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Prepping for high winds - Colocasia & Alocasia

Lady's Island, SC(Zone 8b)

Tropical Storm Sandy is heading up the coast this weekend and we're predicted to get lots of rain and winds/gusts between 15mph to 27mph all of Saturday. Today will be a nice mostly sunny day to prepare. I am going to bring the potted and hanging plants inside. But I am kind of worried about my Alocasia and Colocasia which are in ground. I fear the leaves will be torn to shreds and/or have stalks broken in the winds. Is there anything I can do to protect them besides digging them up? The Alocasia Mayan Mask has 3 leaves and is about 3 1/2 feet tall and the Colocasia Black Beauty is about 3 feet tall but has many more leaves and lots of babies/pups under them.

While I fear I can't do much to protect the two above, I also have a Colocasia Fontanessii in ground with 3 leaves and the tallest leaf is only about a foot high. I just planted it about 2 weeks ago. Should I cover it with a cardboard box and put bricks on the flaps to anchor it? Or should I dig it up, pot it, and bring it inside, then replant it after the storm or in the spring?

Any other advice for protecting plants and flower gardens for high winds and gusts would be helpful! I have some Canna, Caladiums, several Blue Plumbago, Salvia (which I am sure will be flattened in the rain!), Ruella (Mexican Petunia), and Ginger, among other smaller perennials.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Do they die back in the winter? If they do it might not matter too much if the leaves get torn up. As far as the little one and a card board box. I don't think the cardboard would survive either the wind or rain and would only serve to add another projectile to damage it. If you have concrete blocks you could try putting four around it. put cover them with a piece of plywood or some boards and then put more blocks on the boards. I'm assuming that you can push a 12" plant down enough to fit in a 8" high container.

Any thing you can do to help break the wind will help, but it has to be sturdy enough to not add to the problem. Most plants should be able to withstand a 30 mph wind. it's the gusts that will do the damage.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

I agree, perennials are at the mercy of the weather, but if you think the wind might pull it out of the ground, you could put a few rocks around the base, to hold the roots down. That's really not that much for wind. A few times a year we get sustained winds of about 50 when a hurricane/TS goes nearby.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Savvy, each year my perennial plants are burnt by the sea salty gales we get here on the coast right on the waters edge more or less, I live atop the cliff so the strong wind from sea is blown right up the cliff, hits my house and then as it drops, it crashes along the flower beds,
I have tried over 30 years different things to protect the shrubs, perennial flowering plants etc but there are some thing help a little while other attempt have been a waist of time depending on the strength and temp during the storms.

If your plants are not too tall, I would use up turned larger pots placed over the plants in the soil, lay bricks on top and hope for the best, what you really have to do is Offer some protection that is not too high that can get lift off when the gusts of wind arrive because pots etc being tossed around is a danger not just for the plants but maybe other structures like glass ect. I also use chicken wire and before I cover the plants with that I try make a tent around small shrubs but to be honest, in those type of conditions, there is no full proof way to help, you might assess your better to loose a few plants that make shelters that endanger other more dangerous items IF the shelters you use cause even more damage, IF you have never experienced this type of weather conditions before then be assured that wind and water will have no respect at all for all your hard work, sad as that sounds, I sometimes with plenty warning go outside and chop all those type of plants down as they have passed there flowering season here but I concentrate more on protection for old but cared for shrubs that the wind burns the foliage off in a matter of moments but am not always successful and I've been trying for about 30 odd years in this garden and other before.
I wish I could help you more but just accept nature has her own way of biting us on the bum when we think we know best ha, ha, ha.
Good luck and make sure you gather all the garden furnishings inside, all the pots that sit anywhere that could cause damage IF blown about and also pets need taken inside for their own safety too.
Please let us know your safe once the hurricane has gone, good luck and very best wishes for your area.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

How did it go?

Lady's Island, SC(Zone 8b)

Well, Mother Nature spared us the rain. Here on the southern coast of SC on Lady's Island, we got no rain whatsoever. The Alocasia Mayan Mask did very good in the consistently gusty winds for the last 4 days. No snapped stalks or shredded leaves :-) The younger, newly planted Colocasia Fontanessii got covered by a large plastic pot and is doing great! However, on the other side of the yard, the Colocasia Black Beauty and her babies are not very happy with me right now. Their leaves are quite tattered and sad looking. Actually, they look rather bullet-ridden due to being bombarded by ACORNS from the nearby oak trees during the winds. Before Sandy, I had hoped Colocasia Black Beauty wouldn't die back to the ground in winter, but now, I am hoping they do! LOL

All other plants, shrubs etc. came through just fine...but it was sad watching the wind blow away the Canna flowers petal by petal. But thankfully, a few of their stalks should bloom this week for me to enjoy.

The funny part of it all were the plants I brought inside. For 4 days, I was living in the Amazon rain forest & ate meals next to a 5 foot tall guttating (crying) 4 leaved Alocasia Mayan Mask. LOL I sent my hubby (who is deployed) a picture of my rain forest and he said, "Welcome to the jungle!" LOL It was interesting, to say the least, but it was fun watching leaf #5 develop and unfold.

Thumbnail by SavvyDaze
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

My Black Magic Colocasias die back most years, but come back with a vengeance each spring, so yours should be fine. These are covered in Dew which changes the color.

Thumbnail by themoonhowl
Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

Good to hear it wasn't more destructive than that for you! There are leaves here with acorn holes in them too, funny. Didn't think about that when I planted them, but it wouldn't have made any difference. That giant oak tree hangs over about anywhere I could plant stuff. The EE's are about finished for the year anyway, as soon as Jack Frost shows up. Good luck for a great show next year!

Lady's Island, SC(Zone 8b)

themoonhowl, funny that dew changes their color! But they are still beautiful! How long after dew changes their color does their color go back to normal?

purpleinopp, I didn't think about oak trees/acorns either when I planted my Alocasia Mayan Mask and Colocasia Black Beauty underneath their far reaching branches. Then about the beginning of September when acorns began to fall, I was in horror LOL I dug up 1 Mayan Mask and potted it and moved another to a different bed closer to the house at the ends of oak tree branches.

The picture is the one I potted up. I brought it inside about a week ago and it grew a new leaf already. It really likes the window I have it in and receives light from about 9am to 1pm. Hopefully, it will still get good light once the time changes tonight. Otherwise , I will have to move it to a corner in my bedroom where it will have a window on each offers morning light, the other afternoon light. Growing in the pot with it is Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' and Philodendron Xanadu.

Thumbnail by SavvyDaze
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Thanks SavvyDaze. It is just the way the light refracts off the leaves. As soon as the sun came up and dried up the dew, the leaves were their normal Purple-black. Nice looking plants.

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