Colocasia esculenta is in the top 15 most extensively eaten vegetable on the planet. Removal of the calcium oxalate crystals requires precise steaming or boiling. The lush leaves are in popular Hawaiian luau dishes.
Not safe for pets.
Great For Spaces That…
Great for spaces with partial shade patios
Great for spaces with higher ceilings
Great for space with a range of low to high indirect light
Great for space with room for a grouping of plants
Great for spaces with medium indirect light
Colocasia esculenta Care Guide
Place these plants in a sunny place in the garden for 6-8 hours.
Provide consistent moisture to the planting bed or container. Add 2-3 inches of water each week. These plants can tolerate wet soil or standing water, unlike their counterparts.
The elephant ear enjoys and thrives in medium to high humidity.
Average comfortable room temperatures will be sufficient. Bring indoors when nights are under 60°F.
Plan to leave the tubers in the ground over the winter months if you're in zones 8-11. If you're using it as an annual in zones 3-7, lift them in the fall and overwinter. Plant in early spring after the last frost has passed. See our zone planting chart for details.
Create a rich soil environment when planting initially. Add organic composted materials as well as manure mixed into the soil. Use a nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks. Mix with water and apply to the soil's surface around the plant. Continue to apply each month until six weeks before the first frost in the fall.
Plant in the garden at a depth of 8-10 inches deep and 3-4 feet apart after the spring's last frost. Add amendments to clay soils in the garden to aerate the soil and allow for good drainage. Place the tubers pointy side up as well as the eyes of the rhizomes. Add compost or soil conditioners and mix in with the native soil. Depending on the earth's warmth, it usually takes three to eight weeks for sprouts to appear. To speed up the process, start them in containers inside the house and then move them outside into the garden when foliage emerges, being careful not to shock it. Keep the soil consistently moist and never let it dry out.
To keep the Elephant Ear Upright looking its best:
Prune any dead or damaged leaves to rejuvenate them.
Use sterilized pruners to trim back down to the base of the stem.
Use a hose with a shower nozzle to wash off the plant leaves each month if it is in a covered area where rain will not reach it.
Divide the tubers and rhizomes in the fall. Remove the soil from the root system.
Choose blemish free tubers and discard any rotten segments. Separate each tuber (a type of root system) and rhizomes, ensuring there are eyes or buds evident on each division. This is where new foliage will emerge. Cutaway these new tubers from the parent plant's roots with a sterilized sharp knife. Cut the rhizomes in sections with a couple eye buds on each division.
When replanting, set the tuber pointy side and the eyes of the rhizomes facing upward. Cover with rich, nutrient soil (add amendments to heavy soil in the garden). Keep moist to soggy consistently. Do not let the soil dry out. Wait until the plant is producing new green leaves before starting to fertilize.