image of jumbo elephant ears

It Looks Pretty Grim for My Overwintered Elephant Ear Bulbs – All Dried Up!

Today I have brought out my overwintered elephant ear bulbs and it is looking pretty grim. They are all dried up it seems, all brown and very light in weight. All of the Elephant Ears I have seen and bought are hard bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Not just this dry wad of husks. Are they doomed? Only a few of them feel slightly hard deep inside, so is it a waste of time to plant them?

image of dried elephant ear bulbs

Not sure, but if I spend a few minutes planting them and they grow, got me some Elephant Ears. If I don’t and toss them, I will never know. So I vote to go ahead and get them in some soil so that I can see what happens.

It is too early for them to go outside since we in Ohio have still been getting snow this week. Weird April, I know. But I have planted EE before very early and allowed them to get a head start inside. But this year, on Lockdown, I can’t get out and get a few large bags of soil which is what I would need to fill the large containers. So we will give them “temporary housing” to see if they grow.

image of Elephant Ear bulb
Here is last year’s Elephant Ear. These were the Jumbo type.

Here is the Overwintered Elephant Ear – Big difference, right?

image of overwintered elephant ear dried up
Doesn’t look very good but we will try.

Later they can be moved into their permanent (for the summer) homes. I plan to use the same big pots I did last year and put them on the deck in the sun. They did so well last year and I was looking forward to seeing if I could carry them over winter.

If I give them a good month or more inside, I may still get a plant. Meanwhile, I think I will look for some big Jumbo Bulbs again and get them started too. Why wait another month?  In the event some of these overwintered elephant ear bulbs grow, that will just add more to the mix.

image of Coffee Cups Leaf Colocasia esculenta

And I HAVE to have some more Coffee Cup style. They were awesome!

Overwintered Elephant Ears - They Look Dried Up But I Will Try. Jumbo and Coffee Cups Types

Here’s the video so you can see for yourself how they looked. Do I have any hope at all? Let me know in the comments or let’s talk over on the video on YouTube. Thanks for reading!


  1. Stinne Piotrowsky says:

    I am really curious to know if the bulbs will rot if I de- eye them and plant them straight ahead? I forgot to let them callous over as I normally would so today I potted up a bunch of Caladium bulbs, all de- eyed right before and gave them a good watering at the end.
    Now I’m so nervous they will just rot?
    Any experience with this?

    1. I am not sure what you mean. Do you mean take away the eye and plant? or just plant the “eye”? I think they need the eye to grow.

  2. I live in Northern Ohio myself, and never ever had this problem they are so light in weight and hardly nothing to them. I have around 100 like this and very concerned. This is the very 1st time have looked like this. Please reply?? Help!!!

    1. I had some that looked really pathetic and planted them. They did grow and leaf out, not as nice as they would have if had been a good hard bulb.

  3. Hey Kim, any update on your elephant ears? I’m facing the same issue and I’m wondering whether I should pot those dried out corms or just toss them away

    1. I wasn’t very successful. They did finally grow but only got about 6 inches high with tiny leaves. Then just dried up and died. It was more trouble for me than just buying a new bulb in spring. That’s what I have done this year and have huge plants again.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Mine are colocasia white lava and they are hard to come by over here so I’m gonna give it a try. Happy to hear there’s hope, I just need to be patient

  4. Craig newsome says:

    Seriously, no update?

  5. Hi Kim,
    I overwinter my elephant ears every year and they grow just fine. It looks like you do have a little growth going on. I would be more concerned if they were soft & squishy. I started with 3 or 4 of the jumbo bulbs years ago and now have well over 300 tubers. Mine multiply like rabbits. I generally plant them right in the ground in the spring. I live in Pennsylvania so like you, the weather hasn’t been that great thus far. I will probably start pulling mine out to plant over the next couple of weeks. Given the space to grow, I have had leaves as big as a 3 year old child. Good luck with your plants.

    1. Thanks and I keep hoping. Nothing is showing yet at soil level. (Still in pots.) But I am going to keeping watching. May have to dump these and start over with new bulbs. And I wanted the Coffee Cup one so bad!

  6. I think I might have soaked the bulbs for a few hours before putting in the soil. Wish you the best.

    1. That is a really good idea and I wish I had thought of that. I don’t hold out much hope for them, but we shall see. If Ohio could just get some warmer (and steady) weather.

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