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  winter preparations, and Strelitzia
From: Steve Marak samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 2000.09.07 at 09:24:30(5366)
Geez, you guys sure baby these things. (Alternatively, perhaps I am simply
a botanical sadist.) I don't start thinking about moving the Colocasias or
even most of the Alocasias indoors until temperatures drop below 40 F
(about 4 or 5 C).

Last year, when we saw nothing lower than about 10 F (-13 C), I had the
"burgandy stem" overwinter outdoors (unintentionally; those runners sneak
over the sides of pots and into the ground).

Alocasia macrorrhiza is a common local "elephant ear"; it apparently has
been passed around for at least decades, because no matter how far out in
the sticks we go we see it, often growing in the oddest containers. People
here routinely leave it out over mild winters, or even, just a few miles
south of where I am, plant it outdoors in protected spots. It'll get 2
meters tall with meter plus leaves before an unusually severe winter kills
it. But they don't care, because they all have an offset growing in a
coffee can that they bring in for the winter just in case ....

(A. macrorrhiza is apparently just touch as nails in general. I bring mine
in for the winter and do not water it at all for several months. It
usually doesn't even lose all its leaves.)

Colocasia esculenta, the ordinary variety, is simply not hardy here, even
in mild winters, even in protected spots. Don't know about fontanesii yet,
since I don't intentionally leave these things outdoors.

Re the Strelitzia, what exactly is meant by "dwarf"? How large does S.
reginae usually get? I have one, acquired I know not how, which for years
has lived in a 5 gallon (20 L) or so pot, stays in the 60-80 cm range, and
flowers regularly if not profusely. I've assumed this is the usual size.

I have read of a form which has "rush-like" leaves, which seems to mean
the leaf blades are very, very narrow, and I believe it is supposed to be
somewhat smaller, but I never managed to find one when I was actively
looking for it. Since then I think I've seen a seed source. I can look
around at home tonight, if anyone is interested.

Steve

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