Evaluating the Storage of Elephant Ears Acclimatized from Tissue Culture

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, D-136 P&A Building, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634.
  • | 2 Alternate Crops and Systems Lab, BARC-W, ARS-USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.

The effects of storage temperature and shoot preparation of elephant ears (Colocasia antiquorum `Illustris') were examined to determine how to successfully store plants prior to greenhouse forcing. A series of experiments were conducted that provided storage temperatures of 4, 7, 10, 13, or 16 °C (39.2, 44.6, 50.0, 55.4, or 60.8 °F), and plants were placed into storage with the shoots uncut or cut to 3.0 cm (1.18 inches) above the surface of the growing medium. The storage duration ranged from 40 to 49 days. All plants stored at 4 or 7 °C died. Plant survival was 89% to 100% at 10 °C, while plant survival was 100% at 13 or 16 °C. Shoot emergence and plant growth was faster following storage at 13 and 16 °C, than storage at 10 °C. Storage at 16 °C resulted in leaf growth occurring during storage, which was undesirable. Removing shoots prior to storage had no effect on plant survival and performance during forcing. A fungicide drench with iprodione immediately prior to storage did not improve plant survival. This study suggests that 13 °C is near the base temperature for leaf development of elephant ears, thus the plants survive at this temperature with no growth occurring. Shoot removal prior to storage is recommended in order to optimize storage room space.

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