Whilst idly browsing the growing on the edge forum one evening last week, I found this amazing video and just had to share it!
It's been made by forum member, Yorkshire Kris, and shows some of his Alocasia and Colocasia growing indoors on a windowsill for the winter. The video has been shot using some cunning timelapse photography over a period of 12 days so that the movment of the plants and the emerging leaves can be seen. Pretty cool!
Yorkshire Kris has just started a new blog on exotic gardening. It promises to be a good read as it develops: http://exoticyorkshiregarden.blogspot.com/
It is amazing how much growth these things can push out at this time of the year when conditions for them are far from optimal: The low light levels, low humidity inside our centrally heated homes and the greater risk from pests such as red spider mite and mealy bug do not combine to make Colocasia heaven. And yet, they still grow!
They'll grow even faster when placed back outside in the summer, which is a nice thought to cheer a dreary January day!
I too, overwinter many of my Colocasia inside, but tend to tread the fine line between letting them go into dormancy and just about keeping them growing by cutting right back on the watering. I find that they are pretty easy to overwinter that way, as they grow more slowly. I then don't have problems with over-stretched petioles caused by the leaves craning towards the light.
With old Colocasia that have developed a large rhizome, I usually lift them, remove the soil and dry them before storing. This method is obviously a bonus if space is an issue, but can only be used if the rhizome is large enough to withstand a few months of dessication and is not an option for young plants.
Alocasia have slightly different overwintering requirements. These are very prone to rotting off under the soil during the winter months, especially at cool temperatures. I try to combat this risk by potting them into the smallest pot I can cram them into and bringing them into somewhere warm! That way, there is less soil to retain moisture and I can get a better idea of how moist the soil is right the way through the pot. With large pots, it can be surprising just how wet the centre of the compost can be when the surface looks dry. I then keep the plants ticking over with very light watering, and ensuring that the temperature does not drop too low. Easy!