How to Care for Your Elephant Ear
Elephant Ear plants are known for their oversized, tropical-looking leaves, which wonderfully resemble elephant ears. Learn how to care for your Elephant Ear, the plant everybody wants!
The Elephant Ear plant, also known as Colocasia, is a great indoor and patio plant that adds colorful tropical vibes to your home because of its large arrow-shaped leaves or heart-shaped leaves with decorative veining. Plus, it can grow between 3 & 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The Elephant Ear’s leaves’ colors may be anywhere from green, green or white variegated, and purplish black. The Elephant Ear is a fast-growing plant that will reach its full size within two months. This is the main reason why it’s usually grown outdoors, but it’s possible to grow the Elephant Ear plant indoors.
Fun Fact: The Elephant Ear plant’s stalks are used as a Vietnamese herb. They are first peeled and then cut. It’s also a popular ingredient to soups and stir-frys.
Elephant Ear plants were first grown in Africa, China, India, Indonesia, around the Mediterranean Sea, Polynesia, South America, and Southeast Asia. Learning how to care for your Elephant Ear is pretty easy. These plants prefer partial shade and rich, moist soil. Be sure to choose a fairly large container to pot your Elephant Ear plant in. Additionally, once your Elephant Ear has settled, it requires little attention.
How to Plant Elephant Ear Tubers, According to Burpee:
- Plant your Elephant Ear bulbs outside only after all danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures remain above 70°F. Since Elephant Ears are tropical plants, they only emerge when the soil is warm. These plants cannot tolerate any frost.
- Choose a location in full sun or part sun with good, rich, moist, organic soil.
- Prepare the bed for your Elephant Ear by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Then, even with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Most Elephant Ear plants react well to soils amended with organic matter, such as compost. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will start to break down into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil supplements are needed for the next season.
- Plant your Elephant Ear bulbs 2-4 feet apart. Plant so the growing tip is up.
- Dig a hole so that the top of the bulb is 4 inches deeper than the soil line. Cover with 4 inches of soil.
- Tubers may be begun inside 6-8 weeks before all danger of frost has passed. Plant the tubers separately in 6-inch pots using good quality potting soil or seed starting soil. They need warm soil to grow so consider using a heat mat.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to care for your Elephant Ear.
|Common Name||Elephant Ear|
|Plant Size||The Elephant Ear plant can be as tall as 6 inches to 8 feet and 2 feet wide.|
|Types of Elephant Ears||Alocasia macrorrhiza Odora
Colocasia esculenta Black Magic
Colocasia esculenta Black Stem
Colocasia esculenta Diamond Head
Colocasia esculenta Hawaiian Punch
Colocasia esculenta Mojito
Colocasia esculenta Tea Cup
|Sunlight||Elephant Ear grows best in bright, indirect sunlight.|
|Water||Water your Elephant Ear per week, especially during the growing season.|
|Humidity||Above-average humidity is ideal for your Elephant Ear plant.|
|Temperature||Elephant Ear prefers temperatures between 65°F and 75°F.|
|Toxicity||The Elephant Ear plant contains a protein called asparagine and oxalic acid, which cause poisonous effects to those who consume the plant. Symptoms of Elephant Ear poisoning include burning of the mouth and throat, diarrhea, nausea, swelling of the eyes or mouth, and vomiting.|
|Food||Elephant Ear plants are heavy-feeders. Fertilize your Elephant Ear once a month with a slow-release, water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer.|
|Pests and Problems||The most common disease of the Elephant Ear plant is fungal leaf blight. Spray copper fungicide when they are at least 4 weeks old. Spray copper fungicide every week during rainy weather and bi-weekly during drier seasons.|
|Omysa Plant Care Tip||If you have Elephant Ear plants, pull off the older leaves of the Elephant Ear plant to let the new leaves grow.|
Elephant Ear Care Tips
Caring for your Elephant Ear is pretty easy, but always remember that they are fast growers. Aside from choosing a fairly large container to put the plant in, choose a space where they can grow freely. Follow our guide on how to care for your Elephant Ear, from sunlight requirements to common problems and their solutions.
First, on our list on how to care for your Elephant Ear is to provide it with bright, indirect sunlight, filtered sun, or part shade. In general, green types of Elephant Ear can take higher light levels, but darker-leaved Elephant Ear needs filtered light or shade.
Common Problem: If the color of the leaves of your Elephant Ear is turning brown, this could mean that it’s getting too much sunlight. If the color of the leaves of your Elephant Ear is turning yellow, this could mean that it’s getting too little sunlight.
Solution: Place your Elephant Ear near a window where it can receive the proper light levels: bright, indirect sunlight, filtered sun, or part shade.
Next on our list on how to care for your Elephant Ear is to keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering it since it can lead to root rot. Plant experts advised to water it daily or weekly, depending on your climate, since Elephant Ear plants are heavy drinkers. Use a rain gauge to check if you need to add water.
Common Problem: If your Elephant Ear is dripping water from the tip of the leaf, it could be from too much water.
Solution: One of the most common mistakes is giving the plant too much water. Water about once a week to keep soil evenly moist but not soggy.
Note: Some houseplants can be sensitive to salts in tap water, so it’s best to use distilled water or a water filtration system. However, if this is not possible, leave the water in an open container overnight.
Humidity & Temperature
Adding to our list on how to care for your Elephant Ear is to put it in a room with above-average or high humidity since it will grow best in a humid environment. In case you want to increase the humidity, we suggest that you mist it often, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray.
Elephant Ear prefers room temperature, between 65°F and 75°F. Keep your Elephant Ear plant away from cold drafts.
Toxic to humans and pets. The Elephant Ear plant contains a protein called asparagine and oxalic acid, which cause poisonous reactions to those who eat the plant. Symptoms of Elephant Ear poisoning include burning of the mouth and throat, diarrhea, nausea, swelling of the eyes or mouth, and vomiting.
Another on our list on how to care for your Elephant Ear is to feed it once a month with a slow-release, water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. These plants are heavy feeders, but avoid over-fertilization since it can lead to brown leaf tips. Make sure the soil is damp before applying fertilizer.
Note: Follow the prescribed amount of fertilizer and schedule to avoid fertilizer burn or plant burn.
Pests & Other Problems
- Aphids: Wash them off with insecticidal soap or use a strong spray. You can also place natural predators like lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids.
- Mealybugs: Wash infected parts of your Elephant Ear under running water and try to rub the mealybugs off. Introduce natural predators like lacewings, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps.
- Root Maggots: Place natural predators in the area.
- Spider Mites: Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap to control spider mites.
The most common disease of the Elephant Ear plant is fungal leaf blight. Spray copper fungicide when they are at least 4 weeks old. Spray copper fungicide every week during rainy weather and bi-weekly during drier seasons.
Phyllosticta leaf spot is another common disease of the Elephant Ear plant. It starts as a brown lesion, then dries up the leaf until it falls out. Overwatering and too much humidity can cause Pythium rot, which can cause your Elephant Ear plants to die. Prevent Pythium rot with good sanitation practices and pure irrigation water. Also, avoid overwatering and provide plenty of ventilation to indoor Elephant Ear plants.
That’s a wrap on how to care for your Elephant Ear. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.
Whatever houseplant you choose to transform your home into a lively oasis, you’ll definitely need a stylish planter to display your plant baby in. No matter what your style, there’s an Omysa planter that will be perfect with your garden and home’s décor. From ceramics to fiberstone, check out Omysa’s Shop and add it to your cart!