Friday, February 23, 2024

Indoor Elephant Ear Plant Types

Types Of Elephant Ear Plants

How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants – Colocasia esculenta ‘Fontanesii’

There are two most common types of Elephant Ear plants:

  • Colocasia, the leaves have their pointed tips downwards and prefer full sun, hence are grown outdoors.
  • Alocasia, the leaf points upwards and is a well-known houseplant variety for its ability to thrive in partial shade.

To have a detailed look at types of Elephant Ear plants, clickhere

Elephant’s Ear Care Tips

Height: To 2 ft

Light: Bright light, but no direct sun.

Water: Keep soil moist spring through fall when plant is actively growing. Water sparingly in winter, allowing soil to become almost dry between waterings.

Humidity: Requires moist air, preferably 50% relative humidity or higher. Use a cool-mist room humidifier near the plant for best results.

Temperature: Average to warm 65-75°F/18-24°C.

Soil: Peat moss based mix, such as African violet potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed in winter.

Propagation: Division. Divide rhizomes in spring and pot in separate containers. Keep the top surface of the rhizome above the soil line so that the growing stems don’t rot at soil level.

Elephant Ear Plant Light And Location

When it comes to light, alocasia plants are bright to medium light plants and are their happiest when kept in bright, indirect light. Full sun in the morning or evening is perfectly fine but choose an area that only gets filtered light throughout most of the day.

Areas with sheer net curtains, frosted glass or just slightly back from an east facing window are perfect locations.

If placed in direct sunlight you may notice the foliage becomes bleached or even scorched from the rays.

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How To Grow Elephant Ears Indoors

When growing Colocasia inside, be sure to choose a fairly large container to pot the plant in. Colocasia can attain a good size, so you will want to be prepared.

Choose a site to situate the indoor elephant ear plant that is in indirect sunlight. Colocasia can tolerate direct sun, but it will tend to sunburn although it may acclimate after a time it will really do much better in indirect sun.

Growing Colocasia inside requires high humidity. Use a humidifier in the room where you plan on growing Colocasia inside. Also, elephant ear houseplants should be elevated slightly with a layer of rocks or pebbles between the pot and the saucer. This will increase the level of humidity surrounding the indoor elephant ear plant while preventing the roots from coming into contact with the water, which may cause root rot.

Soil choice for growing Colocasia inside is a well-draining, peat-rich medium.

Temperatures for your elephant ear houseplants should be between 65 and 75 degrees F. .

How Do You Consume Edible Elephant Ears

Alocasia Polly Perfect Indoor Elephants Ear Plant (30

The edible elephant ear has three primary ways of consumption:

  • Foliage can be used as greens Leaves must be boiled for around 15 minutes in clean water containing a little baking soda. It is especially drained and then rinsed with boiling water before being consumed.
  • Tubers, roots, and corms can be consumed just like a potato They can be pounded or ground to form paste-like consistency or powder. In popular dishes like poi, fermented taro starch is mixed with water and cooked to create a delicious paste.
  • Young tender shoots You can obtain young shoots by growing the corms in the dark. They will produce tender vegetables that taste like mushrooms. Calalou is a highly beloved stew dish that is made from taro leaves. The elephant ear leaves can also be used to wrap or serve steamed meats, cooked rice, and veggies.

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Houseplant Care Of Colocasia

A fertilization regime every two weeks with a 50 percent diluted 20-10-10 food is an integral part of houseplant care of Colocasia. You may discontinue the fertilization during the winter months to allow the Colocasia to rest. Also, cut back on watering during this time and allow the soil to dry out slightly.

Pots with tubers may be stored in the basement or garage with temps between 45 and 55 degrees F. until the spring growing season and once temperatures have warmed. At that time, propagation via tuber root division may occur.

Flowering of the indoor elephant plant is rare, although when grown outdoors, the plant may bear a small green sheathed yellow-green cone of flowers.

How To Water Elephant Ear Plants

Water elephant ear plants regularly to keep the soil slightly moist. During spring and summer, you may have to water potted elephant ear plants every day. Always let soil moisture levels guide you when to water elephant ear plants. Water when the top layer of soil is almost dry, give the potting mix a thorough watering.

Outdoors, ensure the Alocasia and Colocasia plants grow in soil thats always moist. During winter, you can water elephant ears in your garden less frequently.

Its impossible to overwater elephant ear plants if you only water them when the top part of the soil partially dries. Most species of elephant ears thrive in wet conditions and are not drought-tolerant plants. However, you must take care not to overwater Alocasia and Colocasia plants.

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Are Elephant Ear Plants Toxic

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the leaves of Elephant ear plants are edible but they must be cooked first. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause severe skin irritation and they must be cooked first.

Some species of elephant ears that are also called taro and belong to the Colocasia genus are edible and their tubers are cultivated for consumption. However taro roots must be cooked before consumption.

According to the ASPCA, Elephant ears that belong to the Caladium genus are poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses and can cause oral irritation due to their insoluble calcium oxalates.

If you are unsure about the type of elephant ear plant its best to avoid ingesting it.

Elephant Ear Care Getting Humidity Right

How to Successfully Grow Elephant Ear Houseplants Indoors Overwinter

Elephant ear plants have high humidity needs growing indoors and outside. Potted elephant ear houseplants need above-average air moisture levels indoors. You can increase humidity for elephant ear plants by sitting the plant pot on a pebble tray with water in it. Or you can boost room humidity with a humidifier.

You can mist elephant ear leaves between watering to increase moisture levels. However, the lush tropical foliage benefits better from air humidity rather than leaf misting.

If you live in zones 9 through 12, humidity is rarely an issue growing elephant ears in the ground. If you live in a dry climate, you will need to water the thirsty plant frequentlypossibly even every dayto prevent it from drying out.

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Designing With Elephant Ear Plants

  • Add oversized elephant ears to the perennial border for a dramatic focal point. A plant with large green leaves also gives the eye a rest amidst masses of colorful flowers.
  • Alocasias make good companions and dramatic centerpieces in mixed containers, used with other foliage plants and flowering annuals that like filtered sunlight and moist soil. Use one of the larger types in a big pot for a showstopper.
  • Purple-foliaged species combine well with silver, pink and chartreuse plants.
  • Combine elephant ears with other tropical-looking plants like cannas, bananas, variegated tapioca, caladiums, and coleus for a summer jungle garden.
  • An alocasia in a container placed out in the garden can be a movable focal point, and can hide the bare spot left when spring-blooming bulbs go dormant.

How To Store Elephant Ear Bulbs Over The Winter

I have a whole post on this, but Im also sharing the basic steps here. Ill be doing it this fall so will update this post next year with details and photos about every step and whether or not I was successful! Id love to be able to use the same plants again next year.

Storing elephant ear bulbs over the winter is similar to storing bulbs from any other plant. After the first frost, cut down all of the foliage and leave only about 3 inches or so above the soil. Then dig up the bulbs and allow to dry for a few days in a cool, dry place like a garage.

Store in an open container or mesh bags over the winter. Again, a garage next to the house wall would be a good place since they like to be kept cool and dry. You can always move them inside if you have a frigid cold spell.

In their open container, cover them with a bit of potting soil, but dont water them. Just let them chill all winter. Once the danger of frost has passed in the spring, replant the bulbs about 2 inches down in rich potting soil. They should being to sprout 12 months after planting and will sprout faster in warmer areas.

You can replant them inside a few months earlier to start them off if youd like, and then move them outdoors once the weather conditions permit. Kind of like starting seeds indoors.

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Elephant Ear Plant Watering

During the active growing season, elephant ear plants like to be consistently moist but never wet, overly moist soil can lead to dreaded root rot! They also dont like being left to dry out at the roots so only let the surface soil dry out before adding some more water.

We find the phrase little but often goes hand in hand with the watering schedule of alocasia plants. Small top ups every now and again are better than leaving to dry followed by a deep watering.

Elephant Ears Are Fairly Easy To Propagate But They Need To Be Rooted In Water Rather Than Soil

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With a little patience and care, its fairly easy to propagate your elephant ears.

First, take a cutting from the plant by gently removing a leaf from its stalk with a clean pair of pruning shears. Make sure that you remove only one leaf at a time because removing more than one can damage the plant.

Next, make sure that both ends of your leaf are even so that it will stand up straight in water without falling over. This is important because if they fall over theyll rot faster than if theyre standing upright in water.

Finally, place your cuttings in tepid water for about two weeks until you see roots emerging from their base. Once this happens you can plant them into soil or another container filled with potting mix or composted soil mix .

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A Few Techniques To Care For Your Elephant Ear Plant

In shady areas, elephant ears grow in rich, loamy soil. They need a lot of water, making it an excellent option for damping the soil for their convenience. Some kinds are ideal for growing in big pots.

Grow flowers while the soil is moist as a homage to their tropical origins, these plants originate from tuberous roots or corms , best known for their hard-swelling branches. Elephant ears require minimal care after they emerge, other than frequent watering and feeding with a nitrogen-rich solution during dry times. Keep them well-watered.

Care For The Different Types Of Elephant Ear Plants

Most types of elephant ears require the same care. They do best in full sun or partial shade, prefer moist but not wet soil, as well as grow best in USDA zones of 10-11.

I personally recommend watering the soil around the elephant ear plant, not the leaves, which will help prevent any diseases that may occur on the leaves.

All types of elephant ears should be fertilized twice a year with a high-phosphorus fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package, as too much phosphorus can be harmful to plants.

Also, be sure to check for any signs of pests or diseases and take action if necessary.

Pests that may attack elephant ear plants include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, whiteflies, and nematodes. Diseases that may occur include bacterial blight, anthracnose, stem rot, and wilts.

So, as long as youre vigilant about checking for pests and diseases, your elephant ear plants should thrive!

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How Do I Know What Kind Of Elephant Ear I Have

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Plants that go by the common name “elephant ear” or “elephant’s ear” are usually either colocasia , hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, or alocasia , hardy in USDA plant zones 10 through 11. The various elephant ear plant types are closely related members of the same family. They sprout from very large tubers and bear similar large leaves. Gardeners can tell them apart by differences in leaf coloration and several other factors.

Planting Your Elephant Ears

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  • Elephant Ears can be planted from spring through early summer. They may be started indoors as early as a 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date or planted directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed.
  • As they come from tropical and subtropical regions, Elephant Ears are heat-loving plants. If conditions are cool or soil temperature is cold, delay the planting until the soil has warmed to at least 65°F .
  • Plant your Elephant Ear tubers 5 in. deep .
  • Elephant Ears needs room to grow. Planting distance varies with the size of your Elephant Ear plants. Small and medium sized Elephant Ears should be spaced 18-24 in. apart , tall Elephant Ear varieties about 3-4 ft. apart .
  • Set the Elephant Ear tuber with the pointy side facing up. Cover the tuber with soil and water as needed. Mulch to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture.

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Lesions And Turning The Leaf To Yellow

Fungus attack occurs due to overwatering and lack of water. You should know when you last watered your plant. Has it been a week?

Then, the plant must be a thirst for water, so you should water it as soon as possible. Contrarily, if the plant tub is full of water, it cannot breathe, so stop watering.

Repotting Elephant Ear Plants

Most indoor elephant ear plants benefit from annual repotting. It is always best to grow potted elephant ear plants in larger-than-usual pots. The large elephant ear bulbs need plenty of room to grow. Also, due to the enormous leaves, a large container helps keep the plant stable.

When repotting the mammoth elephant ears plant, take care to remove the bulb gently from the pot. Shake off excess dirt and check the root for signs of decay or disease. Choose a large pot, one or two sizes larger than the previous one. Plant elephant ears bulb about 3 to 5 in the soil with part of the rhizome root visible at the soil line. Water thoroughly and place the pot in a sunny location.

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Changing Of Leafs Color

Elephant ear leaf problems are its color changing. Both the insufficient and plenty of water are harmful to elephant plant leaves as they change the leafs color. The leaves turn into yellow or purples .

So, when you apply the water into the elephant ear plant, consider the plant and your tub size. If the tub isnt bigger, dont apply too much water. Because the plants cannot grow longer in the small tub, overflowing water will cause its death.

Besides, dont forget to water your plant regularly even when youre out of home, complete the proper arrangements for the ear plants so that it gets water continuously.

Elephant Ear Plants Are Often Overlooked As An Indoor Plant


Elephant ear plants are often overlooked as an indoor plant. Many people fail to realize that elephant ears are actually a type of taro, which is a tropical plant grown mostly for its impressive-looking leaves rather than its flowers. Elephant ear plants were originally native to South America and the Caribbean, not elephants.

The leaves of this plant can grow up to two feet long and can get up to four inches wide or larger depending on the variety. Elephant ears need heat and humidity in order to thrive indoors if you keep them at a temperature between 70°F and 80°F , theyll stay healthy for longer than if you keep them cooler or warmer than this range.

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Types Of Elephant Ear

Elephant ear plants are famous for their huge tropical leaves. Plants commonly called elephant ears are from four tropical plant speciesAlocasia, Colocasia, Caladium, and Xanthosoma. Here are a few stunning varieties of elephant ear plants you can grow to add a tropical atmosphere to your yard or an indoor setting.

African Mask Plant This popular evergreen perennial elephant ear has dark green triangular leaves with striking creamy-white pointed veins. Grow the African mask plant as an ornamental houseplant or outside in zones 10 through 12. The Alocasia Polly is the .

Elephant ear Alocasia x amazonica

Mammoth Elephant Ears The giant elephant ears plant has enormous green leaves that grow between 3 and 6 ft. long and up to 4 ft. wide.

Elephant ear Alocasia macrorrhiza Lutea

Alocasia zebrinaThis unusual houseplant has large arrowhead leaves and stalks that have zebra-like markings. Grow the eye-catching elephant ear Alocasia zebrina in pots near a sunny window but protected from direct light.

Elephant ear Alocasia zebrina

Taro Illustris A stunning elephant ear plant with purplish leaves and lime green veins. Outdoors, this impressive elephant ear plant grows up to 5 ft tall and 4 ft. wide.

Elephant ear Colocasia esculenta illustris

Taro Blue Hawaii This giant elephant ear plant has large green leaves with purple-red veins and stalks. The elephant ear Colocasia Blue Hawaii is one of the few elephant ears that is cold hardy in zones 7 through 11.

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