, KY

Seray, how old is your soil? I was experiencing the grow one drop one on elephant ears, then moved them to a bigger pot (from like 2 inch deep pots to 18 oz solo cups). Since then (and they are really small, so don't know if this applies) they have been pushing and keeping leaves. It was a mix of alocasia/colocasia and everyone is showing a marked improvement. I plan to jump them up to gallons in the spring. The group includes fantasy, hilo beauty, lauterbachiana, stingray, and a few others. If you are already in larger pots, I was wondering if a freshening of the soil would renew their strength. Any experts know if my luck was a fluke or are they kind of heavy feeders even in winter?

That could be it 3js. I potted them up at the when I first bought them into 3" pots. Probably 3-4 months ago. Maybe I'll do it again into 4" or 5". Add some worm castings to the soil this time. I was trying to hold them small but it maybe too small. Thanks I'll let you know if that works.

Louisville, KY

I live in Kentucky. I have 6 uprights in my house now. They are in the shower twice a week to keep spider mites off of them. I also have Polly, fontanesii, black stem macrorrhiza, Frydek and more!! If you want to put some in the ground and overwinter those then you would have to mulch heavily. I have Pink China's and Tea cups that will come back every year. I mulch then put leaves over top to keep them warm. They are my favorite plants of all!!! Look at Brian Williams threads. He is from Louisville and has great experience with our area. I learned from reading his stuff and I live close to his facility. Julie :)

Louisville, KY

That was to 3jsmom31

zone 6a, KY

I am for sure getting Pink China and big dipper from him. I didn't know tea cups would winter over. Cool, cool, cool!!!!

Me neither Juliep! That is good news. I want these to stay out if possible next year. I'm in 9a and hope the Sarin will overwinter. I'm hoping Brian will have C. mojitos. Worked in Louisville for awhile. :)

Louisville, KY

I have testing Colocasias outside in zone 6 for close to 18 years. If you plan to over winter them outside here is my best list to date. This list will be changing soon.

Colocasia Pink China Well established plants returned in zone 6 for 16 years friend in Ohio has had good luck for 9 years some protection on his I believe.
Colocasia Black Pearl could be hardier or just as hardy as pink china over wintered here for 6 years.
Colocasia Big Dipper over winters with protection 6 inches of leaf compost 8 years in Kentucky
Colocasia Illustrius some luck with heavy mulch last 4 years here
Colocasia Dark Star shows promise from the last two winter with and with out mulch could be extremely hardy getting tested this year. 3 years tested
Colocasia common form esculenta if protect or mild winter. 9 years test sometimes dies
Colocasia jacks giant some good results more test need to be done. 2 years some mixed results

I have also over wintered these but with a lot of protection I would consider them less hardy and only survive with a lot of protection.
Col Fontanesii
Col. Miranda
Col. black magic

Surprisingly I have had Alocasia Odora the form commonly called macrorrhiza over winter for the last 5 years here with 1 foot of leaf compost.

Here is a photo of Pink China returning after a long winters nape. It can sometimes be difficult in pots and preforms much better in open ground.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7a)

Interesting thread... gonna watch a while.
I am trying to over-winter many of the same that are mentioned here.
I live in an apartment, and grow them on my balcony.
Trying to winter in the bedroom which is cooler than rest of apt.
They look pretty scrappy, but I am hoping....

Louisville, KY

I thought I would share another very interesting method of over wintering Colocasias a friend of mine has been using. He has been growing tropicals for several years and had trouble over wintering Col Black Magic and others inside so he threw all the bare rooted plants in buckets of water and put them in a garage that stayed just above freezing. The following spring the plants were still healthy and growing. I did test this out on some Big dippers in a greenhouse and they did do very well the bucket was full of roots. I am sure some varieties will no do well while others may strive in this situation during winter. It maybe something for someone to experiment with. He said that most of the forms that produced large tubers were fine just digging up but ones that have a hard time producing tubers also seemed to do best in the water bucket method. I was surprised by the results I would think a lot of buckets with a heat cable under them would preform extremely well.

Thanks so much Brian for the info. Gives us more options for next year.

zone 6a, KY

These are good things to know, if I can keep a small start growing and warm, but have a way to store the bigger plants without fighting for the window space... That's good stuff.

Louisville, KY

Hey Brian, Do you have any upright black stemmed macs?? Thanks for your input. I want to know if you have anything ready yet?? I know it's early, but I do well with mine in my house. Thanks Julie

Louisville, KY

This is for Brian too. You said your friend kept them in water and they lived. I am suprised they didn't rot. He just dug them up and put them in buckets of water without any light and left'em in the garage??? Interesting.

Louisville, KY

As for what I have and will have all I should say on here is that this year should be very good. I am highly looking forward to this spring.

As for the water bucket method I was also very surprised they did not rot but it seems a lot of the rot needs air to really spread the lack of air under the water seems to keep it from happening. I plan to really expand on this myself seeing how well it worked just from my first simple test. I am sure some plants will drown and die due to this method but a lot of plants can and will do very well in this situation. It needs to be looked into more.

Vieques, PR

I'd think the water'd have to be changed, and pretty frequently, to prevent bacterial growth --or is the garage reliably cold enough to preclude it?

Louisville, KY

I had one in the greenhouse last season and no water change was done. It did not smell or turn sour but I am sure in some cases it will. Possibly watering in the greenhouse kept it from going bad.

Louisville, KY

Thanks for your input Brian. I always keep mine in the garage in pots. I water sparingly til spring and get'em back out again. My garage is attached to the house, so it is totally warm and insulated. I will just stick to my old ways and not do the water in a bucket method. I don't want to chances with my EE's.

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