If your one of the lucky gardeners who live in warm growing zones then it’s very likely all you need to do for your Elephant Ear plants is add a layer of mulch and move on. For those of us that live in zones that dip below zero degrees for days on end and your normal winter temps are below 46 degrees fahrenheit we need to do a little more work to make sure our Elephant Ear Plants survive the winter.
Elephant ear plants are tropical plants that are not winter hardy in most climates. They need to be protected from frost and freezing temperatures. There are three ways to overwinter elephant ear plants: outdoors or indoors.
If you are unsure of your growing zone find out here!
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Overwintering elephant ear plants outdoors
If you live in a climate with mild winters (USDA zones 8-11), you may be able to overwinter your elephant ear plants outdoors. To do this, follow these steps:
- Cut the stems back to about 6 inches tall after the first frost.
- Cover the plants with a thick layer of mulch, such as straw, leaves, or pine needles.
- You may also want to cover the plants with a frost blanket or burlap.
- Uncover the plants in the spring after the last frost.
Overwintering elephant ear plants indoors as bare bulbs
If you live in a climate with cold winters (USDA zones 7-10), or if you want to be extra cautious, you can overwinter your plants indoors. To do this, follow these steps:
- Dig up the tubers before the first frost.
- Cut the stems back to about 6 inches tall. Allow bulbs to dry for a week.
- Place the tubers in a paper bag or cardboard box with some dry peat moss or vermiculite.
- Store the tubers in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or garage.
- Check the tubers periodically and make sure they are not rotting.
- In the spring, plant the tubers outdoors after the last frost.
Read how to wake up your Elephant Ear Bulbs in spring here!
Overwintering potted elephant ears indoors during winter
If your Elephant ear plant is potted you will follow these directions
- Place the plants in a bright, indirect location. If you don’t have a bright spot you may want to add in a grow light. If you notice your plants stems are tall and flopping then your plant is not getting enough light.
- Water your plants when the soil is dry half way down. Be careful not to overwater them. The soil should be moist, but not soggy after watering.
- Fertilize the plants once a month with a very diluted balanced fertilizer.
- Mist the plants regularly to increase humidity or place a humidifier nearby.
If you follow these tips, your elephant ear plants will thrive indoors during the winter and be ready to plant outdoors in the spring.