Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edoes and Elephant Ears

Edoes are a member of the colocasia family, as are taro and some elephant ears and they are similar in appearance. If you like those big, tropical leaves in the garden or pond, you can get them by growing edoes, or so I have read.

I first heard about edoes on a pond forum many years ago but didn't see them in the grocery store until more recently. The roots are a common food crop in many tropical countries but that doesn't mean you can eat all taro roots. There are several different members of that family and not all are edible. These, apparently bake like a potato with more flavour and are good with sour cream and butter. Sounds interesting.

When I read about edoes and saw them in the grocery store, I thought it would be an inexpensive way to grow that beautiful, big, tropical plant in my garden or pond. I have always loved the look of the huge elephant ears my grandmother used to grow in her garden. I like taro in the pond too.

The edoe roots are not expensive in the grocery store. I bought one in the fall of 2008 and put it in the basement with the other tender bulbs, waiting on spring to plant it. A mouse ate it. This year I bought a couple of them in January and planted them. I have also read that you can buy taro roots, even black ones, as food in specialty oriental grocery stores for very little money, but I have not followed up on that.

I put the pots on the kitchen floor near the door with my other early potted dahlias and left them. In January, when I planted the edoe bulbs, it was very cold and, since my basement is unheated, my kitchen floor is icy. The other plants in the picture don't seem to mind the icy floor, but I know that colocasia bulbs need heat to sprout and having had elephant ear bulbs before that didn't sprout until July, I didn't expect much.

After they sat there for a few weeks, it occured to me that I could move them to my plant window upstairs where it is very, very warm and they might do better, so I moved them up there. Today there is growth!! I am so pleased!

This sprout is coming up from the side of the pot. I planted them on their side because I wasn't sure which way was up, or down and didn't want to plant them completely upsidedown. I figured that sideways was a safe bet.

I am looking forward to having these beauties in my garden. I have read that elephant ears like shade and do well there so I planted a few bulbs, that I got in a trade, in my shade garden last year. They didn't sprout until July and never got more than a foot tall. I was very dissappointed.

This year I started them early and will put them in the sun. Sometimes people say that certain plants need shade, but those people usually live in much warmer climates. Plants that like some shade down there usually do well up here in the sun.

I read that brugmansias prefer some shade too, so I put some in shade and some in sun last summer. The ones in the sun grew to be twice as big as the ones in the shade and were the only ones to bloom, so I take this shade stuff with a "grain of salt". (I don't know where that saying comes from and have no idea why it means that.)

Here's a brug bloom from last summer:

I have a shade garden that gets some sun in the late evening and I have one the gets sun only in the early morning so I am always on the lookout for true shade plants that are big and interesting.

Eddoes are also known around the world as Arbi, Taro, Nampi and Coco Yam and are used in Indian, Chinese and Caribbean cooking.

Colocasia and alocasia are very similar in appearance but it is the colocasia that like the water. The alocasias do not, so before you put what you have in the pond, make sure you know what it is.

I have also seen yucca roots for sale in the grocery store and might buy one of those for the flower garden too.


The Japanese Redneck said...

That's neat. I've never heard them called edoes before.

Our grocery store is so plain. They never have any interesting things in the produce section.

DayPhoto said...

I GAVE AWAY MY 15 DIFFERENT BURGS THIS LAST FALL. I had grown weary of the fall/winter care. But like you, I think they are lovely, and beautiful and special.


Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

That's too bad, Ramona! I live near a large city with several choices of grocery stores. Some have a lot of odd things and some don't. Perhaps you could ask someone in produce if they would consider getting soem in for you, if you are interested in growing them.

I am considering getting rid of my brugs too, just too much winter care. This past winter I just tossed them in the basement to be dormant all season. I don't know how they will fare when its time to wake them up.

I don't think I have room for them to wake up early in the house, anyway, so their growing season will be very short. I will definately get rid of them if they don't bloom outside this year.

Margot said...

What a great and interesting money-saving idea! There are lots of asian markets near me and I plan to check them out. I always enjoy reading your blog.