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OT: Overwintering Taro

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Detritus Mulm, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Not aquarium related, but I'm wondering about the heat/light requirements for some Taro inside during the winter. I was going to build a small green house for them, but that was before they got four feet tall. I have to keep the roots wet and will likely add a small heater to their 'bucket' to keep the water a reasonable temp. The room they'll be in can drop below 60°, so I may put up some plastic sheeting to help hold in the heat. I have a 150W HPS light for them, which I'm hoping will be enough to keep them going. If I'd known they grew so fast I would probably not have bothered trying to keep them, despite the replacement cost.

    Nutrient, Heat, Light thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Back On Topic!

    Hi,

    May not be aquarium exactly but it is a bog plant and could serve as nice vegetative filter for a large riparian tank. (How is that for a stretch to keep us on topic?):D

    The bad news, I guess is the taro, Colocasia esculenta (what variety?) can top eight feet (2.5 meters), if supported, but the best thing to do is not support it and let it lean down into the soil and develop roots.

    More bad news, it does not like temperatures under 60 F (16 C).

    The good news is that your Taro likes whatever you are doing; growing that much that quickly in the wild and untamed lands of Canada is pretty dad-gummed good.;)

    I would in addition to the light and bucket heater, I would get one of those cheap ceramic electric heaters.

    Your other option is to store the corm, keep it cool, apparently, the tricky part is (I live in the Salt River Valley of Arizona, and so I have never done this) keeping the corm moist without letting it rot. Elephant Ear Plants

    I know my Taro really like the fertilizer, the article says high nitrogen and I agree, they are a good bit more demanding than Canna plants, but not bad, as long as you keep them wet and keep them fed. A couple of years ago we had a cold winter (not great northern wastelands cold) but freezing temperatures and cold weather. We overwintered the Taro the same as we do the Canna every year, we just cut them back and watered the soil every now and then and they came back strong, in fact maybe even stronger than they were before.

    I wish you well. My now, back on topic, friend.:)

    Biollante
     
  3. John Barkan

    John Barkan Junior Poster

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    I just cut the leaves, dig up the tuber and place it on a shelf in the basement for the winter. It seems to get bigger every year.
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not So Hard Afterall

    Apparently not much of a trick at all.:)

    Biollante
     
  5. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    I've got a Red Stemmed, a Black Magic, an Imperial and a Marble. The Red Stemmed is the 'Monster', the rest are Midgets. I wanted to give them a head start over the winter due to our short summers. The Red Stemmed was a little healthier when I started, so perhaps that's why it did a little better. We had a crappy summer though.

    As for growing, plant tabs, running water (they grow in the Wishing Well) and lots of fish poop. The over wintering is a bit of an experiment, so I'll likely trim back the monster and try to keep the rest healthy for a good start in the spring. I raised a bunch of WH in a stock tank a few winters ago; they did a little too well. :)

    I did not realize Taro were such a food source, no wonder they look so much like Rhubarb. I wonder if you can make Taro pie?
    :D
     
  6. John Barkan

    John Barkan Junior Poster

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    I did a google search and apparently McDonald's makes them.:)
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Nice Assortment


    You have a nice assortment of Taro. :)

    We have a lack of humidity problem here and I would say that is our biggest battle in establishing them. Likely keeping them inside will be similar. I keep ours alongside a pond and keep a layer of landscaping cloth (stuff that lets the water in but not out) covered by pea gravel. I use a rather rich soil mix fortified with bone meal some Gardener’s Choice brand B-1 Vitamin (plus Boron, Chelated Iron, Zinc and Manganese) and my favorite, stinky Alaska brand Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1). I water with water change water as well as drip irrigation that runs all the time with little misters, seems to do well, once established, as long as we keep the soil wet, actually I mean wet, not moist.

    Once a year we work in some of the aforementioned planting mixture. Roughly, once a month, we spray them with ferti-lome brand Liquid Iron and other micronutrients (I get all the above stuff at Tru-Value Hardware).

    Every two weeks we fertilize with Expert brand, foliage fertilizer, 24-8-16 (I think that is a WalMart brand)

    These guys like there nutrients, in a container they want even more. When moving to containers, I noticed it took a little bit of time for them to adjust. As leaves droop (as opposed to ‘normal sag’) just remove the leaf, any leaf that goes half-yellow, I remove. After a week or two they get growing and everything grows in well. They do like a lot of light. I give them a really rich soil with 25 or 30 percent pearl lite, a layer of landscaping cloth cut to fit, pea gravel layered on top. It needs some drainage but at the same time, it needs to be wet. Misting at least once a day is a good idea. The Taro in containers also like its leaves washed every now and then (don’t we all).:rolleyes:

    Keeping the temperature above 60 F (16 C) is likely the biggest challenge.

    If things don’t go well you always have the option of digging up and storing the corm.

    Just a note Taro, while edible, actually is a toxic hazard to pets and small children.

    Be well, up there in the great northern wasteland. Your countrymen are even as we speak (write?) trickling down in what will no doubt become a deluge of Snowbird migration.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  8. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, spoiled kinsmen you've got there. Thanks for the Pet warning, I'll be sure to keep them out. I think with the small enclosure I build, heater and the 150W bulb will keep it warm and wet enough. When I grew the Water Hyacinths I used a 1000W bulb and 300 gal tank with no insulation and heat/humidity were not in short supply.
     
  9. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, spoiled kinsmen you've got there. Thanks for the Pet warning, I'll be sure to keep them out. I think with the small enclosure I build, heater and the 150W bulb will keep it warm and wet enough. When I grew the Water Hyacinths I used a 1000W bulb and 300 gal tank with no insulation and heat/humidity were not in short supply.
     
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