Elephant ears have colorful, broad leaves that make striking additions to garden beds, quickly becoming the focal point of any vegetation. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. When do elephant ears sprout? This tropical Arum is an excellent choice for pond edges, lightly shaded areas and as screens for hiding unsightly items. They need at least moist, organically rich soil, but constantly moist soil is preferable, especially in warm months. You can keep the pots in the greenhouse if your region is cold as elephant ears thrive somewhere humid and warm. There are a few ways to increase the humidity around your houseplants. Replant them in spring when the danger of frost has passed. Sunlight For Optimal Plant Growth Now dig 8 to 10 inches of soil in your pond and plant the Elephant year. One option is to grow them in containers as a complement to smaller plants for water gardens. Replant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. The tubers can be placed directly outdoors once the threat of frost or freezing temperatures have ceased in your area. It’s worth noting that some species of elephant ears can also grow in water. Elephant ears don’t like sitting in the water, but they are most likely to be affected by drought. Fertilize them with a fertilizer high in nitrogen. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. I’ve found that elephant ears grow best in partial sun or filtered sunlight. Increase watering to once or twice per week during periods of drought or extreme heat. One option is to grow them in containers as a complement to smaller plants for water gardens. Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. Do not sell this plant short simply because it lacks showy flowers; after all, pretty leaves last longer than flowers. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. Also, the sap can be a skin irritant. Use a rich soil between 5.5 and 7.0 pH. Elephant ears, also known as taro or by their scientific name, Colocasia esculenta, grow natively in swamps and wetlands in tropical areas of Asia. When watering, water until the water is draining freely from the drainage holes . Elephant ear types. These massive plants may grow up to 6 feet tall with leaves that span 2 feet in diameter. Both alocasia and colocasia plants can be grown indoors successfully, although it would be difficult to get one to reach its full potential without an atrium or some other feature that allowed for more sunlight. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Elephant ear plants grow from a swollen stem similar to a bulb but known as a corm. Growers value elephant ears for their striking, heart-shaped leaves that resemble the ears of elephants. Elephant ears, also known as taro or by their scientific name, Colocasia esculenta, grow natively in swamps and wetlands in tropical areas of Asia. Why are my elephant ears turning yellow? They are herbaceous perennials in warm climates. For elephant ears to reach their full size, they need consistent moisture throughout the summer. Amazon Elephant's Ear Plant Profile (African Mask), How to Take Care of Outdoor Plants in Winter, Tropicanna Canna Offers Fast Growth Rate, Colorful Leaves, 9 Great Foliage Plants for Container Gardens. Growing the plant in ponds is quite simple and since the pond ensures a consistent supply of water, you won’t need to worry about that either. In USDA plant hardiness zone eight and above, elephant ears can be left outside year-round. As maintenance, keep the soil moist and start feeding them when you notice growth. Use a heavy mulch, such as wood chips or evergreen boughs. Water elephant ears once every five days during the first three months of growth to help them become established. Hardy in zones 8 through 11, the plants prefer warm or tropical climates and cannot tolerate cold winters. Elephant ear plants are native to tropical Asia and derived their name from their huge, 2-foot-wide, 3-foot-long, heart-shaped leaves. Common Problems with Elephant Ear Plants. Humidity helps elephant ears thrive, so you may want to place a humidifier near it when indoors. In fact, elephant ears are an important food source in warm climates around the world. This is why the Colocasia finds itself “dressing up” shallow backyard ponds and a good option for those looking for … She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. No elephant ear likes wet feet (the big-leaved plants you see in water gardens are the close cousins colocasias, also sometimes called elephant ears), though a few are tolerant of wet conditions. While these leaves can reach three feet long and two feet wide in the tropics, in colder climates they will remain smaller (but still impressive). Elephant ears usually sprout three to eight weeks from planting. Grow elephant ears in full sun if desired, but water the plants twice per week to keep up with their high moisture requirements. Elephant ear plants are pleasing to the eye, however, even if they don’t grow to be enormous. Elephant ears, also known as taro or by their scientific name, Colocasia esculenta, grow natively in swamps and wetlands in tropical areas of Asia. 'Maui Gold' has golden-chartreuse leaves. Elephant ears' species name, esculentia, is the same term that gives us the word "esculent," meaning edible. How to Grow Elephant Ears in Containers. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. Cut back elephant ears to the ground after the first frost of fall. Can elephant ears be grown in tropical areas? Their thirst for water makes elephant ears effective, not only in soggy areas of the landscape but also near water features. Elephant ears are heavy feeders. In fact, they are considered invasive there. Space elephant ear tubers 2 to 3 feet apart. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. When growing elephant ears, remember they crave water. Growing Elephant Ears Indoors. Take around 3 to 7 stalks of an Elephant ear plant from a mature plant. However, you can extend the growing season to produce larger plants, by starting them early. 'Yellow Splash' has variegated leaves of yellow and green (similar to the. Remove the foliage at its point of origin to reduce the chance of disease and avoid damaging the plant. Elephant ears need a constant supply of water. Numerous cultivars exists, some producing variegated, purple and almost black foliage, although light to dark green is most common. Remove the mulch during early spring before active growth resumes. Elephant ears are lush jungle plants with large green leaves shaped like hearts. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at … How to Grow Elephant Ears in Containers. They grow just fine and make a large plant even if you plant the corms outside. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Store them in peat moss at a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit until spring. This makes them a good choice for wet areas where gardeners usually have trouble finding suitable plants. At that time an estimated three hundred thousand people in the islands lived chiefly on poi (a fermented or unfermented taro paste), sweet potato, fish, seaweed, and a few green vegetables and fruits.". The area only received early morning sun because it was on the east side of the house. Many problems are water-related. While they are in storage for the winter, make sure the corms neither rot nor totally dry out. They are a swamp plant that develops a good, hardy, root system under water. Elephant Ear like the soil to be constantly moist granted that You should water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry. The plants can grow eight feet tall in the tropics but only about two to three feet elsewhere, depending on growing conditions. Reduce watering thereafter to once every 10 days. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Elephant ears are heavy feeders that also need an excessive amount of water. To speed up the process, you can start them inside and move them outdoors once it warms up. Before planting, improve the soil with compost or topsoil to add nutrients and improve the soil's water-holding capacity. Apply a 3-inch layer of organic compost to the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate into the soil before planting. Space elephant ear tubers 2 to 3 feet apart. The elephant ear plant is a tropical perennial plant, originally from Southeast Asia, that is now grown all over the world. Elephant ears need high humidity levels for proper growth. Elephant ears like the soil to be constantly moist, so during the warm months of the year, you’ll need to water them frequently. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. Water elephant ears once every five days during the first three months of growth to help them become established. A number of cultivars of elephant ears have made a name for themselves by virtue of the striking colors of their foliage. Although elephant ears are easy to grow, they may face several problems. The answer is yes, these can be grown in tropical areas, however with caladiums, after a few months of foliage, they are programmed to go into a dormancy period, and in zones 11 and 12, many gardeners are … Elephant ears do not grow in cool soil which is a bit of an issue in colder climates since we have such a short summer. Elephant Ears in Pots. If in doubt, says Roger, “check the soil moisture with your finger, and water when the top couple of centimetres feels dry. A general rule is big, green alocasias are practically indestructible and can tolerate variable moisture conditions; dark-leaved types will suffer if over watered and can stay dry for several days. Allow the tubers to remain in the ground in zones 8 through 11 and new growth will appear in spring. The Watering Schedule for Elephant Ears: Elephant ears are water loving plants. Elephant ear is just one example of a plant valued for the display put on by its leaves. Elephant ears are tropical foliage plants with large dark green leaves. Put a bowl of water and pebbles near your plants, typically in … Planting Elephant Ear Plants. 'Jet Black Wonder' has black leaves with striking white veining. Dig up elephant ear tubers before the first killing frost in USDA hardiness zones 1 through 7. Planting Elephant Ears. Plant elephant ears during spring in a location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Elephant ears are grown for their large, heart-shaped leaves. Plant the tubers about 2 to 3 inches deep, blunt end down. How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants. Super fast draining, low moisture soils are not the place to grow them. For this reason they make excellent pond plants and will add a tropical touch to the garden water feature. Prune away faded and damaged leaves during midsummer. According to Wilfred Lee ("Ethnobotanical Leaflets," Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1999), "Taro constituted the staff of life for the Hawaiians when Captain Cook arrived in the islands in 1778. How to Plant Elephant Ears in a Pond? Elephant ears are water-loving plants. Give 2-3 inches of water per week. You can propagate elephant ears by seed, runner or by transplanting. They can be found in nature growing on the edges of swamps or even in heavily flooded soils. Keep watering regularly. If you are growing elephant ears in containers, water daily during the summer. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. Keep elephant ear plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. With their huge shield-shaped leaves, they create a nice contrast with another favorite used around water gardens, the horsetail, which pushes up multiple green spear-like shoots from its base. In cold climates, the plants are treated as annuals, providing an infusion of tropical landscaping, albeit short-lived. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, elephant ears image by robert mobley from, Iowa State University Extension—Horticulture and Home Pest News: Growing Elephant Ear. Be aware that all parts of elephant ear plants can upset the stomach if ingested without being properly cooked first. The leaves are massive and can come in variegated colors or even purplish-black. You can decrease your watering schedule for the plants in winter, when they don't need as much water as they do other times of the year. Just dig up the corms and keep them in a cool–but not freezing–basement or garage as you would store canna bulbs, dahlia tubers, etc. Aug 16, 2015 - Elephant ears are large-leaved plants that come from a tuber. Growing elephant ear plants is easy. These tropical foliage plants are tender but can be overwintered in cold climates. But plants of the Alocasia genus and of the Xanthosoma genus can go by the same common name as well. Place a humidifier in the room where you grow your houseplants. With their huge shield-shaped leaves, they create a nice contrast with another favorite used around water gardens, the horsetail, which pushes up multiple green spear-like shoots from its base. Reduce the frequency of watering in winter. They will sprout faster in warmer climates than in cooler climates. They also benefit from an application of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. My Elephant Ears are Taking Over! If you live in the warmer areas of the state, grow the elephant ear in … They are also known as the taro plant or colocasia, a semi-tropical plant that needs to be moved indoors for winter. Most of these plants prefer rich, moist soil and can be grown in full sun, but they generally prefer partial shade. Several of these (in addition to 'Black Magic') have leaves with quite a bit of black color in them; others have yellow or chartreuse: The corm, or root, of elephant ear is commonly known as "taro" or "coco yam," a common food source in Hawaii and other tropical regions. Soil and Water Requirements. They are not native to Florida but have become naturalized in some wetland areas in the southern half of the state and are widespread. I suppose you probably clicked on this blog post to find out how to grow elephant ears, so let me tell you about the cultural conditions that they like. Elephant ears reproduce by division of corms, which come from their tubers. is the right plant for the job. During winter, water less frequently.” All Rights Reserved. Elephant ears like rich soil with decomposed cow manure, and lots of water. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding elephant ears during fall, just before the first frost of the season, to protect the plants from cold damage. How to Propagate Elephant Ear Plants. The Elephant Ear (Colocasia) is a tropical plant that grows up to tall and sprouts large, arrow-shaped leaves that resemble the ears on an elephant. Plant taxonomy classifies the most widely known elephant ear plants, or "taro," as Colocasia esculenta. Grow elephant ears in slightly acidic soil in partial shade. Their thirst for water makes elephant ears effective, not only in soggy areas of the landscape but also near water features. So make sure the soil remain moist and does not dry out especially during the growing season. They also require high soil fertility, so gardeners with sandy fast-draining soils are going to need to amend with compost or grow elephant ears in containers. Whether you want to frame an entryway, define a patio or create a tropical retreat in an indoor space, the elephant’s ear (Alocasia spp.) Feed elephant ears during early spring with a slow-release fertilizer to gradually distribute nutrients into the soil throughout the growing season. Plant elephant ears in rich, well drained soil. 'Illustris' has black leaves with green edging and veining. Take advantage of their large attractive foliage and grow them among your other plants to provide texture in a planting bed. But last year, just months after planting the elephant ear, it grew 7 feet tall, to my husband's disgust --he likes small plantings. Prune away faded and damaged leaves during midsummer. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Start six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Dig up elephant ear tubers before the first killing frost in USDA hardiness zones 1 through 7. “Alabama & Mississippi Gardener's Guide”; Felder Rushing, Jennifer Greer; 2005. Beside above, what type of soil is best for elephant ears? Elephant ears require consistently moist soil, which means that they will grow better in a well-drained soil that is watered regularly. With the right temperature and soil conditions, you can grow elephant ears in your home garden. In cold climates, treat elephant ears as annuals. Soil for an elephant ear plant should be moist, and they even can be grown in water. Elephant Ears require organically-rich soil and a lot of nutrients, so you should use fertilizers or compost. The plants grow 4 to 8 feet in height and do well in Texas. As a wetland plant in the wild, elephant ear plants like a lot of water. Apply at the manufacturer's recommended rate, and then water thoroughly for the best results. Sprouting occurs when the weather begins to warm in spring. Elephant ears like to grow in soil that is consistently moist. But they can be brought indoors for winter to extend their lives.