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ok here I am with lots of elephant ears. I left them in the ground because I live in zone 8 and everyone said I could. We have had a freeze and they died back. I think they will come back soon. Here is the question. Should I trim them back? Where and how? Would appreciate any answers ya'll can give me.
I live in Zone 9 and I leave mine in the ground also. They will go dormant or die back with the cold. I don't trim mine back at all. The will look very ugly. When they start their new growth in the spring is when I start to pull the uglies off of them. Mulch them or put some straw on them to help protect them in winter.
thanks dor. I will go out tomorrow and pile some leaves around them. When they start growing again I will pull it all off.
You are wlcome Lyn. I have found from trial and error that the EE's that like shade should be protected really well from the cold. I lost a couple last year because I didn't bring them in the house. My African Mast really went dormant early last year. I keep it in the house or on my front porch in the shade.
Lynn, what kind of EE's do you have? I've got several kinds, and I have never trimmed them back even though the frost bit them. I've never had a problem with them coming back although I do go and cut off the dead growth as soon as they start to emerge come spring. The one thing I'd do if I were you is find some nice mulch and cover them real well with that. There are some varieties of EE's that are very tropical and won't survive the kind of cold we've had. African Mask is one that comes to mind right away. Frydek, Mickey Mouse and some of the more exotic ones can't tolerate this kind of cold.

If you've got yours in pots (as I do,) cover them with a mulch and move them to a more protected area where they won't be so exposed to the raw elements.
Susan they are in the ground at the base of the house. I do need to pile something over them. maybe I can find a picture. they came in a bag from costco and I have no idea except they are huge. the cannas are looking bad too. but not the ones out front. they look alot better. This is my granddaughter with them


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Here's a picture of one of mine Lyn. This is my African Mask.


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Hey Girls,
I have about a 1/4 acre of nothing but EE. I'll take some pics. I love the giants the best as they offer so much shade. The freeze back and then pop up the first warm spell you have.
Dor that is a cool one. I'll look for that kind this year.
Crabber I'll look forward to seeing the picture.
This is my first year with them. I know in zone 5 you have to dig them so being in zone 8 I'm a little scared to leave
Dor that is a cool one. I'll look for that kind this year.
Crabber I'll look forward to seeing the picture.
This is my first year with them. I know in zone 5 you have to dig them so being in zone 8 I'm a little scared to leave

I had been waiting that one for a while and found it at Lowe's. I just hope it comes back. I am looking for a Polly too and some other variegated ones.
I've always thought they were cool so I put some in thinking I had some of the littler ones. To my surprise they were huge. I did find out that they take loads of water. I will do the soaker hose a little different next year. I'll be looking for different varieties now.
I have those big green ones too, I'm also in zone 8. I have Illustris EE's also. They grow about 2- 3 foot tall and have dark ..almost black leaves and green veins. They multiply and need to be planted in an area where they can be controlled. I'll be glad to share in the Spring.
I've got Illustris too..I have them in a pot, so they're well contained, but they do multiply like rabbits. I also have a black one -- maybe Black Magic, but it hasn't produced pups yet, and I also have one called Portadora, and it also hasn't produced any pups.

I'm in zone 8. I don't cut the dead foliage off because 99% of the time, it falls off all on its own. Illustris is generally the first to come up in the spring and the one that stays around for the longest. You will get the best color from Illustris if you give it sun. Mulch them well, Lynn.

Almost all varieties of EE's are water hogs. They also love to get a dose of Epsom Salts.....I do that about every three weeks when they are in the height of the growing season.
I envy you all I have to dig mine up after the frost gets the foliage and bring them in a store them til February when I get them out and start them growing again I only have the large green was hoping to have added Illustris this year but didnt get any before the snowmaybe this Spring I need to move South
I have Illustris

I have Illustris. It's currently sleeping for the winter, but once it wakes up, it won't be long until it gets some pups. It produces pups faster than any other EE I've grown, and more of them, too! I'd be glad to share some pups with you if you'd like. Incidentally, I grow mine in pots. If you don't want to dig them up every fall, why not just grow them in pots and bring the pots indoors during the winter? Even if you have a garage that's not completely heated, but sufficiently protected from the elements, that might be good enough to keep it from dying altogether. As long as your garage doesn't get colder than freezing and stays around 40'ish, I bet you could keep it as a perennial like we do and it would just go dormant for the winter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to