|Wednesday Q & A: Elephant Ears and Cannas|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 16 May 2012|
Daily Dirt experts answer your questions about elephant ears (pictured above) and cannas, both of which are native to the tropics, but are very popular ornamental flowering plants here in the US.
Q: Do I need to dig up my elephant ear bulbs? What do I do with them for the winter?
A: Yes, you need to dig up elephant ear bulbs once frost kills back the foliage. Carefully lift the bulb and remove any excess soil from it. The bulb should be stored in a frost-free location, perhaps a garage or basement.
Place the bulb in a flat, crate or open box filled with vermiculite, peat moss or shredded newspaper. Check the bulbs periodically for any signs of rot. If so, discard. Replant next spring. To get an early jump on the season, start the bulbs indoors in a warm, sunny location. After all danger of frost has passed, plant outdoors.
Q: Can I grow new plants from the seeds of the cannas growing in my gardens?
A: You sure can! Hereís how. Allow the green pods to mature. You will know when they are ripe when the pod splits open on its own and brown/black seeds can be found. Tip: If you cut open a pod and the seeds are white or beige, they arenít ripe yet.
Store the seeds in the refrigerator in a seal tight jar for the winter. In February you can begin the germination process. At that time, you'll have to nick or chip the hard seed coat (if you don't, it will never germinate!). Germination is best when temperatures are around 70 degrees F. Keep in mind however, that not all cannas will produce seedlings, and if they do germinate, the resulting plants may not be exactly like the parent plant. In other words, they don't always reproduce true from seed. It canít hurt to give it a try though. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Photo source: http://agrilifeblogs.tamu.edu