And, as promised, they arrived in today’s mail.
If you’ve never seen a Colocasia esculenta tuber, here is your chance. These fleshy rhizomes will sprout roots, then leaves, once planted.
Kathleen explained that our previous rhizomes most likely rotted due to too much moisture in the soil after I moved them out to the garden. I planted them out with the third, which was in active growth, even though they had not yet sprouted any leaves.
Big mistake. I should have given them more time to break dormancy in individual pots.
Kathleen gave me careful instructions for planting these replacement plants.
I’ll plant them in good potting mix in 6″ nursery pots, water lightly, and then keep them out of doors away from direct sun until leaves appear.
The soil should remain only slightly moist until the plant is actively growing again. Too much moisture, in combination with summer heat, will cause rot. Heat is necessary to break dormancy and initiate root growth, so I need to make sure the soil stays on the dry side initially.
Once growth is underway, Colocoasia enjoys moist soil. They appreciate full sun to light shade, and need plenty of room to expand.
“Exculenta” is Latin for “edible.” Colocasia esculenta, native to southern Asia, is one of the earliest cultivated crops; with evidence of its cultivation as a major dietary staple more than 5000 years ago in India.
All parts of the plant are poisonous when raw; but the tuber, once soaked and cooked, is mashed into a delicate and delicious paste. In Hawaii, the dish is known as “poi.”
We won’t be eating these lovely rhizomes. We will grow them to enjoy their beautiful foliage. And best of all, our herd of deer won’t try to eat them either!
Thank you, Kathleen, for all of your assistance with our Colocasia plants. Thank you for replacing the two which rotted before they had a chance to grow, and thank you for explaining the process from the bulb’s point of view.
Your gentle instructions should have us on the way to Colocasia success!
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014