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How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants and Reach their Full Potential

Are you looking for a grand and impressive plant to add flair to your garden? The Elephant Ear plant, also known as Colocasia esculenta, is a great option! This award-winning flowering plant is not only beautiful but also a great air-purifying plant. If you want to grow it in a container, you’ll need to choose a container that is at least 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep, or 36 inches wide for the larger Alocasia varieties. Keep reading to learn more about this majestic plant and how to properly care for it!

Caring for Giant Elephant Ear Plants

The Thailand Giant, or Colocasia gigantea, is one of the largest elephant ear plants in existence. Reaching up to 10 feet tall with leaves measuring an impressive 5 feet long and 4 feet wide, this giant truly lives up to its name. Its size makes it a standout among other elephant ear plants – making it a must-have for any garden enthusiast looking for something unique and eye-catching.

But what really sets this elephant ear plant apart from the rest is its ability to ‘cry’ when it needs water.When the soil feels a little dry, Colocasia gigantea will let you know by dripping water from the tip of its leaf. This is a sure sign that your elephant ear plant needs to be watered, and should not be ignored as doing so could cause permanent damage.

For those living in hardiness zones 7-11, you can leave your elephant ears in the ground. But it is important to cover them during the winter months to protect them from frost damage. It’s also essential not to cut off any stems as this could lead to rotting. The best way to protect your plants is by covering them with leaves and grass clippings.

For those who don’t have the luxury of a large garden, growing elephant ears in pots is a great option. I recommend growing elephant ears in large pots to reach their full potential. If you only have a small patio or balcony, then smaller pots are fine if you’re growing a more compact variety. If you want a lot of va-va-voom, go for a big pot and a big variety.

When it comes to caring for your elephant ear plants, there are a few key points to remember. Firstly, they need plenty of water and fertilizer during the growing season. Secondly, they should be replaced every 8 years or so with newly purchased tubers. Finally, make sure you dig up the tubers before the first hard frost (typically in October), as the leaves are declining. A special note: Storage works well for 2-3 years, after which time corms will begin to deteriorate and you will need to purchase new corms.

In conclusion, elephant ear plants are relatively easy to keep alive as long as you provide the necessary care. With their impressive size and ‘crying’ ability, they make a great addition to any garden or patio.

The most important thing to remember is to keep them consistently moist during the active growing season, but never wet as this can lead to root rot. Allow the surface soil to dry out before adding more water, and they won’t be left to dry out at the roots.

Overwatering causes crown and leaf spots, stem or root rot, and stem or root rot. Symptoms include dark brown or black spots on the leaves surrounded by yellowish borders. The best way to prevent this is to avoid overwatering, keep the leaves dry, and provide adequate air circulation.

Do giant elephant ears come back every year? In most parts of the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South they do. The lower part of the Middle South has some that are perennial. In winter, they like the soil to be relatively dry.

When it comes to their spread, some elephant ear plants grow in clumps while others spread along the ground. It is possible for runners to form a large mass of plantings quickly, which can be beneficial or detrimental. Pick a clumping variety if you’re worried about them spreading and take extra care when planting them to prevent any unwanted invasions.

Last but certainly not least, elephant ear plants are toxic to the touch. The leaves and stems are the most toxic parts of the plant, so it is important to wear gloves when handling them. If you get the sap in your eyes, your eyes will sting and burn for hours, and even touching them can cause skin irritation and itching.

Regular pruning of elephant ears will ensure that this large leaf plant remains healthy. As they age, the leaves will droop and it is possible to remove yellowing or brown leaves by cutting them at the stem with a sharp blade. This helps to promote new growth and keep the plant looking its best.

When it comes to where elephant ears grow best, the answer is in a humusy soil that is moist to the point of being wet. This plant is great for swamps, boggy areas, and around water gardens.

Understanding Jumbo Elephant Ear Plants

How Big Do Jumbo Elephant Ear Plants Get? When it comes to size, jumbo elephant ear plants can reach a lofty height of up to 8 feet or 2.4 meters in tropical regions. In other parts of the world, they will only grow 2-3 feet tall. The plant has a large number of leaves and an expansive area for the stalks to take root in the soil.

However, despite its beauty and size, the elephant ear plant can be dangerous for your dog. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause serious health problems if ingested. The first symptom that you may see is a swollen airway which can cause difficulty in breathing. If not treated immediately, it could even be fatal.

When it comes to planting elephant ears, the best time to do so is after the first frost in the spring. Once planted, they will begin to flower in late fall and early winter months.

But, what happens when temperatures drop below freezing? Will the elephant ears come back after a freeze? The answer is yes, in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones where the plant is hardy – typically zones 8b and warmer – it grows back in the spring. In cooler climates, however, the tubers must be dug up and stored indoors for the winter and replanted in the spring.

Elephant ears are propagated by division of their corms, which are produced from their tubers. While not all cultivars available today produce tubers, those that do can be propagated easily by cutting the tuber into pieces, each with a corm attached, similar to the eyes of a potato.

But, what bugs do elephant ears attract? In Elephant Ears, aphids and spider mites are the most common. When you find holes in the leaf or stem of your plant, you can tell that insects are damaging your elephant ears.

The other issue with elephant ears is that it can become a pest. The regeneration of native species seedlings is prevented by the smothering of the ground by the elephant’s ear, which shades out natural ground cover. Additionally, it is easy to recover from heavy damage and can be difficult to control.

One type of elephant ear, commonly called wild taro and known as Colocasia esculenta, is an invader in Florida and should not be planted. Xanthosoma sagittifolium is also considered to be an invasive species.

But, do elephant ear plants clean the air? Philodendrons, including heart-leaf, elephant ear, and sellous philodendrons are effective air-purifying plants. Philodendrons filter toxins including: formaldehyde.

But, why are elephant ears toxic? Elephant ear plants contain oxalic acid, a poison. This plant also contains asparagine, a protein that can cause respiratory problems if ingested. Therefore it is important to keep pets away from these plants and wear gloves when handling them.

Planting and Caring for Elephant Ear Plants

When it comes to price, elephant ear plants can be expensive due to their rarity. The Elephant Ear Plant, also called variegated Alocasia, is an award-winning flowering plant known for its unique beauty and size. It is often sold in specialty nurseries and garden centers at a premium price due to its exclusivity. But the cost of an elephant ear plant goes beyond just the initial purchase price – there are ongoing costs associated with keeping your potted or planted elephant ear in good health. Fertilizer and water are essential components of successful elephant ear growth, as is regular pruning to maintain shape and size. Additionally, if you want your elephant ears to come back every year you will need to purchase new tubers every 8 years or so; otherwise the corms will start deteriorating after a few years in storage.

Fortunately, giant elephant ears are fast-growing plants and can be planted in early spring as an annual to quickly add dramatic foliage to the garden. In the fall, you can dig up elephant ear corms or rhizomes before frost arrives and store them over the winter in a cool, dry area of your home.

When it comes to finding the best place to plant giant elephant ears, they prefer moist, filtered sunlight found in tropical forests. They thrive in moist soils and partial shade and are suitable for wet areas such as creeks, rain gardens, or low-lying areas.

In terms of multiplying, elephant ear plants can spread by way of underground runners, or stolons, which produce young plants along the way. The babies can be separated from the parent plant and installed somewhere else.

However, it is important to note that if you plant an elephant ear bulb upside down, it will take an extra day or two to reach the surface. If you can’t tell which end is the top, plant the bulb on its side.

But what if you don’t want to plant your elephant ear plants in the ground? Can you still enjoy their lush foliage and striking height in a pot or container? The answer is yes! If you provide elephant ears with the right sized container, proper soil, and adequate sunlight, they will do well in it.

When it comes to planting elephant ears, there is a smooth side and a rougher side to the bulb. Some root hairs from the previous growing season can be seen on the rough side of the bulb. To ensure your elephant ear plant takes root properly, it should be planted facing upwards because the smooth side is actually the top.

Do elephant ears need deep pots? Absolutely. Choose a container that is at least 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep, or 36 inches wide for the larger Alocasia varieties. You won’t need to repot these plants for a long time if you use large pots, as it will allow them to develop to their fullest potential.


Growing elephant ears is a rewarding experience and easy to do if you provide the right conditions. Make sure to choose a container that is at least 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep, or 36 inches wide for the larger Alocasia varieties. When planting elephant ears, it is important to keep in mind that their leaves and stems are the most toxic parts of the plant and can be fatal if not treated immediately. When it comes to watering, only let the surface soil dry out before adding more water and be very careful not to overwinter it in climates with frost. With proper care, your elephant ear plant will thrive and provide you with dramatic foliage for years to come.