Tips For Storing Elephant Ear Bulbs for the Winter

by Clarence Santangelo

Hey folks. My wife has been begging me to put this article together, so here it is!

Wondering what to do with your elephant ear plants as the weather gets cold? As much as I love these tropical beauties, they simply can’t handle frosty temperatures.

Good news is you can store their bulbs for the winter and have them back again next year. So, let me take you through the process of digging up and storing elephant ear bulbs for the winter.

Let’s get started with digging.

Preparations & digging

Hey there, let’s make sure your elephant ear plants stay kickin’ it for seasons to come.

To start, let’s grab a pair of gloves, a shovel, and a bucket—we’re gonna need these to safely dig up your plants. Next, we want to choose a good day when it’s not raining and the soil is dry. Trust me, digging in wet soil is a pain in the neck.

You should also think about where to store the elephant ear bulbs for the winter. Somewhere cool and dry is ideal—like a garage, basement, or closet. You can even bring the plants inside and put them in some containers over the winter so you never have to say goodbye.

Once you’ve got all your gear and plans sorted, let’s get to digging. Start by digging around the plant in a circle that’s about 6-8 inches deep. Then, gently pop the plant out of the soil and give it a little shake to shed any extra dirt. Cut off any dead leaves and trim the stems.

Finally, chuck the bulbs into your bucket and you’re good to go! We’ll talk next about keeping your bulbs in a good condition over the winter.

Storing your elephant ear bulbs

Alrighty, now let’s go over how to keep those bulbs healthy over the winter. First off, give them a good scrub down to remove any dirt or debris that’s hanging around. Use your hands or a soft brush, there’s no need to break out the power tools here!

Now, it’s time for storage. You want to find a place that’s dry and cool – not too wet, but not too dry either. Your best bet is a spot with good ventilation like a garage, basement, or closet. It’s important to store them in a breathable container like a paper bag, a mesh bag, or even an old pillowcase.

Here are some tips to make sure your bulbs stay healthy and happy:

  • Try to keep the storage temperature between 50-60°F.
  • Check the bulbs periodically to make sure they’re not rotting or drying out.
  • If you notice any rotting or mold, be sure to remove the affected bulbs immediately.
  • If the bulbs are starting to look shriveled, try misting them lightly with water to add some moisture back in.
  • Keep an eye out for pests too. If you spot any creepy crawlies, dispose of them right away.

Replanting your bulbs

When I first started planting these guys, I thought it would take three to four years to get a bulb. But, surprise! Guess what? These furry green clusters pop up and grow in a single season. Crazy, huh?

Anyhow, here’s what you need to do to replant these lovely, tropical plants come springtime:

Start by assessing the weather. You want to make sure there’s no chance of a pesky frost. The best time to replant (unless you’re in some fancy, tropical locale) is after May, when the last icy breath of winter has disappeared.

Find a spot with good drainage, plenty of sunlight, and well-drained soil. Once you’ve found a spot, dig a hole that’s twice the size of the bulb you plan on planting.

Place the bulbs in the hole with the pointy end facing up and the roots going down into the soil. Then, cover the bulbs with soil and press down to firm it up.

Lastly, give your plants some water to start their new life. Be sure to give them extra care for the first few weeks to help them get established in their new home.

That’s it! Now you know how to replant your elephant ear bulbs and have them looking gorgeous and tropical in no time. Let us know in the comments if you’ve grown these beauties before and what worked for you!

The Spruce helped us out a lot with writing this article, so hats off to those folks!