It's time

With a hard freeze a day away, it's time to take some drastic steps. This hurts every year I do it, but this year less than usual since it's so late.

That's right, it's time to preemptively do what the weather will do in another day or so.


And that's to turn this beautiful clump of upright elephant ears (Alocasia macrorhiza)...

...into this:

Kumo can't bear to look...

Then they turn into this:

I'll trim off most of these roots

The drainage slowdown I hoped to create in the second pot seemed to be working too well:

That made a messy, muddy dig but I ended up getting 8 or 9 plants out of these two pots. I'm not sure if I'll plant them all separately next year or clump them together a bit. The fullness of the planting this year was really fantastic, so I expect I'll plant multiples.

That's getting ahead of myself a little as there are still several months of storage that these things need to make it through. I've never had one fail (rot) over winter in the garage though, so I'm unconcerned -- I'll have plenty of these next year!

The potted papyrus needed a good trimming so I could bring the pot into the garage too:

In the past I've left a lot more stems on this, but they just get in the way and I don't think they're necessary. Just need to have some parts alive (they are) and they need to stay wet all winter. That's why I store in pots that don't have drainage and in buckets. Wet is key!

Speaking of wet, remember my covered leaf pile that will be used to mulch the bananas?


...that didn't work out exactly as planned:

There's about 10 gallons of water in there! I have quite a bit of bailing to do to get that water out without dampening the leaves...

...which at least appear to still be dry.

A few more pots to bring indoors today. Must find space...


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outlawgardener  – (November 20, 2015 at 2:17 PM)  

So sad! I'm with Kumo. So, you could make concrete leaf castings with some of the elephant ear leaves and dry the papyrus for an arrangement inside. Spray paint them silver or gold, toss on a little glitter and you could decorate a tree with them. Sub freezing temps are predicted here as well so I'm bringing in the last few plants today.

Jaime Haney  – (November 24, 2015 at 5:50 PM)  

I just found your blog today and believe we are in the same zone (6b). I see your very large banana trees and wondered how you're planning on saving them. I had some given to me this year and really dread digging them up, but they're not nearly as large as yours.

We have some of the same plants, too! :-) I love your blog. If you'd like to see mine some time, I'm at

Alan  – (November 24, 2015 at 8:21 PM)  

Jaime: The Musa basjoo shown here will survive in the ground if mulched well -- the pseudostems (trunks) may freeze and turn to mush, but below ground all is well. With less hardy bananas you have to dig them up and store indoors -- remove all leaves except the center one (still rolled up) and store the pseudostem indoors. They may or may not make it depending on how wet they are when you bring them in -- dry is better I've read.

Jaime Haney  – (November 24, 2015 at 10:42 PM)  

Ugh, that's what I was afraid of. The person who gave them to me digs his up. Thanks again for the advice, much appreciated!

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