Elephant Ear plants are a big, leafy member of the Caladium family. We’re talkin’ big leaves, as big as an elephant’s ear. The colorful leaves have a shape resembling an elephant’s ear, too. Homeowners and all who see this plant are fascinated by the attractive and huge leaves. Originating in tropical and sub-tropical areas, they love sunshine, heat, and high humidity. So, are you ready to grow it? We sure hope so. You will find growing Elephant Ears is rather easy. And, it grows in both sun and shade.
Note: This plant is poisonous to children and pets.
Flowers Bloom: While this plant is grown for its huge, attractive foliage, it does produce flowers in the late Spring to Summer.
Flower Colors: Yellowish-white
Native to: Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and Africa.
Plant height: Depending upon variety, plants grow 12 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide.
Plant Hardiness Zones: This tropical perennial grows in zones 8 – 11. It does not like cold weather.
Elephant Ears are grown from tuberous bulbs. After the plants have died back in the fall, dig up bulbs. Clean and store them in a cool, dark area until planting the following spring.
After planting your Elephant Ears, have patience. It may take several weeks for the plant to first emerge. Once it sprouts, a growing Elephant ear plant can grow at a fast pace.
In southern areas, they can remain in the ground over winter. Add a heavy layer of mulch to protect the bulbs from freezing.
Planting Depth: Plant bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep with the blunt end down.
Final Plant Spacing: Depending upon variety, the final spacing should be 6 to 8 feet apart. Don’t crowd this attractive plant.
Plant bulbs in the spring. Find a sunny location, as these plants like hot sun and humidity. Elephant ears prefer rich, organic soil. They are moisture lovers, yet the soil needs to drain well.
Note: Elephant Ear plants can be invasive. You may want to install a border edging 3″-6″ deep into the soil around the plants.
Mix in plenty of compost and organic matter at the planting site. Then, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a month for optimum growth. Keep soil moist all season long.
Mulch around plants heavily every year to help retain water, and replenish organic matter.
In the fall, dig up the bulbs for storage. The bulbs will survive over-wintering outdoors only in the warmest areas of the country.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
Occasional problems with burrowing insects can occur. Use insecticides or organic repellents as needed.