We had a hard frost last night so that means today I have to cut down the elephant ears and banana trees. I really hate to have to do that as they are so nice. The elephant ears are enormous this year. But I know that next year they will be just as nice. I am going to concentrate on the elephant ears here.
Of course, I didn't remember to take any picture of them before I cut them down, but did find a photo of them coming up in the spring from a few years ago.
These are really nice plants. they grown in almost any conditions but are tropical so they either need to be brought in or the bulbs harvested in the fall.
This spring I planted 4 bulbs and today I harvested about 16 - 20 bulbs. Once you get one plant you should never need to buy another one again. I purchased my plant as a house plant many years ago. I found that after several years in the pot and several re-poting they just were not looking great. So one year I decided to plant them directly in the ground. Wow, what a difference that made and now I am overrun with them.
So as I mentioned at the beginning, we had a frost last night. I could have left the plants for a few days but I like to make sure they are healthy when I take them in. This is really easy and doesn't take long.
The first think I did was cut down all the growth. This just makes it easier to handle everything. You are going to cut all the stalk off anyway so you don't want to deal with this. I used a hack saw as the stems are thick but not hard to do. They are mostly water. Next I dug up the bulbs. Don't worry when doing this that you will cut some roots or the bulbs themselves. You are going to cut all the roots off anyway and separate the bulbs so they will have to break. This does not hurt them at all. After I had the bulbs out I cut all the short roots, cut any stems remaining and separated as many of the individual bulbs as possible. Of course, make sure you get as much dirt out from around the bulbs as possible. You don't want that. Then package them in a sturdy box or some sort of container and store in a cool (not cold do not let them freeze, also not warm you don't want them to sprout) place for the winter. In the spring, after the soil has warmed just replant the bulbs. You could also package some of them in burlap fabric and put them in a gift bag or box and give them as Christmas presents. Certainly you will have many more than you stated with, so give as many away as you like.
This is what they look like when you dig them up. Sometime there will be bulbs that seperate from the main mass.
All these little roots need to be cut off. Don't worry it will not hurt the bulbs.
I am cutting any additional stalk off the bulb. This is going to dry up anyway and just takes up space in the storage container. You can see that I don't have much left of an individual bulb. You will have some that are much larger than this.
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