Elephant ears-can they be moved from ground to pot?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Erin Eskina, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Erin Eskina

    Erin Eskina New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    I have two elephant ear plants planted this passed spring as bulbs. They are the most common type. I would like to dig them up and pot them to move inside. Can this be done successfully? If so, what growing medium should be used. I’ve seen different recommendations; sand/soil mix, straight potting soil, hummus, peat, etc. Additionally I’ve read conflicting recommendations with regard to watering. Keep evenly moist, let the top dry, that they can live in water...
    I would appreciate some proven consistent recommendations.
    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  2. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Yes, you can dig them out and plant into large enough containers.
    You can use potting soil, that is rich of compost or other organics. Well draining soil types are preferred (easier to avoid root rot), you may even use gravel on the bottom of the container to improve drainage. Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Keep these plants in well lit place, but avoid long exposure to direct sunlight, unless they were in the full sunlight outdoors, this case they can handle full sunlight indoors also.
     
  3. Erin Eskina

    Erin Eskina New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Thank you very much for the information!
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,615
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  5. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Such "myth busting" science, without referring any peer-reviewed scientific magazines, is ridiculous. Everyone, who has some knowlegde on construction, knows, that coarse layer breaks capillary raise of water and this is the reason, why such layer is used under roads and foundations.
    Of course, things can always be done in wrong way. The layer of gravel does not substitute drainage holes in the bottom of the container. It helps to avoid, that the water, that runs through the pot into the plant saucer will continue to wet the soil after watering.
    Don't combine a clay soil on top of a gravel.
    In case the fine soil, rich in organics (peat, compost), touches water level in the plant saucer, then the soil remains soaking wet until all the water from the saucer is drained (or vaporized) away.
    The drainage layer looses it's purpose, if a narrow high-edged (decorative) enclosure pot is used, instead of a plant saucer. Or when the planting pot is not in some water tight container. But usually indoor plant pots have something to keep water from getting there, where it is not wanted.

    The elephant ear plant does not mind temporary saturation of soil with water. It's long lasting saturation, that should be avoided.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,615
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  7. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Still, no scientific research article found, to explain, what was studied, what methodology was used and in what conditions conclusions could applied? Repeating a myth in several articles is not proving it.
    Were plant saucers involved in these scientific tests?
    What type of potting mix was used? Was it well draining or clayish?
    How big those containers were? If the container is small (shallow), maybe 10...20 cm deep, then adding an inch or two of fine gravel into the bottom drastically reduces the soil volume in the container. But if the container is deep, 50+ cm, as needed for the elephant ear plant, then conditions are different.

    I do not recommend use of gravel in every container. But I have successfully used fine gravel with my sweet potato containers (outdoors, without a plant saucer) - not a single potato has ever got rotten and rodent damages were also totally avoided, although my containers are essentially large tubes (without any bottom), Ø50+ cm, 50...120 cm high, lieing directly on the ground surface, and there is pretty large population of common voles and water voles in my garden.

    BTW, I read some other myth busting from the Linda Chalker-Scott | Washington State University, that was suggested at the end of your linked article. There is a myth about wood chips (https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf), but the whole article misses my two major concerns about using wood chips: first, despite mulch layer helps to keep soil moist, it actually can reduce the amount of water reaching into soil (part or all water vaporises back into air again before reaching the soil), when precipitation comes in small quantities (like we usually have in spring time) when it's hot season and plants have already exhausted (by transpiration) all the water reserves, that were in the soil from the winter; and the second, wood chips are good insulator and a layer of wood chips prevents rapid deep freezing of the soil with first stronger autumn frosts, but it also prevents soil from thawing in early spring. Missing those concerns makes me doubt how well all those stories are written.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  8. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Don't you agree, that all the harm that the gravel in the bottom of the container might possibly do, is that it reduces the soil volume and depth in the container? This problem can easily be avoided by selecting deeper (by the height of the gravel layer) container, that does not ruin the benefit from breaking capillary raise of the excess water from the plant saucer. It is logical, that plants need proper soil depth and volume, and decreasing those too much would do harm.
    Drainage.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,615
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    The diagrams reinforce the point made in the articles in that a perched water table and its size remains a constant and is simply raised if a layer of rock is added to the bottom and that it has no effect on improving drainage. Furthermore, a water-filled saucer of the same depth as the rock layer has the same effect.

    I was merely pointing out what appears to be the consensus on the matter amongst those associated with the educational community. I'm no expert so I look to those who are more knowledgeable. Let's not pursue the matter further; it would be rude to the OP as this is getting off topic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  10. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    According to your theory, all plants planted into shallow containers should suffer constant soaking in the perched water table. BTW, it may be hard to see, but I deliberately drew gravel level higher than the water level in the saucer. I even depicted some capillary raise inside the gravel level. As I previously wrote, if the container is in a narrow high-edged enclosure pot, then the gravel has no effect on drainage. But if it breaks the capillary raise of excess water in the saucer, then the amount of perched water is rather small and will be quikly absorbed by the root system. And the root system is much better aerated, compared when the capillary raise is not cancelled.

    I just wonder, where are those multiple scientific studies, that every myth buster seems to have read. I want to read also, but spent several hours googleing, without any success. Only multiple instances of references to the Linda Chalker-Scott's myth busting story came out. Please, mention at least some researchers (other than Linda Chalker-Scott), who have published their studies on this topic!
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,352
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Sulev likes this.
  12. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Thanks for the hint, Daniel! I could not access any of those articles yet and I don't see even the heading or the author of the study under your first or last link, but I found a lot of interesting thanks to the second link. Next time I visit our central library, I have some authors to search. Now I know, that the drainage level would rise productivity of several crops. I don't understand, why those myth busters strongly suggest NOT to use drainage layer?
    An artificial capillary barrier to improve root-zone conditions for horticultural crops: response of pepper, lettuce, melon, and tomato
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037837741300259X
    An artificial capillary barrier to improve root zone conditions for horticultural crops: physical effects on water content
     
  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,352
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    First one is : Moisture Retention by Soil With Coarse Layers in the Profile by Miller and Bunger

    Third one is: Evaluating 'drainage' in container and other shallow-drained horticultural soils. by Spomer (who seems to have done a lot of work in this area)
     
    Sulev likes this.
  14. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Estonia
    Thank you!
     

Share This Page