Sunlight For Optimal Plant Growth How to Grow Elephant Ears in Containers. Elephant ears don’t like sitting in the water, but they are most likely to be affected by drought. How to Grow Elephant Ears in Containers. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. For this reason they make excellent pond plants and will add a tropical touch to the garden water feature. Elephant ear is just one example of a plant valued for the display put on by its leaves. 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. Elephant ears are lush jungle plants with large green leaves shaped like hearts. Most of these plants prefer rich, moist soil and can be grown in full sun, but they generally prefer partial shade. These massive plants may grow up to 6 feet tall with leaves that span 2 feet in diameter. Plant elephant ears in rich, well drained soil. Elephant ears are water-loving plants. Growing elephant ear plants is easy. They will sprout faster in warmer climates than in cooler climates. 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 … When do elephant ears sprout? The area only received early morning sun because it was on the east side of the house. 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. Planting Elephant Ears. When watering, water until the water is draining freely from the drainage holes . Place a humidifier in the room where you grow your houseplants. Elephant ears need high humidity levels for proper growth. 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. The leaves are massive and can come in variegated colors or even purplish-black. Aug 16, 2015 - Elephant ears are large-leaved plants that come from a tuber. Be aware that all parts of elephant ear plants can upset the stomach if ingested without being properly cooked first. A number of cultivars of elephant ears have made a name for themselves by virtue of the striking colors of their foliage. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Take around 3 to 7 stalks of an Elephant ear plant from a mature plant. But plants of the Alocasia genus and of the Xanthosoma genus can go by the same common name as well. 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, also known as taro or by their scientific name, Colocasia esculenta, grow natively in swamps and wetlands in tropical areas of Asia. Elephant ears need a constant supply of water. It’s worth noting that some species of elephant ears can also grow in water. 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. Soil and Water Requirements. Their thirst for water makes elephant ears effective, not only in soggy areas of the landscape but also near water features. Sprouting occurs when the weather begins to warm in spring. 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. 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. You can keep the pots in the greenhouse if your region is cold as elephant ears thrive somewhere humid and warm. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Elephant ears have colorful, broad leaves that make striking additions to garden beds, quickly becoming the focal point of any vegetation. They are also known as the taro plant or colocasia, a semi-tropical plant that needs to be moved indoors for winter. Take advantage of their large attractive foliage and grow them among your other plants to provide texture in a planting bed. Elephant ears usually sprout three to eight weeks from planting. In fact, elephant ears are an important food source in warm climates around the world. 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. Grow elephant ears in slightly acidic soil in partial shade. Although elephant ears are easy to grow, they may face several problems. If in doubt, says Roger, “check the soil moisture with your finger, and water when the top couple of centimetres feels dry. The elephant ear plant is a tropical perennial plant, originally from Southeast Asia, that is now grown all over the world. Plant the tubers about 2 to 3 inches deep, blunt end down. Growing Elephant Ears Indoors. Start six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com. They can be found in nature growing on the edges of swamps or even in heavily flooded soils. Space elephant ear tubers 2 to 3 feet apart. Grow elephant ears in full sun if desired, but water the plants twice per week to keep up with their high moisture requirements. 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. But they can be brought indoors for winter to extend their lives. Fans of foliage plants should be well aware of the elephant ear’s charms. In cold climates, treat elephant ears as annuals. 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.". Replant them in spring when the danger of frost has passed. Common Problems with Elephant Ear Plants. Reduce watering thereafter to once every 10 days. Humidity helps elephant ears thrive, so you may want to place a humidifier near it when indoors. These tropical foliage plants are tender but can be overwintered in cold climates. Store them in peat moss at a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit until spring. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. Plant taxonomy classifies the most widely known elephant ear plants, or "taro," as Colocasia esculenta. Do not sell this plant short simply because it lacks showy flowers; after all, pretty leaves last longer than flowers. Elephant ear plants grow from a swollen stem similar to a bulb but known as a corm. Elephant ears are grown for their large, heart-shaped leaves. You can propagate elephant ears by seed, runner or by transplanting. Their thirst for water makes elephant ears effective, not only in soggy areas of the landscape but also near water features. Apply a 3-inch layer of organic compost to the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate into the soil before planting. During winter, water less frequently.” Remove the foliage at its point of origin to reduce the chance of disease and avoid damaging the plant. Beside above, what type of soil is best for elephant ears? Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. Before planting, improve the soil with compost or topsoil to add nutrients and improve the soil's water-holding capacity. Elephant Ears in Pots. If you live in the warmer areas of the state, grow the elephant ear in … Give 2-3 inches of water per week. Replant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. My Elephant Ears are Taking Over! Now dig 8 to 10 inches of soil in your pond and plant the Elephant year. For elephant ears to reach their full size, they need consistent moisture throughout the summer. Water elephant ears once every five days during the first three months of growth to help them become established. 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. In USDA plant hardiness zone eight and above, elephant ears can be left outside year-round. Fertilize them with a fertilizer high in nitrogen. To speed up the process, you can start them inside and move them outdoors once it warms up. 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. Prune away faded and damaged leaves during midsummer. In fact, they are considered invasive there. Elephant Ear like the soil to be constantly moist granted that You should water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry. Hardy in zones 8 through 11, the plants prefer warm or tropical climates and cannot tolerate cold winters. Feed elephant ears during early spring with a slow-release fertilizer to gradually distribute nutrients into the soil throughout the growing season. 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. Elephant ears like rich soil with decomposed cow manure, and lots of water. Put a bowl of water and pebbles near your plants, typically in … Planting Elephant Ear Plants. I’ve found that elephant ears grow best in partial sun or filtered sunlight. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. One option is to grow them in containers as a complement to smaller plants for water gardens. Super fast draining, low moisture soils are not the place to grow them. As maintenance, keep the soil moist and start feeding them when you notice growth. All Rights Reserved. Why are my elephant ears turning yellow? 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). 'Maui Gold' has golden-chartreuse leaves. With the right temperature and soil conditions, you can grow elephant ears in your home garden. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. They are herbaceous perennials in warm climates. The plants grow 4 to 8 feet in height and do well in Texas. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. Elephant ears require consistently moist soil, which means that they will grow better in a well-drained soil that is watered regularly. Use a rich soil between 5.5 and 7.0 pH. Elephant ears are heavy feeders. As a wetland plant in the wild, elephant ear plants like a lot of water. There are a few ways to increase the humidity around your houseplants. Dig up elephant ear tubers before the first killing frost in USDA hardiness zones 1 through 7. Elephant ear types. How to Propagate Elephant Ear Plants. How to Plant Elephant Ears in a Pond? Apply at the manufacturer's recommended rate, and then water thoroughly for the best results. Reduce the frequency of watering in winter. Elephant ears are heavy feeders that also need an excessive amount of water. One option is to grow them in containers as a complement to smaller plants for water gardens. Elephant ears like to grow in soil that is consistently moist. Many problems are water-related. How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants. The plants can grow eight feet tall in the tropics but only about two to three feet elsewhere, depending on growing conditions. This makes them a good choice for wet areas where gardeners usually have trouble finding suitable plants. Elephant ears are tropical foliage plants with large dark green leaves. Prune away faded and damaged leaves during midsummer. If you are growing elephant ears in containers, water daily during the summer. Water elephant ears once every five days during the first three months of growth to help them become established. Plant elephant ears during spring in a location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Elephant ears' species name, esculentia, is the same term that gives us the word "esculent," meaning edible. They are a swamp plant that develops a good, hardy, root system under water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at … Elephant Ears require organically-rich soil and a lot of nutrients, so you should use fertilizers or compost. Use a heavy mulch, such as wood chips or evergreen boughs. Keep watering regularly. Remove the mulch during early spring before active growth resumes. 'Illustris' has black leaves with green edging and veining. In cold climates, the plants are treated as annuals, providing an infusion of tropical landscaping, albeit short-lived. The tubers can be placed directly outdoors once the threat of frost or freezing temperatures have ceased in your area. Elephant ears like the soil to be constantly moist, so during the warm months of the year, you’ll need to water them frequently. Space elephant ear tubers 2 to 3 feet apart. 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 growing elephant ears, remember they crave water. However, you can extend the growing season to produce larger plants, by starting them early. This is why the Colocasia finds itself “dressing up” shallow backyard ponds and a good option for those looking for … While they are in storage for the winter, make sure the corms neither rot nor totally dry out. Also, the sap can be a skin irritant. 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. Cut back elephant ears to the ground after the first frost of fall. 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. 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. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! They are not native to Florida but have become naturalized in some wetland areas in the southern half of the state and are widespread. 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.) Soil for an elephant ear plant should be moist, and they even can be grown in water. 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. Allow the tubers to remain in the ground in zones 8 through 11 and new growth will appear in spring. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. 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. A number of cultivars also exist, including types with dark leaves (for example, C. esculenta 'Black Magic'), placing them among the so-called "black plants.". The Watering Schedule for Elephant Ears: Elephant ears are water loving plants. Elephant ears reproduce by division of corms, which come from their tubers. Elephant ears, also known as taro or by their scientific name, Colocasia esculenta, grow natively in swamps and wetlands in tropical areas of Asia. Elephant ear plants are native to tropical Asia and derived their name from their huge, 2-foot-wide, 3-foot-long, heart-shaped leaves. Keep elephant ear plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. 'Jet Black Wonder' has black leaves with striking white veining. Elephant ear plants are pleasing to the eye, however, even if they don’t grow to be enormous. Can elephant ears be grown in tropical areas? Increase watering to once or twice per week during periods of drought or extreme heat. They also benefit from an application of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. Numerous cultivars exists, some producing variegated, purple and almost black foliage, although light to dark green is most common. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. 'Yellow Splash' has variegated leaves of yellow and green (similar to the. Growers value elephant ears for their striking, heart-shaped leaves that resemble the ears of elephants. is the right plant for the job. 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. In the United States, gardeners often treat elephant ears as annuals by overwintering the tubers indoors. They grow just fine and make a large plant even if you plant the corms outside. But last year, just months after planting the elephant ear, it grew 7 feet tall, to my husband's disgust --he likes small plantings. So make sure the soil remain moist and does not dry out especially during the growing season. 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