When To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs: Zone 6 And 7

Not every flower blooms in every location or every season. Similarly, elephant ears, also known as Colocasia and Alocasia, are Asian native plants that only thrive in specific climates and temperatures.

These are grown as perennials or annuals, meaning they can survive for two years at most, or sometimes people should discard them after a year.

Elephant ears are a very popular choice for houseplants as they add to the garden’s beauty with their long stems and big leaves, making small canopies.

These plants can stay alive all year round, and in most areas, they can survive two winters as well, depending on how you care for them and the temperature drop in the area.

In the US, the planting territories are divided according to each area’s climate and winter temperatures; this marks each area as a hardiness zone. Each zone has an upper and lower limit for the winter temperature.

What Is Plant Hardiness in Zone 7?

A plant’s hardiness is to withstand the lowest temperature in an area; if it remains unscathed after a harsh winter, there are chances for its survival, but this also depends if it has any ability left to bloom back.

Zone 7 has temperature limits between zero to ten Fahrenheit; it is further divided into two other categories 7a and 7b. The 7a is the upper end of the scale having the areas whose temperature falls between zero and five degrees Fahrenheit and then there is the 7b zone that has the areas under the temperature limit of five to 10 Fahrenheit.

Many flowers can be grown in this zone, such as Asters, Bee Balm, Clematis, Hydrangeas, Daylily, Phlox, Yarrow, and many more.

Similarly, the Elephant Ear, or Alocasia, has some categories which can survive in zone 7. The Elephant Ears are frost sensitive and will die outside in extremely cold conditions.

The ground turns cold, and the plant doesn’t survive to bloom in the spring. Alocasia plumbea, cucullate, and mycorrhiza are some types that are hardy in zone 7.

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When To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs: Zone 7

The Elephant Ear plants are frost sensitive, so it is important to plant Colocasia in such a season that they get the maximum time to live before the next frost hits. The typical timeline that a gardener must follow for the plantation of Colocasia or Alocasia to have it in the outdoor garden is during the spring.

From the clear after the last frost, the Colocasia bulbs can enjoy the warm summer weather and the fall’s light chill. If the Alocasia bulbs are planted right away in the first week of spring, they can grow and become fully mature until the next winter arrives.

The Alocasia are not native to the zone 7 areas in the US as they are acclimated to growing in Asia, where the winters are harsh only in the extreme north. The tropical environment is only prevalent from spring to autumn.

The plants need to be in healthy condition so that there is no irrevocable damage to the plants in the severe cold when they are transported from an outside garden to an indoor area.

The frost lasts till May in many areas of zone 7, and dates for each year will vary due to changing climate conditions; the last time these zones were revised was in 2012 and are subject to change.

If you have checked that you are in zone 7, you must consult a farmer or experienced gardener for a frost date map which can guide you about the location of your area on the map and give you an idea of when to plant the Colocasia bulbs.

There are two ways to start planting the bulbs or seeds of the Elephant Ear plant; for both, consistent temperature above the freezing level is the main requirement. The Colocasia can only grow if the ground is warm enough.

The first method is to wait till the ground becomes consistently warm, this way, you can sow seeds or bulbs directly into the soil, and the risk of transplant shock will be lowered.

The second method uses both indoor and outdoor gardening techniques. So, the room temperature inside the house is easier to control with the HVAC system and using the radiator, you can provide a warm and fuzzy climate to the indoor plants. Similarly, Colocasia bulbs can also be first sown in the pots in a room with seventy degrees Fahrenheit.

People can do this six weeks before the last frost dies; the head start will be a quick way to grow an Alocasia quickly.

As the ground temperature reaches a constant above freezing, transplant it back into the outdoor garden, which will grow firm in that soil.

These are the issues if you want to grow an Elephant Ear plant in an outdoor garden, but if you have an indoor garden that is temperature monitored, then well-drained soil is perfect for growing the Colocasia.

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What Is Plant Hardiness In Zone 6?

The hardiness in zone 6 is a lot more to endure for Elephant Ear plants because they aren’t able to withstand it. The zone is also divided into two categories 6a and 6b.

The first one entails the temperature limit from minus ten degrees Fahrenheit to minus five degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, zone 6b has the winters falling into the temperature limit of minus five degrees to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Several states, such as New Jersey, North Caroline, Maryland, parts of the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic, fall in this category. The northwest parts like Washington, Idaho, and Oregon are also a part of zone 6.

The plants that survive in this climate are Hydrangeas, Apple trees, Daylily, Dahlia, Sage, Coreopsis, and Coneflowers. Many others, like bee balms, Asters, Campanulas, and Azalea, are grown in these regions.

The Elephant Ears can also grow in these areas because the soil is perfect with harsh winters and warm heated summers, the only danger in this zone is frost. So, when to plant Elephant Ear plants in zone 6? Let’s find out.

When To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs: Zone 6

Similar to how the Elephant Ear plants are grown in zone 7, the first and the last frost dates matter when you plant these bulbs. The average dates for the first frost lie between the 17th to 31st of October each year.

People must ensure that the plant is brought back into the house. Use a large pot with minerals and nutrients to grow it inside the house, where the temperature is controlled.

The average last frost date is in mid-April, so there is a longer period to plant Colocasia plants in warm soil.

If you want to use the other method in which the bulb is sown in a pot and after six weeks when the soil is consistently warm, the plant can grow in it, then that method will allow you to see the bloom early in your garden.

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How To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs?

You can follow these steps and plant these yourself.

  1. Start with finding a place that is a well-drained soil area with partial sunlight. The soil must be adequately wet so that plant uses the water to grow. Moreover, overexposure to sunlight is not healthy for these plants.
  2. Do not choose a place with heavy wind flows; at the initial stages, the plant is weak, and the winds can damage it.
  3. Prepare the soil by adding compost and manure, which are rich in nutrients that a plant can absorb.
  4. Start digging holes for the bulbs; always make them twice as large as the bulb.
  5. The holes can only be 2 inches deep because Colocasia plants like to grow closer to the surface.
  6. Once they are all grown, enjoy them all the summer and autumn, then transport them into the pots and keep them inside the house to protect them from cold and frost, then transport them back into the soil when it is warm. Using this method, you can grow the plants as perennials instead of annuals.

Wrapping It All

Zone 6 and 7 both have severe cold temperatures, especially in areas that come in zone 6a. It is not possible to let the Alocasia or Colocasia grow in the winter or even leave them outside in the frost.

The plants would die from the cold, so the best way to ensure that the plant lives most of its life is to transport it into the pot and keep it indoors during winter. The best time to plant these bulbs is in the spring, right after the ground becomes consistently warm after the last frost.