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How To Overwinter Elephant Ears Step By Step Guide

You only need three steps to know how to overwinter elephant ears, and at this point, you might already have a clue about the secret to success. Winter doesn’t have to be a stressful period for gardeners with the help of the greenhouse. Much like with annuals, you can keep your elephant ears safe by preparing it well and storing it in the greenhouse. 

Elephant ear plants or wild taro thrive well in full sun, so you can assume that they are not cold hardy. After all, you can consider them as tropical plants that can face problems in temperatures below 50°F. But before you let go of these eye-catching plants, if your area experiences winter, you can learn below how to overwinter elephant ears successfully and have them year to year. 

 

How To Overwinter Elephant Ears Step By Step Guide

How To Overwinter Elephant Ears The Easiest Way

 

Step #1. Digging

According to Iowa State University, the best time to dig up elephant ear plants is after the first frost in fall. It’s also worth noting that you may find sources using the term elephant ear bulbs and elephant ear tubers interchangeably, but the latter is the correct term. With that being said, the first step to overwintering these plants is digging the “bulbs” out of the soil. 

A safe way to dig the bulb is to start a foot away from the base. It’s crucial that you carefully dig out the bulbs because the most common problem is rotting in the winter. This is due to the bulb’s damages, so practice gentleness and diligence as you dig and lift the plant and bulb. 

 

Step #2. Cleaning

Once you have the bulbs, you want to cut off the foliage and clean them to remove the dirt. However, you don’t have to scrub them and aim to have a completely clean bulb. You can just rinse them gently and dry somewhere warm for one to two weeks. 

 

Step #3. Drying and storage

As previously mentioned, you want to dry the bulbs for one to two weeks after you cleaned them. A warm and dark area should suffice, but ensure that the place is not hot and still provides good air circulation. After a week or two, place the bulbs in peat moss and store them in the greenhouse. 

 

Greenhouse storage

You can also bury the bulbs in wood shavings, but why the greenhouse? The advantage of using a greenhouse for storing or overwintering elephant ears is because you can ensure that the structure protects them from external factors, whether it’s the climate, pests, or animals. More so, the ideal storage location should stay between 70 to 75°F, and this is easy to maintain in the greenhouse. 

An area that is cool and dry should keep your elephant ears well over the winter. However, it would be best always to check on them if some are rotting or if there are pests present. This way, you can immediately remove the rotting bulb or use an insecticide and save the remaining bulbs.  

 

Home storage

If you don’t have a greenhouse, some gardeners also overwinter their elephant ears inside the house. This is possible as long as the location is bright and humid, and you treat it as a houseplant, meaning you maintain soil moisture. After the danger of frost has passed in spring, you can then replant your elephant ears outside. 

 

How To Plant Elephant Ears

Proper planting of elephant ears is also crucial to enjoy these plants year to year. As mentioned previously, you can do so in spring after the danger of frost has passed. You can also start them in the greenhouse four weeks before the average last frost date if you want early blooms. 

In general, you want the soil to be around 65°F for these tropical plants. You can plant the bulbs at a depth of 5 inches, providing a distance of 18 inches to 3 feet apart from each other, depending on the variety you have. Make sure that the pointed end is facing upward, cover with soil, and maintain soil moisture. 

Regular watering and mulching should help keep the soil moist, ideal for the development of elephant ears. They are also heavy feeders, and you can fertilize every three weeks. For maintenance, you can remove the dead leaves throughout the growing season. 

 

Conclusion

Wild taro or elephant ears are one of the most eye-catching plants you can add to the garden. But because they are tropical plants in nature, you must learn how to overwinter elephant ears to enjoy them year to year. The good news is that it’s as simple as digging the tubers, cleaning and drying them, and storing them somewhere cool and dry until replanting in spring after frost. 

The emphasis is on carefully digging out the tubers because damaged elephant ear plants are prone to rotting in the winter. You should also clean and dry them for a week or two before burying them in peat moss or wood shavings. Lastly, you can opt to store them in the greenhouse or at your home. 

The beauty of using a greenhouse is you know that the tubers will be unbothered, and you can easily maintain the temperatures for them. However, diligence is still necessary to quickly address potential problems like rot and pests and prevent them from spreading. 

 

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How to Harvest Marigold Flowers and Seeds: Tools And Tips

How to Harvest Marigold Flowers and Seeds: Tools And Tips

Want to know how to harvest marigold flowers and seeds? Marigold flowers are a mainstay in most of the gardens. They bloom beautiful flowers all season long and they’re easy to grow from seed. Knowing how to save marigold seeds is essential if you want to continue growing them the next season.

Fortunately, harvesting marigold seeds are quite quick and easy. You only need to take the seeds from the flowers and let them air dry before storing them during the winter season. You can pack it up with a container or seed packets to save even more for the next growing season. Some of the marigold flowers are edible and best to mix in your salads to add a distinct flavor to it.

 

Tools You’ll Need to Harvest Marigold Flowers

The tools you’ll need to harvest marigold flowers include a basket or other available containers that can be used in harvesting flowers. You’ll also need some paper towels, a sharp knife, a pair of scissors, or gardening shears.

Since you need to evaluate or describe the process, get yourself some notes. Seed packets can be envelopes or closed-air containers excluding plastic containers and bags.

 

How to Harvest Marigold Flowers and Seeds

Here’s how you can harvest marigold plants for flower arrangements and bouquets:

 

Letting Marigold Flowers Dry

It’s important to wait until the right time to collect marigold seeds. You can harvest the seeds when the petals are dry already (when the base of each flower turning brownish). However, make sure there’s still is a bit of green color left in the base of the bloom. If you also wait until it is completely turned brown, it may start to rot or mold. It’s important to wait for the perfect time to harvest marigolds since the timing is crucial to have the right quality of marigold seeds.

Tip in harvesting: While you are harvesting, simply cut each marigold flower heads using your cutting equipment or either pinch it with your finger. However, be sure not to pull the flowers as it can harm the roots of your marigolds.

 

Opening the Marigold

Get your paper towel and set it on a flat surface. After, hold each bloom’s base, pull-off, and discard the petals and leaves of it. Then, you will easily notice the attached seeds inside the base. In the meantime, set the prepared blooms on your paper towels for bulk removal of seeds. You may also use larger towels to manage and accommodate the abundant blooms of your marigolds.

 

Removal of Marigold Seeds

Marigold seeds are likely to have a long, slender, and pointed appearance. Divided ends with black color and white color on the opposite edge. Gather your blooms, pull-off all petals, and leaves, and start pulling the seeds from the base. After getting all marigold seeds, discard the base in a single place like in bins or garbage bags. After sorting, put another paper towel on another flat surface and spread the pulled marigold seeds on it.

 

Drying of Seeds

As mentioned above, let your marigold seeds air dry for about a week in an uncovered paper towel. It will enable them to be preserved even in frost season and will prevent it from getting rot and mold.

 

Seed Storing

After drying the seeds, gather them and start placing them inside your seed packets to prolong their lifespan and will still be used after the frost date. Do not use plastic bags in storing your marigold seeds because it will retain residual moisture, which will affect your marigold seeds and even get rot and mold. To avoid forgetting about your marigold seeds, put a label on it to prevent possible disposal if unlabeled.

 

Using Stored Seeds for Replanting

After storing your collected marigold seeds, it is perfect to plant during the growing season. You can enjoy once again the benefits of it from house beautification to an edible ingredient for your salad.

 

Facts about Marigold Flowers

Marigolds are especially good for repelling insects and pests, making them companion plant for tomatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, and chili pepper because of its pungent scent of some variety. It is amazing having this kind of flow in your plant, imagine you don’t only have a beautiful attractive garden but having also a very natural insect and pest repellent that will protect your plants from any abrogation.

African marigolds have larger flower heads on plants that grow from 10 to 36 inches tall. While French marigolds are smaller and bushier, having only two inches of flower head across on plants and only having six to eighteen inches height. Sizes and colors vary on its classification, having a mixed combination is pretty great, will also add more pleasant and abundant color to your garden.

 

The Benefits of Growing Marigolds in a Greenhouse

Have you ever thought of growing your marigolds in a greenhouse? If you haven’t, it’s time to consider getting a greenhouse.

Greenhouses are great for keeping your marigolds safe from pests and diseases. Marigolds are susceptible to insects and blight, such as caterpillars, aphids, leaf spots, and mildews. You can lower the risk of plant damage by growing your marigolds in a greenhouse.

Additionally, greenhouses can also keep your plants safe from bad weather that could easily damage your flowers.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Harvest Marigold Flowers and Seeds

Knowing how to harvest marigold flowers and seeds is crucial if you’re planning to plant them in your garden. These beautiful flowers that usually come in yellow and orange colors are a great addition to any garden or flower arrangement.

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