How to Care for an Elephant Ear Plant
- The elephant ear plant comes from a tropical climate and prefers warmer temperatures with ample shade. The plant also thrives in a humid atmosphere, so if you keep it indoors, it’s best to set it next to a humidifier .
- The elephant ear plant grows from corms, a swollen stem that stores the plant’s food. Plant the corm in 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of fertile, moist and slightly acidic compost. Ensure that the corm is well situated deep within the soil . Water the plant often to maintain the moist soil.
- The elephant ear plant is a heavy feeder, so it’s important to keep the soil rich in nutrients. These plants respond well to liquid fertilizer with a high nitrogen content. They should be fertilized once a week or as advised on the fertilizer package .
- The elephant ear plant’s corm is prone to fungi infestations and rotting. To avoid this, keep the soil loosely packed to allow for ventilation .
- The elephant ear leaves and corm contain toxins. Ingesting the plant raw can lead to poisoning. (Thorough cooking rids the plant of the toxins and enables it to be eaten.) Contact a healthcare professional in the event of ingestion .
How to Care for Indoor Elephant Ear Plants
• Environment: A large space and large container for your Elephant Ear plant are ideal.
• Sunlight: Put near bright sun (south or west window), but not in direct sunlight. This can burn the leaves.
• Ideal temperatures: 60-80 degrees
• Humidity is important: Place plant on a saucer with pebbles and water to create a humid ambiance. (Or you can use a mister)
• Watering: Soil should be maintained evenly moist but not saturated. Water when the soil starts to feel a little dry.
• If your Elephant Ear plant gets too much water, it will let you know by “weeping” or dripping water from the tip of the leaf.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLANTING FROM A BULB:
• Fill large container 3/4 of the way with rich, well-draining potting soil.
• Place the bulb root side down and cover with soil and water.
• The top of the bulb should be at least 1” below the soil.
• Place in a sunny spot indoors and follow the care instructions above.
• Fertilize your elephant ears plant with a general indoor plant fertilizer at half strength 1 x per month.
• Full strength is too strong a dose for a houseplant and may cause rampant growth before it’s ready for it.
• Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth 1 x per week to keep the “plant pores” or “stomata” open.
• Dusty, clogged leaves can lead to a weak plant that will be more susceptible to illness and pests!
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Alocasia, also known as elephant’s ear, has large, beautifully marked leaves. Despite the fact that it’s a sizeable plant, it still look airy and stylised thanks to the tall, smooth stems that grow out of a corm. Those stems can be plain, but can also have tiger stripes, and the foliage is equally remarkable. There is a species with leaves that resemble African masks, one with crinkled leaf edges, and one that is called the skeleton plant because the leaf veins are so clearly marked. The flowering (in the form of a spike) is not particularly impressive with this houseplant. The decorative value lies particularly in the magnificent foliage.
Alocasia is a member of the Arum family, and grows in the tropical rainforests of South-East Asia. It is particularly common on Borneo, and can reach a height of four metres. There are 79 known species. The plant has been cultivated around the Equator as a foodstuff for thousands of years. Decorative plants have been bred from the original versions. These aren’t edible, but they are very beautiful. Alocasia conquered living rooms in the 1950s, and has a great vintage vibe.
What to look for when buying Alocasia
- When buying Alocasia, look particularly at the pot size and the diameter and density of the plant. The visible leaves must be sizeable, whilst the leaf and stem markings must be visible. Alocasia can have either a compact or more transparent growth habit.
- The plant should be free of disease and pests.
- Damaged leaves are usually the result of mistakes during shipping or storage. Alocasia is sensitive to cold. The plant develops spots on the leaves at temperatures below 12-15°C. These can also be caused by scorching as a result of too much sun. It’s important to place a sleeve around the plants in the cold months.
- If Alocasia has yellow leaves, it’s been too wet or too dry. Root or stem rot can occur sometimes. Plants must be free of brown spots and brown leaf edges, often caused by insufficient humidity and/or the potting soil being too dry. This can also cause the plant to droop.
- If the plant has been too dry for a long time, red spider mite can occur, which causes a grey discolouration of the leaves. There are virtually no other pests or diseases present during the sale phase.
Choice of range
Alocasia is best known in the form of the skeleton plant with distinctive leaf veins, Alocasia x amazonia. There are a number of cultivars of this species: the compact ‘Polly’ and the smaller ‘Bambino Arrow’. The leaves of these plants resemble an African mask. Large-leaved species are: A. ‘Calidora’ which has a large green shiny leaves with very thick leaf stems. A. ‘Portadora’ has large green shiny leaves and distinctive rusty ‘spots’ on the stems. A. Lauterbachiana has elongated, wavy leaves of which the stems and the underside of the leaf are coloured red. A. Cucullata has arrow-shaped leaves and a compact green shape. A. ‘California’ has very large leaves and can also cope with somewhat lower temperatures, which makes it suitable for use as a conservatory or container plant. Particularly distinctive displays are offered by A. ‘Black Velvet’ (a silvery white vein in almost black leaves which appear slightly velvety) and A. zebrina with arrow-shaped leaves and a distinctive striped stem.
Care tips for consumers
- Wrap carefully for the journey home during the colder months.
- Alocasia originates from the tropical rainforest, and the plant likes to have those warm, damp conditions in the home as well.
- Light position, but not in full sun in order to prevent leaf scorching.
- A room temperature of 18-22 °C is ideal. The plant certainly shouldn’t get too cold.
- Regularly give water at room temperature, don’t allow the soil to dry out.
- Alocasia enjoys being misted with a plant sprayer, a session in the shower or standing outside during summer rain.
- Give plant food twice a month during the growing season, once a month during the winter rest period.
Sales and display tips for Alocasia
Alocasia brings a tropical mood to the interior, purifies the air and can be used all year round in the home, office, school or public spaces. The plant is also very suitable for use in hydroculture. The large specimens look best on their own in a spacious setting, whilst the smaller can also be used in groups. A simple container is best in order to optimally show the spectacle of the leaves and stems.
Images of Alocasia
You can download and use the images below free of charge crediting Thejoyofplants.co.uk.
You can download the posters using the link below.
Growing Colocasia Inside: How To Grow Elephant Ears Indoors
Elephant ear plants, or Colocasia, are tropical plants grown from tubers or from rooted plants. Elephant ears have very large heart-shaped leaves borne on 2-3 foot petiole or leaf stalks. Colors of the foliage may be anywhere from purplish black, green or green/white variegated.
These impressive ornamental specimens grow outside in sheltered location in USDA zones 8-11. Colocasia is a swamp plant that develops a hardy root system under the water. For this reason, elephant ears make great landscape plants in, around, or near water features in the garden. In the chillier northern areas, elephant ear is treated as an annual wherein the bulbs or tubers of the plant are dug up and stored through the winter and then replanted in the spring.
The plant itself reaches heights of between 3 and 5 feet tall and for this reason is usually grown as an outdoor specimen; however, it is possible to grow elephant ears indoors.
How to Grow Elephant Ears Indoors
When growing Colocasia inside, be sure to choose a fairly large container to pot the plant in. Colocasia can attain a good size, so you will want to be prepared.
Choose a site to situate the indoor elephant ear plant that is in indirect sunlight. Colocasia can tolerate direct sun, but it will tend to sunburn although it may acclimate after a time; it will really do much better in indirect sun.
Growing Colocasia inside requires high humidity. Use a humidifier in the room where you plan on growing Colocasia inside. Also, elephant ear houseplants should be elevated slightly with a layer of rocks or pebbles between the pot and the saucer. This will increase the level of humidity surrounding the indoor elephant ear plant while preventing the roots from coming into contact with the water, which may cause root rot.
Soil choice for growing Colocasia inside is a well-draining, peat-rich medium.
Temperatures for your elephant ear houseplants should be between 65-75 F. (18-24 C.).
Houseplant Care of Colocasia
A fertilization regime every two weeks with a 50 percent diluted 20-10-10 food is an integral part of houseplant care of Colocasia. You may discontinue the fertilization during the winter months to allow the Colocasia to rest. Also, cut back on watering during this time and allow the soil to dry out slightly.
Pots with tubers may be stored in the basement or garage with temps between 45-55 F. (7-13 C.) until the spring growing season and once temperatures have warmed. At that time, propagation via tuber root division may occur.
Flowering of the indoor elephant plant is rare, although when grown outdoors, the plant may bear a small green sheathed yellow-green cone of flowers.
The following varieties of elephant ear make good choices for growing indoors:
- ‘Black Magic’ a 3-5 foot specimen with dark burgundy-black leaves.
- ‘Black Stem’ which as its name suggests has black stems with burgundy-black veins on green foliage.
- ‘Chicago Harlequin’grows 2-5 feet tall with light/dark green foliage.
- ‘Cranberry Taro’ has dark stems and grows 3-4 feet high.
- ‘Green Giant’ has very large green foliage and may get as tall as 5 feet.
- ‘Illustris’ has green foliage marked with black and lime green and is a shorter varietal at 1-3 feet.
- ‘Lime Zinger’ has lovely chartreuse leaves and is quite tall at 5-6 feet.
- ‘Nancy’s Revenge’ is of medium height at 2-5 feet tall with dark green leaves with creamy centers.