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Marie Iannotti

Favorite Plants:
Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta)

By February 18, 2011

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I've been growing Elephant Ears for many years, most recently in my water garden. I pot up the tubers in April, move them outside after frost and bring them back indoors, in the fall. They look exotic, but they pretty much look after themselves. The only real work is digging and storing them, which is the same as storing any other tender bulb-type plant. About's Landscaping Guide gives us the key to growing these giants and making Elephant Ears work in your garden design. If you are looking to add drama to your garden Elephant Ear's will do it.

If you think Elephant Ears make a statement in the garden, try ignoring the Elephant Ears in the room. Our Guide to Houseplants has a gallery of Elephant Ears in the genus Alocasia. Be sure to snap a few photos to enter in the Houseplant Photo Challenge

Comments

February 25, 2007 at 10:30 am
(1) JoeTritico says:

ARE THESE PLANTS POISONOUS TO DOGS(PETS)

February 26, 2007 at 6:28 am
(2) Marie Iannotti says:

Not that I’m aware of. Here are 2 good sites for checking on plants that aren’t good to have around dogs.
Dogpack.com and Cornell: Poisonous Plants Affecting Pets.

February 26, 2007 at 10:01 am
(3) K.Denomme says:

I have several large Elephant Ear bulbs, but I am never sure on how deep to plant them. One of them is about 12″ high, how deep are you supposed to plant them?

February 26, 2007 at 11:06 am
(4) Marie Iannotti says:

The tuber only needs to be about 2-3″ deep. If yours is already growing, you can put it in the ground at the same depth it is in the pot.

They need space to move down and out, so if you want to grown them in a pot, it should be at least 18 -20 inches wide and deep. The real problem with growing them in pots is that they get top heavy. The ones I grow in my water garden have bricks in the bottom of the pots, to anchor them.

February 26, 2007 at 3:02 pm
(5) pathandler says:

when planting for your water garden, do you use a basket and dirt or a regular pot? Please elaborate.

February 26, 2007 at 3:42 pm
(6) gardening says:

I pot them up with soil. I get them started in March and put them out when the water warms up, usually late April / May.

One year I over-wintered them as plants indoors, in a tub of water, but they were bothered by aphids the whole time. So I find it easier to store the tubers and repot them each spring.

March 21, 2007 at 3:00 pm
(7) Lynn says:

I have elephant ears at the corner of my porch that my land lord planted good sun plenty of water, but every spring he cut’s the tops of them off about a 1/2 inch and they start to grow like crazy is this the right thing to do ? ty

March 22, 2007 at 12:47 pm
(8) Marie Iannotti says:

It’s not necessary to cut them back, but the foliage can get pretty ratty over the winter and it won’t hurt the plants to let them start over. I cut mine the year I overwintered them indoors. And if it’s what he’s been doing and it works, it doesn’t need fixing.

May 8, 2007 at 5:00 pm
(9) KATHY WILHELM says:

HELLO CAN YOU POT ELAPHANT EARS IN POTS,AND MOVE THEM INDOOR FOR THE WINTER,I HAVE A LOT OF ROOM AND A HOLE LOT OF LIGHT,IF SO HOW BIG OF A POT SHOUD I USE,THANK YOU KATHY

May 9, 2007 at 11:27 am
(10) Marie Iannotti says:

I over wintered mine indoors one year. I used about a 5 gallon pot, because I needed that much space for the tuber. It did fine indoors, except it good a bad case of aphids. Since then, I’ve dug and stored the tuber.

May 13, 2007 at 10:08 pm
(11) Kathy Masters says:

I planted one about 5 weeks ago & nothing has shown above the ground yet.How long does it take and should
it be in the sun or shade?

May 14, 2007 at 11:23 am
(12) Marie Iannotti says:

I would think it should be up by now. Maybe you could gently scratch around and see how the tuber is doing.

They do best in full sun, but will tolerate a good amount of shade. They don’t like to dry out, but they need to be warm. Was the ground warm when you planted 5 weeks ago?

July 24, 2007 at 1:39 am
(13) Leila says:

If you are concerned about your pets you might want to look at this list that says Elephant ears ARE poisonous
http://www.ttlntl.co.uk/2/Health/poisonplants.htm

August 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm
(14) JANET NEAL says:

WHY DOES THE LEAVES TURN BROWN? DO THEY HAVE A BLIGHT OR DO I NEED TO FEED THEM OR WHAT? THANKS JANET

August 20, 2007 at 3:04 pm
(15) gardening says:

If the brown started in spots and then spread, it could be a fungus disease. But it they are browning uniformly or getting crispy on the edges, it’s just water stress. Elephant Ears like a lot of water.

November 7, 2007 at 5:43 pm
(16) Dixie says:

When do you harvest elephant ear bulbs in the fall. Is it after a frost or below a certain temperature? Help!!
Thank You

November 9, 2007 at 2:21 pm
(17) Marie Iannotti says:

I wait until they’ve been touched by a frost, but whenever the leaves start to yellow and die – it’s time.

May 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm
(18) lisa says:

I found this to be very informative, thanks. Would they do well IN a pond, submerged like other water plants?

May 16, 2008 at 1:08 pm
(19) gardening says:

I’ve grown them in my water garden for several years now. I have to take them out in the winter. I either stick them in a tray of water downstairs, near the grow lights or just cut them back and store them in their pots until spring.

I don’t think they grow quite as large as they seem to when planted in moist soil, but they do well enough. They don’t need to be completely submerged. You can raise the pot up on bricks or something and just have the bottom of the pot in the water.

May 27, 2008 at 11:53 am
(20) miss dina says:

I have a couple of tubers that were propagated and I left them in water for over a year. Of course they have started to shoot up, so I put them in soil. Do I keep the soil moist? Also, my apartment is very dark (my living room faces the northwest) and I had them by the window and they seemed to be happy. I just moved them out on the porch, where I get indirect sunlight, is that ok? Or do I need to put them in direct sunlight? I just don’t want to kill them. (my name should be BlackThumb)

May 27, 2008 at 12:49 pm
(21) gardening says:

They like a lot of water, but the soil doesn’t have to be wet all the time. Since mine are in my water garden, they stay wet. But I’m told they grow larger if grow like a regular water loving plant and allowed to dry out between waterings. Not too dry for too long though.

As for indirect light, they prefer more direct light, but they should grow fine as long as the indirect light is several hours of the day. Again, the leaves probably won’t get as large as if the plant were in direct sun.

June 8, 2008 at 5:02 pm
(22) Erika says:

i have some elephant ears that are growing some cream colored flowers on them what are they i have never seen them before

June 9, 2008 at 11:42 am
(23) miss dina says:

I did what gardening said and my elephant ears have grown expontentially! They look so happy! Thank you!

June 9, 2008 at 1:56 pm
(24) gardening says:

If you let your elephant ears grow year round, they will indeed flower – Lucky you. Different varieties flower in different colors.

June 17, 2008 at 12:12 pm
(25) rita says:

I have a couple of problems with my elephant ears. One, I have a few plants where the leaves have rolled/shriveled up from the outside edge in, not brown still green but crisp on the edges. This has happened in a day, left in the morning fine, came home not so. They’re planted in areas of partial sun/shade. I know they are supposed to like full sun (these are the avg green variety) but I’m not sure if that means ‘Texas’ Sun, soil is still damp but not excessively (if I dig my finger), so don’t think it’sfungus related. My other problem is brown, winged bugs hangin out on the stems, they’re not eating but leave brown spots behind. I’ve been spraying with ‘garden safe insecticide’ but doesn’t seem to deter them much.
Thanks for any advice.

June 17, 2008 at 1:21 pm
(26) gardening says:

Rita, I think the crispy curling is probably just some drought stress. They like full sun if they get lots of water.

I’m not sure what the brown bugs are. Elephant ears don’t usually get pest problems, especially outdoors. But if your plants are stressed, they will invite problems.

The insecticide won’t work unless you’re actually spraying the insects and not the plants. You might want to try something they can ingest, like neem.

August 1, 2008 at 10:19 am
(27) Jean-Paul says:

I have several Elephant Ears that are growing great…actually huge. One is growing and the stalks are twisting towards the ground. Any suggestions as to why and should I trim the guy back to the ground?

August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(28) gardening says:

My only guess would be the weight of the leaves is pulling the stem down. If you don’t like the way it looks, you could prune a few stems, but I don’t think you need to prune the whole plant.

August 9, 2008 at 3:01 pm
(29) Hugh says:

I am having the same problem as Rita (line 25). Not the bugs, but the leaves. Do I need to prune these leaves and if so, where do I cut them? I just got this plant and have it potted. Thanks for the advice.

August 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm
(30) gardening says:

I’m stumped. I really don’t know of anything that curls and dries elephant ear leaves other than drought and stress. Unless you see a little bug in there. I would suspect if you just got the plant, that it’s simply adapting to its new home and has a little stress. New leaves should be better.

If it could be stress, I wouldn’t worry about cutting them off just yet. If there’s enough green exposed so that they can photosynthesize, it would be better to leave the curled leaves and let the plant gain some strength. Once they start to brown and flop, you can cut them off at the base of the plant. By then you should have new leaves.

September 26, 2008 at 12:16 am
(31) Mary says:

I planted Elephant ears at the corner of the house we bought in Texas. At the time I didnt realize that the wind would whip them all the time and tear up the adult leaves so badly. My question is: Can I move them somewhere else in the yard where they are more protected and how and when can they be moved

September 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm
(32) gardening says:

Mary, Elephant Ears are usually transplanted in the spring. They tend to sulk for awhile when they’re disturbed, so waiting until they are revving up for a new season spares you a long period of ugly plants.

I should caution you that Elephant Ear’s are becoming invasive in parts of Texas, so you might consider planting in a container.

October 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(33) Debra says:

Live in NC.October and I dug up my ears and replanted them think they’ll do alright or am I gonna lose them?

October 9, 2008 at 1:33 pm
(34) gardening says:

Elephant ears are only hardy to about Zone 8, so it depends on where you are in NC. If they’ve over-wintered before, you should be fine transplanting them now. Just keep them watered, so the roots take hold. But if you live in the cooler parts of NC, Zone 6, you’d be better off storing the tubers for the winter.

April 8, 2009 at 3:54 pm
(35) murraydixon says:

can i grow elepant ears in my apt.?

April 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm
(36) gardening says:

You can grow elephant ears indoors, but they do best outside. It’s hard to give them as much humidity as they require when growing indoors, especially in the winter.

If you want to try, put them in bright, but indirect sunlight, keep the soil moist and feed at least once a month. They’re heavy feeders.

February 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm
(37) Michelle says:

I wonder if that’s why my ears didn’t come back, we lack the humidity except we do have lots of it in the summer here in Salt Lake city. I may have to try it again but bring them in and keep them downstairs where the dryer is in the winter and provide a humidifier.

October 26, 2009 at 1:01 am
(38) c.c. says:

My question is why do the elephant ear plants release water like they are “bleeding”? Mine release water around the edges and I have little puddles where they drip off. I didnt figure you could really over water these things. I also have them in large pots inside my sunroom hoping to keep them growing all winter. Also….. whats the key to fastest growing?

October 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm
(39) Marie Iannotti says:

The dripping is transpiration. It’s how plants get rid of excess water. It usually happens when it’s humid and there’s an excess of water in the air.

As far as getting them to grow faster, I wouldn’t push it, especially in the winter. All plants need a rest period. Just be sure they get lots of sun and regular food and water and they’ll grow as fast as they can.

May 6, 2010 at 2:05 pm
(40) Atom says:

I have black elephant ear plants that I dug up and stored the bulb. I replanted and now they are green. How do I keep the plants black?

May 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(41) Marie Iannotti says:

Atom, sometimes the leaves start off green and darken as the plant grows. Hopefully they’re changing already.

Also, black elephant ears grown in too much shade won’t be as dark as those that get full sun.

July 16, 2010 at 10:30 am
(42) Ashley W. says:

I put mine in a pot on the front porch as they called for full sun (they get full sun after 1pm). I water vigorously, but all the leaves are starting to go greenish and brown and crisp on the edges…I read your post that this is probably water stress. Could there be any other cause? Thanks!

July 19, 2010 at 11:57 am
(43) gardening says:

Ashley, brown and crisp edges sounds like they’re not getting enough water. Sometimes they dry out, even if watered every day. Strong direct sun, desiccating wind and even a large root system can make them demand more water. I’d try a saucer under the planter. Also, dark leaved elephant ears are more sensitive to harsh light than the regular green varieties.

August 7, 2010 at 9:05 am
(44) heather says:

i live is SC and my elephant ear’s stems and other plant’s stems and leaves near the area are curling and look sick. what could be causing the problem i feel it is a fungus or pest but just not sure how to treat.

August 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(45) kat-TX says:

PLZ help!!! I live in Texas-DFW area, and just potted some large elephant ears, they were purchased already 2′ tall. They have been doing fine, new growth and everything…last night i happened to notice one of the leaves had a SLIT on it…upon further inspection, and watching…something is eating it!!! i do not see any slugs or actually any other types of bugs…what would you think they are and how can i get rid of them…am NOT opposed to chemical treatments…any ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated…thank you

August 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm
(46) kathryn says:

PLZ help!!! We just potted some large elephant ears. When we purchased them, they were already 2′ tall. I live in TX, in the DFW area. They have been doing fine, new growth and everything…last night i happened to notice one of the leaves had a SLIT and that the slit seemed to be getting bigger. Upon further inspection, something is eating the leaf. What could it be and how can i get rid of them??? I am NOT opposed to chemically treating them!!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

August 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm
(47) gardening says:

Kathryn, there are a lot of insects, that munch on Elephant Ears and it’s hard to say what is eating yours, without seeing it. Beetles and grasshoppers come to mind first.

Many times clean slits are insects making an opening for laying eggs, that will overwinter there. The leaf is just a temporary stop over.

It could also be birds, tearing the leaves to get at moisture or insects inside the plant.

I can’t really tell you what to spray, without knowing what it is. If eggs are in there, you’d need a systemic pesticide that is taken up by the plants vascular system – or maybe nothing at all, if the eggs hatch and leave.

Beetles and grasshoppers usually need to make direct contact with the pesticide, for it to be affective. Check on the plant, several times per day, and see if you can catch a glimpse of any activity.

November 15, 2010 at 7:34 am
(48) margaret.els@telkomsa.net says:

I have an elephant ear planted in my garden and have grown them for years and never ever have they produced this kind of pod?

December 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm
(49) gardening says:

Margaret, I’m not sure what pod you’re referring to? Do you mean a seed pod or maybe the underground tuber?

January 20, 2011 at 12:23 am
(50) Trina says:

I dug up a small wild elephant ear 14 months ago and have it in a 10″ pot. It usually has two leaves at a time and now has a new sprout of two tiny leaves. Should I transplant it into a larger pot in order for it to grow larger?

January 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm
(51) gardening says:

Trina, if your plant is starting to grow, I’d move it into a larger pot. Elephant ears roots grow quickly and fill up pots fast. If you want it to get large, give the roots room to expand. You’d need at least an 18″ x 18″ pot, a little bigger, if possible.

March 1, 2011 at 11:23 am
(52) Sharon says:

Purchased bulbs. Can I start these bulbs off growing by submerging in water?

March 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(53) Marie Iannotti says:

Michelle, I don’t think they’re hardy in Salt Lake City. Aren’t you about a USDA Zone 6? Also, you can bring them in for the winter as dormant bulbs and pot them up again in the spring. It’s a lot less work in the long run.

March 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm
(54) Marie Iannotti says:

Sharon, although I have grown them with the pots submerged, I’ve never tried growing them without soil. They will probably sprout in water, but they’ll need some soil for nutrients, eventually.

December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm
(55) Jerry L. says:

My elephant ear grew huge planted in the ground. I have brought it in for the winter. (Oregon) What’s the best way to divide the bulbs?

December 15, 2011 at 7:11 am
(56) Marie Iannotti says:

Jerry, you should be able to pull the side bulbs off the mother bulb. Sometimes it’s easier to cut them off, so they don’t break, but they should survive even if there is some breakage. Just let them dry a bit before you store them. Here’s a video of a gardener separating her bulbs. It’s a little long, but she starts dividing about 4 minutes into it.

April 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm
(57) Squirrelly says:

I live in ontario Canada and not knowingly left my elephant ear colocasia trimmed but in the ground approximately 1 inch out of the ground over winter, also uncovered. I was wondering if there is any chance they will come back the year as we had a mild winter? I know now I should have removed them in the fall.

Thanks

April 30, 2012 at 6:37 am
(58) Marie Iannotti says:

Squirrelly, It all depends on whether the ground froze long enough to freeze the roots. All I can say is give them a chance. If they’re alive, you should see some new growth when the temperatures start to stay warm.

June 14, 2012 at 2:24 am
(59) Mellisa says:

I find it odd that elephant ears are considered poisonous on some websites and yet Colocasia esculenta (coco yam) is eaten throughout the world. I have had the leaves and stems sauteed like spinach and the roots boiled like potatoes. It is a staple food source to a great number of people.

It is known around the globe by a variety of names including Black Magic, Taro, Wild Taro, Black Taro, Dalo, Dasheen, Calaloo, Eddy and Potato of the Tropics.

Common names: Giant Elephant Ear, Elephant Ear, Elepaio, Black Magic, Taro, Wild Taro, Dasheen, Dachine, Black Taro, Dalo, Eddo, Eddoe, Edda, Eddy Root, Green Taro, Coco Yam, Kalo, Callaloo, Poi, Katchu, Potato of the Tropics, in Australia Djamandarr and in Ecuador Papachina

June 14, 2012 at 5:49 am
(60) gardening says:

Mellisa, it is confusing and I wouldn’t experiment without having a knowledgeable person help me, but I think it is mostly an extreme irritant to the mouth, if you eat it raw. The calcium oxalate crystals must breakdown in cooking.

Both Colocasia spp. and Alocasia spp. have these crystals. And Alocasia’s warning includes possible death.

July 11, 2012 at 8:22 am
(61) Tammie says:

Im new at growing elephant ears. I live in TN, I grew them from bulbs and now have them in a very large pit on my porch with a roof over it. I thought they needed indirect light. They have grown very large, 4 leaves total now, but the first two have stayed small and now have brown spots all around the edges. Should I prune back the sickly ones? If so how?

July 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm
(62) Marie Iannotti says:

Tammie, they need bright sunlight, but if they are growing in a hot or dry location, they prefer a bit more shade or indirect light. If yours are growing well, the amount of sunlight is fine.

The bottom leaves tend to die off, as the plant grows. You can cut the whole stem off. If will just flop and fall on its own.

I don’t know what the brown spots are. It could be an insect or just age. Keep an eye on the new leaves. If they are not affected, it was just age.

September 19, 2012 at 7:24 am
(63) Aiwee says:

Hi Marie,

I have bought an elephant plant intended for growing indoor. Recently we found that the leaves were dripping water and it leaves stain on our wooden floor.

I read that (probably suggested by you?) watering less might reduce the dripping problem but we cannot risk ruining the floor, so I have moved the pot outdoor.

Autumn and winter is fast approaching, do I have to move the pot back indoor just before freezing? I can leave it in the kitchen (tiles) for 3-4 months if necessary, or I wonder if the brick shed in the garden would work?

Thanks.

Regards,
Aiwee

September 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm
(64) gardening says:

Aiwee, if you plan to keep the plant growing indoors, you’ll need to take it inside before frost. It won’t be able to handle freezing temperatures, so the shed may not be warm enough. I like to bring plants in a few weeks earlier, so they can acclimate to the lack of a breeze and the lower humidity.

You could also let it go dormant and store the bulb, but since you bought it as a houseplant, you probably don’t want to do that.

October 7, 2012 at 9:17 am
(65) Merritt says:

We live in the piedmont area of North Carolina. We have some elephant ears that are doing very well. They are about 4′ tall. We would like to transplant them to another part of the yard. When is the best time to transplant them?

October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(66) gardening says:

Merritt, elephant ears are usually transplanting in the spring or very early summer. If you don’t get cold winters, you could probably get away with it now. But you don’t want them stressed by a frost, right after transplanting.

October 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm
(67) Deana Smith says:

I just dug up my elephant ears. They have a huge root system. When storing them for the winter, should I cut the root system back to perhaps an inch or let the plant with roots dry and go dormant?

October 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm
(68) gardening says:

Let them dry a bit, then you can cut them back to a few inches. It’s the tubers you want to retain.

October 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm
(69) Susan says:

Can you get starts off of one and if so is it hard to do?

October 31, 2012 at 6:44 am
(70) gardening says:

Usually the bulbs will produce offsets, which can be separated from the mother bulb by hand or with a knife.

I’m told you can slice the bulb anywhere there is a stem. As long as there are roots and part of the bulb attached, (and the stem), it should regrow. I’ve never tried that myself, but it should be done when you are ready to replant, not when you are going to store them.

November 7, 2012 at 10:12 am
(71) Angie says:

I bought my plant this past summer and brought it indoors about a month ago (I live in Michigan) It is not doing so well. First, the stems feel soft, is this root rot?, and if so is there anything I can do? Second, I just noticed today that there are a bunch of tiny white insects in webs on it. I don’t want to just throw it out, if there is any chance in saving it. I’d appreciate anything you can tell me…..Thanks

November 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm
(72) gardening says:

Angie, it’s hard for me to diagnose plants without being able to inspect them. The soft stem could be stem rot, root rot or just insufficient light. You can lift the bulb out of the soil, or at least feel around down there, to see if the bulb itself is soft. Elephant ears need less moisture during the winter, so let it dry between waterings and see if that helps.

Lots of insects love elephant ears, including spider mites, aphids and white flies. It could be a combination of spider mites and aphids or it could be a regular old spider has spun a web in your plant to catch whatever is there. Either way, if you can wash off the plant, maybe move it to the sink or tub, you should be able to get most of them. You could followup with a spray of insecticidal soap or neem. They are both low toxic botanicals, but make sure they dry before letting your pets near them.

November 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm
(73) Angie says:

These are teeny tiny white things and they are moving (yuck)! If it does have root or stem rot, in your experience, what are the chances of it recovering. As I inspect this plant the little bugs remind me of lice (like the little nits in the hair).

November 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm
(74) Angie says:

They are spider mites for sure! I saw a picture on Wikipedia and it looks exactly like my plant. Hoping by following some online suggestions this works. Wish me luck :)

January 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm
(75) Ken says:

Hi I have spiders or afids on my indoor elephant ears ..They seem to be killing what were 4 foot high plants..There are little spider webs at the base of the leaf intself and what looks to be white eggs on leaves ..What do I spray them with to get them off the plant and kill the infestation?…Ken

January 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm
(76) Kate says:

We recently planted some elephant ears… We had one root part left over that had broken off of a larger root so as an experiment I put it in a cup of water in the window and after two months have a large stalk coming off of it with 3 palm sized leaves. Today I noticed the roots have grown in a cup form and one of the leaves has lost its color and has become dull. Almost a bleached out color. Could this be from the cup size? Any tips or help you can give would be much appreciated. This is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’ve had trouble finding information online about it. Thank you!

January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm
(77) gardening says:

Ken, if the infestation is small, you can spray the plant with insecticidal soap. Thoroughly soak both sides of the leaves and wipe off any eggs you notice. You will need to do this a couple of times. Whichever soap you use, the package should tell you how often.

If the problem is already pretty bad, look for a soap labeled “miticide”. These tend to be systemic, getting inside the plant and killing the mites as they feed.

Once you have the problem controlled, be sure to keep your plant clean and dusted. If possible, hose or wash it off every few weeks.

January 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(78) gardening says:

Kate, it sounds like your plant has outgrown its container. It probably needs some food, too. I think it’s time to plant it in some soil and give it a little fertilizer.

January 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm
(79) Missy says:

Will it hurt the elephant ear pod if I was to plant it now at the end of january last frost …and can I leave it out side right now or bring it in till it starts to grow ?

January 28, 2013 at 9:57 am
(80) Anne says:

Why are my Amazonica Alocasia loosing their dark colour ? The leaves also seem to have a ‘cobweb’ which keeps covering them & which I have washed off. They were inside but have been in a bright position out in the garden for 3 weeks now & they seem to look worse . Help !!!

January 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(81) gardening says:

Missy, most do best is planted once the soil has had a chance to warm up. if you are planting yours in a container and January is your last frost date, you should be able to get it stated. It will sprout faster in warmer temperatures, like indoors.

A sudden cold snap can cause die back of the leaves, but should not hurt the bulbs. If cold temps are predicted, you can bring it back indoors or cover it.

January 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm
(82) gardening says:

Anne, I would suspect the webbing is from spider mites. You may be able to see small black dots on the undersides of the leaves. Usually you can get rid of them by either blasting the whole plant with a strong stream of water, several days in a row, or soaking it with insecticidal soap. This will also take a few tries. But you need to get rid of them because they are feeding on the leaves.

I’m not sure why they are losing their color. It could be the spider mites. It could be that the plant is trying to go dormant or it could be too much bright light, all of a sudden. Most prefer a little time in partial shade.

The dormancy thing is weird. Sometimes they’ll grow fine for years, sometimes they’ll remain dormant for years. I have no idea why and I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definite answer to your problem. I’d try moving it to different exposures and seeing how it reacts.

March 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm
(83) Zana says:

We recently purchased a home in the Houston area that has very large elephant ears growing around the pool under palm trees. The largest leaves are starting to look shredded. Other than what I have read in your article and responses to questions I know nothing of caring for plants. These appear to need some pruning or something. I expect they are 10 years old. How should they be trimmed to keep them looking nice. One comment referred to the landlord chopping them back each year. How much, where, and how often should that be done?

I appreciate any help I can get.

March 17, 2013 at 7:07 am
(84) Jean says:

Hi! My son has an indoor green elephant plant. We think it has spider mites which we know now what to do after reading your website. However another weird problem has occurred. There is a pod growing out of the middle of it almost having the appearance of a small corn cob and it is very stinky! What ever can that be? Help! Thank you!

March 17, 2013 at 7:21 am
(85) gardening says:

Except for the scent, it sounds like the flower spike. I’ve never heard of them smelling bad.

Is it surrounded by a spath or bract? If the flowers are pollinated, they become tiny berries, which you can plant for more elephant ears.

April 4, 2013 at 2:18 am
(86) Raphael Braga says:

Some species can be “poisonous” because of oxalate in their leaves. In Brazil, they are called taioba and venomous is called taioba brava. The common is edible and has no problems in eating of any parts. Oxalates forms raphides but is rarely dangerous and you should not confuse with philodendrum. They are similar and not edible. In some parts can be called elephant ears as well.

April 4, 2013 at 5:26 am
(87) gardening says:

Good points, Raphael. No one should try tasting them without knowing what they have. Thanks for bringing this up.

April 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm
(88) Tracry says:

I have a giant taro that I bought in Houston TX in Nov. I brought it home to South Alabama and wintered it in the house. I just put it in the ground 4 days ago. It’s planted on the east side of my house, morning sun/evening shade and certainly 6-8 hours of direct sun. The leaves are turning a chalky color and drooping. It looks like it is drying out but I have kept it watered well. No bugs that I can find. Do you think it is just acclimating to its new space and conditions?

April 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm
(89) gardening says:

Tracey, it could be the shock of being moved outdoors. Plants need to acclimate slowly, starting with a few hours outside and adding more time each day. The combination of sun and wind can desicate leaves.

Can you put something near it, to shade it for a few days? It should adjust within a week or two.

May 4, 2013 at 8:45 am
(90) Tish says:

Somebody gave me a Colocasia esculenta … one side is pointy the other flat, I don’t know which side is up and which side is down.. Want to put it in a planter on the patio. Thanks.

May 4, 2013 at 10:01 am
(91) gardening says:

Tish, one end should have some short, dried roots on it and one end usually has the appearance of rings. The roots are generally on the flat end and the pointed end goes up.

When it doubt, plant bulbs sideways. It takes a little longer to sprout, but the stem always finds its way to the sun.

May 19, 2013 at 6:40 am
(92) Belle0406 says:

Thank you for your help on this subject. I’ve read quite a lot of the comments and haven’t seen my problem. I have purchased a number of bulbs over the years and put them in a pot. It is in a 50% shade area in zone five. The plant grows beautifully. When I cut it back in the fall and dig up the bulb, it’s always rotten! What might I being doing to cause this? Someone gave me four beautiful enormous bulbs this year and I don’t want to ruin them. Thank you.

May 19, 2013 at 8:36 am
(93) gardening says:

Belle, are you sure the whole corm rotted. It’s normal for the original portion to rot away, but usually there is a new corm that forms on top of the old one. Since your plant was growing fine, I would guess there was still a good section to it. You can cut away the rotten portion when you store it.

May 19, 2013 at 9:54 am
(94) Mary says:

I have big elephant ears that were hear when I moved in. I have little ones popping up in random places that I found out are connected to the original larger plants underground. What is the proper way to remove and transplant the little ones to new areas of my yard?

May 19, 2013 at 10:30 am
(95) Mary says:

I have some large elephant ears at my house that were here when we got the house. There are little sprouts coming off of the large plants. I did not realize that these are connected underground. How do I transplant these little ones to different areas of my yard? I don’t know where to disconnect them at.

May 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm
(96) gardening says:

Mary, if you are digging the whole bulb, the new, smaller sections should break right off in your hand. There will be roots and a few leaves attached to each piece. The older piece may have started to rot away. If so, it can be discarded.

You can also simply dig the smaller plants and replant them. As long as they have some roots attached, they should be fine.

May 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(97) Pat says:

I have a Bolivian elephant ear that is moved to the greenhouse for the winter. In the summer since I don’t cut it back it has large white lily type blooms.
If the wind is just right or if I use a qtip or a friendly bug to go flower to flower I get red seed pods that look like little ears of corn. I found several that still had the seeds and I have saved them to plant.
You get these seeds after the flower turns brown and a green swelling is beneath it, then wow there it is.
I want to try the seeds and the roots for new plants.

June 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm
(98) Sarahbell says:

I have some Black Coral Elephant ears. They are fairly new and planted in the ground. The leaves on one plant seem to have trouble in the process of opening. When looking at it closer it almost looks as though the leave is stuck to itself in spots (almost like something sticky got in there and glued the leave rolled up). What could be causing this? It also has had trouble with letting out new leaves from the stalk. Any suggestions for what I could do to help it?

June 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm
(99) gardening says:

Sarahbell, I’m stumped about what would be causing the leaves to stick. Have you looked inside or pulled one off, to see if some kind of insect is causing the trouble? They don’t usually have pest problems, but it can happen.

July 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm
(100) Lee-Ann says:

I cannot find anything on line that tells you where to trim dead leaves off my elephant ear plants. I can only assume beyond where the new shute is about to come out??? How many inches or cm’s??? Or am I completely wrong with my assumption… Gardening, what is your advice, and of course anyone else? Thank you in advance! : )

July 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm
(101) gardening says:

Lee-Ann, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer, probably because they tend to grow differently in different climates.

Generally you would do exactly what you guessed. You could even leave the old leaf to fall off on its own. Just don’t cut into the new shoot.

July 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm
(102) cronk says:

I need help i tried moving my pot around so they are not on the sliding glass door and 2 hours later notice they were laying on the floor. I tried setting them some what upright and it broke off the bulb. Is there any saving this. I am so sad this happened and cant find anything on this.

July 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm
(103) gardening says:

Cronk, I’m not really sure if you’re saying the bulb split or the top snap off the bulb, but either way, it should eventually recover. as long as the bulb and roots are fine, it should send up some new growth within a few weeks.

July 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm
(104) cronk says:

i am meaning the top broke off the bulb, i figure the bulb is fine meant the top is it save able?

July 24, 2013 at 5:32 am
(105) Marie Iannotti says:

If it still has some roots or part of the bulb attached, you could repot it. Otherwise I’m afraid you’ll have to start over with the bulb,

August 11, 2013 at 12:30 am
(106) connie says:

We have elephant ears growing in our fish pond. They grow so rapidly that they have to be cut all the time. When we cut them the open stems keep getting on our clothing and staining them. I have tried just about everything but cannot get these stains out. Do you have ANY suggestions how I can get out stains from elephant ear plants?

Thanks so much.

I have stains on both white and colored t’s and shorts! It is making me hate the elephant ear plants…….

August 11, 2013 at 5:31 am
(107) gardening says:

Sorry, Connie, I haven’t had that problem yet, so I don’t have any advice. Have you tried spraying something like Resolve? I bought it for stains on my carpet, but I use it on my clothes more than my rugs.

September 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm
(108) Annie Dee says:

I live in a fairly tropical area – I am absolutely horrified of roaches – to the point of being ridiculous! My pest control guy knows this and gives me extra advice – but is not due back until mid October. Recently I actually saw a LARGE cockroach come into my condo under the front door. I haven’t seem a roach like that in more than three years. The only thing that I have done differently is planted some Elephant Ears outside my entry – and now have seen several different kinds of bugs. This is the absolute end! Does anyone know if these plants attract bugs – particularly roaches. At any rate I am having mine dug up and thrown away!!

September 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm
(109) gardening says:

Annie, I’ve never heard of them attracting roaches, but roaches do feed on decaying matter, so they may have found something good to eat in the soil. They won’t live in sitting water, so if you wanted to keep the plant, you could pot it and keep the pot in a tub of water. Or maybe just water it really thorougly and often, till the take the hint.

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