Because it's been so mild, there has not been any urgency in digging up the tropicals. Yes I dug and brought into the garage some of the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and the upright elephant ears (Alocasia macrorrhiza) quite a while ago, but the plants with tubers or rhizomes I've not worried about. Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta and others) and various cannas have been fine out there -- the ground has not yet frozen.
With temperatures falling well below freezing and not coming much up above it again for a few days beginning tonight, I had to start some digging yesterday. Above is a bucket of mixed Colocasia tubers, straight from the ground.
Another bucket of one of my favorite dark red stemmed Colocasias, 'Sangria':
I planted this one out rather late last year so it didn't get as large as I had hoped, but there are still several good chunks I can plant next year.
A large tub of Canna 'Paton' too, one of my favorite cannas because of the way it holds its leaves:
All of these things are a muddy mess, so for me the first step is to clean them up a bit.
Into a bucket of water they go!
The mixed colocasia look so nice:
The water is quite muddy, but that doesn't matter.
The 'Sangria' went in next:
A few inches of muck is building up on the bottom of the water bucket, but this water is still fine for cleaning. The canna go in:
And come out:
I don't worry about trimming the roots, but I may do it a bit. Probably not.
I used to spray these things with water from the hose to clean them (when I did this earlier in the season before the hoses were all stored), but that wastes so much water. A couple of gallons in the bucket cleaned three different containers of the "roots". Much less mess too although I do wonder why I tackled this splashy job in the basement...
The remaining Canna 'Paton' chunk was much too large for the bucket so I wanted to chop it in half:
I couldn't find my spade though. I'm not sure if I left it outside in the yard somewhere, or if it got moved somewhere in the garage that I can't see it. (I've been rearranging and cleaning it, converting it into a workshop.)
No worries, as it's not like this task is finished yet. I still have the biggest Colocasia to clean:
Plus there are a dozen or so plants outdoors that I'll need to dig later today too.
I should point out that there's really no reason that I need to clean these other than it makes me feel better and creates less mess later. I've found that almost any way I store elephant ears and cannas over the winter results in survival. The only rule is that they must not freeze.