I have an elephant ear plant that is about 3 feet tall. I have a place in FL and would like to take my plant there. My question is, can I cut my plant down for traveling in the car without bending the leaves, which are another 2 feet tall, without killing it?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Elena in Kentucky: Elephant ears provide large, tropical looking foliage for any garden. There are several different colocasias and even more alocasias, which are also sometimes referred to as elephant ears. The overall size of these plants depends on which variety you are growing but they are all bulbs. This means that if you need to remove all the foliage for transport purposes, you can do so without fear of losing the plant. The bulb has had plenty of time this growing season to take up and store nutrients needed for next season’s growth. In northern climates, where these plants are considered tropical bulbs, we go through this process every fall. You can either grow them in containers and bring the entire container indoors for the winter months or you can cut back the foliage. Dig up the bulb and remove the soil, allow it to dry for a few days in a shaded space with good air circulation, then place it in a brown paper bag. It can be stored in any area that is dark and dry with average to cool temperatures. Next spring you can bring the bulb back out and pot it up. It will take a few weeks before you see any growth but this process is well worth it by the middle of the summer. Since you are moving it to a much warmer climate you might want to try and transport it without removing any of the foliage so you can enjoy it year-round. Before putting it in the moving van you can give it some extra protection by wrapping it in burlap. This is not going to stop it from being damaged but wrapping it tightly will help in terms of width restrictions. Height is what it is so you might have to remove some of the taller foliage, but either way you can be sure the move is not going to kill your plant. Travel safe!