Before we dive into elephant ear plant care, let’s know a little about the plant! Elephant ear plants are large, leafy caladium family members. In other tropical and subtropical areas, elephant ear plants, or colocasia, are commonly grown and naturalized. They’re grown from tubers or rooted plants. Elephant’s ear is the common name applied to numerous species in three plant genera colocasia, alocasia, and Xanthosoma.
Elephant ears make excellent landscape plants in, around, or near water features, because colocasia is a lowland plant that produces a hardy root system underwater. They’re herbaceous perennials with a big corm on the ground surface or just underneath it. Elephant ears have huge heart-shaped leaves with a sagittate outline that are borne on 2-3-foot-tall stems.
Several elephant ear plants are small, but if given the right growing conditions, they can grow to be massive elephant ear plants. The plant takes root in rhizomes, which can be easily grown.
Elephant’s ear is named for the shape of its leaves, which resemble a broad ear or shield. The leaves are edible, but they must be cooked first due to the presence of skin-irritating calcium oxalate crystals in the form of needles. Leaf shapes range from large hearts to slender arrowheads, with smooth and glossy to dense and waxy characteristics.
How elephant ear plant grows
Tuberous bulbs or a robust swollen stem structure known as a corm are used to grow elephant ears. Aroid plants are easy to grow because they prefer filtered sunlight or shade and rich, moist soil.
Elephant ear plants thrive in wet, rich soil and can be cultivated in full sun, although they prefer partial shade. They’re grown all year in subtropical and tropical climates. They’ll withstand direct sunlight, but they’ll burn quickly. While they’ll adapt over time, they’ll do much better in indirect sunlight.
When the summer heat sets in, the elephant ear plant care grows quickly; adequate watering during this time ensures safe and vigorous growth. Elephant ears take approximately three weeks to grow roots.
Go for a container with rich and organic potting soil. To grow it indoors, plant them at the same depth. Indoor elephant ear plant care cultivation needs a high degree of humidity. Use a humidifier in the area where you want to cultivate your elephant’s ear plant.
You’ll want to be prepared because the elephant’s ear plant can grow very high. Depending on the climate and environmental conditions, elephant ear plants can grow six inches to eight feet tall. Elephant ears’ most important ornamental feature is their leaves. The most common color for this plant’s leaves is rich emerald green. The color of newly emerging leaves can differ from the color of fully developed leaves.
Some leaves, however, may have black, brown, or gold foliage. Plants are often grown in the field or wide containers. The vegetation of the elephant’s ear adds drama to large flower arrangements. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit are too poor for plants to survive.
Uses of elephant ear plant
There are several uses for elephant ears within the garden. Around ponds, walkways, and patio enclosures, aroid plants are used as background plants, ground covers, or edging. However, their most popular use is as an accent or focal point. Elephant’s ear plants have edible corms and leaves, which can be used in cooking.
The elephant’s ear plant’s corms are rarely cooked and used in desserts. Elephant ears may also be used medicinally. When cut and brushed on insect stings, the stem leaf may also help minimize swelling and pain.
Elephant ear plant care tips
Summertime seems to be much better for caring than wintertime. They’re heavy feeders that need a lot of fertilizer. The elephant ear plant care is difficult if one doesn’t know the right process.
The most pressing criteria are adequate lighting, comfortable temperatures, and above-average humidity levels. Always keep an eye out for obvious signs of drought when caring for these plants and increase the amount of watering when required. The following precautions should be taken when growing an alocasia plant:
Elephant ear plant care requires great quality of soil. A well-draining, peat-rich medium is suitable for growing elephant ear plants indoors. Elephant ears should be grown in partly shaded, mildly acidic soil. If your soil is clayey, you should substitute it with regular garden soil to ensure proper drainage.
It’s essential to keep the soil moist but not dripping wet. Water in the morning and, if possible, keep the leaves from being too wet at the base zone. Because of their tropical roots, they should be planted when the soil is well warmed. Enable the soil to become almost dry between watering in the winter to give this plant a break from irrigation and fertilization.
If it completely drains, it will go dormant, at which point you will be able to dig to the corm and store it until it can be stored in colder temperatures. It’s important to use organic, loose soil with plenty of peat moss. If the soil is too thick, add some sand or perlite to lighten it up.
If you’re going to plant your elephant’s ear outside, keep in mind the temperature in your town. The temperature for your elephant’s ear plant should be between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit (18-24c.).
If the fronds turn brown and new ones develop in greater numbers, regular grooming should be done in the summer. Simply cut them out. As long as the warm weather persists, you can narrow the most stems until the atmospheric condition frost occurs, and they will grow back rapidly and thicker.
These plants need bright, indirect light to survive. They can live in the shade up to 80% of the time but prefer 60 percent. Place them far from direct sunlight. Strong stems are needed to carry up the giant elephant ear leaves, so good intense light is essential.
Like most tropical plants, elephant ear plant care requires high temperatures and humidity, and they need a lot of water. To make the most successful show, cut away dead and dying leaves. You’ll need to artificially boost the humidity levels in a room by putting the plant in a high-humidity tray with pebbles or using a humidifier.
Since container plants are heavy feeders, fertilization is especially important. A plant with such a large size would have a voracious appetite. Therefore, you must grow them with fertilizers at regular intervals. Using well-balanced fertilizers to encourage more bulbs.
Fertilization with a 50 percent diluted food regularly is an essential part of aroid plant treatment. Follow the product instructions when applying a slow-release fertilizer at planting time. Since nitrogen plays such an essential role in plant development, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer should be your first option.
A micronutrient deficiency is demonstrated by yellowing foliage. A macronutrient fertilizer is commonly used, or Epsom salts are sprinkled around the base of each plant monthly. Fertilize less in the winter to give your plant a break.
Fertilize once or twice a month. Feed weekly with a liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer, or add slow-release fertilizer granules at the start of the season.
Spread them out 10-12 feet apart if you’re going to grow them in a greenhouse. Make sure your deck or patio has enough ventilation if you’re planting in a container. When planting elephants’ ears in pots, choose a stable and large container to accommodate the plant’s growth.
If you live in an area where it freezes, you need to be extra careful about elephant ear plant care. Prune hard after the first intense frost, leaving about 5 inches above ground leaves. Cover with a couple of inches of mulch, grass, or pine needles on both sides, about two feet in diameter. Separate the mulch after the last frost hazard in the spring. The steam will be soft and gelatinous, but fresh shoots will emerge from the crown underneath the soil.
Elephant ears are unable to live in the outdoors during the winter. The cold destroys the foliage and damages the tubers. As a result, the plant must be dug up and processed indoors in areas where winters are severe and cold. Cover the plant’s bottom with 4 to 12 inches of mulch for winter safety outside.
The indoor elephant plant does not bloom, but it may produce a small green sheathed yellow-green cone of flowers when grown outdoors. Elephant’s ear is a tropical plant that, if exposed to cold, may go dormant or die. Keep elephant’s ear away from children and pets who might eat or bite it because it’s a potentially poisonous houseplant.
Watering is only needed regularly for elephant ear plant care. Within the yard, don’t overwater them. Keep the soil moist but not soggy by watering it once or twice a week. Let the 3 or 4 inches of soil dry before you water it out. The plants in water pots allow excess water to drain through the underside of the container.
Check for dryness in the top five inches of soil around the plant and adjust watering as required. During dry spells, you’ll need to water plants regularly, particularly those in containers. Although it is not needed, you should apply slow-release fertilizers to the soil regularly.
To avoid disease in your elephant ear plant care, water them first thing in the morning, so they don’t get wet at night. To keep water off the leaves, water from below, at the root zone, rather than above. If the leaves begin to drip, minimize the amount of water you use until the dripping ceases.
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Elephant ear plants get their name from the size of their heart-shaped leaves, which are extremely large. Elephant ear plants work well in both indoor and outdoor settings. The elephant’s ear plants give your garden a tropical feel.
Large flower arrangements benefit from the inclusion of aroid foliage. The foliage usually obscures the flowers of the alocasia. Elephant ears can be used in pots, patios, decks, walls, fences, entryways, screening, and indoor houseplants. Most elephant’s ear cultivars are well suited to container gardening and can even be cultivated as aquatic plants. Many gardeners split them to keep the plant’s power.
You should expect your elephant ear plant to grow as big indoors as it does outside, which is probably a good thing given that one leaf can grow to be two feet wide and stems can reach five or more feet depending on the form. Elephant ear plant care is fun to do, whether you’re planting in a pot or a garden bed.