Elephant Ears or taking their correct name of Alocasia and Colocasia can grow to a magnificent size. Leaves often reach to 2 feet wide, and their foliage can range from nearly black in color to lime green.
It is possible to grow these plants indoors as well as out and are perfect for strategically placed container gardens.
Here you can learn more about planting Elephant Ear bulbs and caring for them until they reach maturity. (Read Best Garden Towers)
Do Elephant Ears Need Sun or Shade?
One other unique thing with Elephant Ear plant sun or shade areas and they will be happy. They are more than happy if they receive a bit of both, so protecting them from the full sun is ideal.
The thing these plants desire more is warm soil, which should be a minimum of 65ºF. If you live in a USDA zone of 9 to 11, you can grow these all year round. For cooler zones, then you plant Elephant Ears in the spring and grow them like annuals.
You often find they are best planted after the last frost, and it will be around June time in more northern climates. Before you transfer them to your garden, you can get a head start on the growing season and plant them indoors around 4 to 6 weeks before moving them outdoors.
How Often Do You Water Elephant Ears
Before watering, you need to get your Elephant Ear plants in soil. Here are the simple instructions on how to do this.
- Loosen the warm soil to a depth of eight inches
- Dig a hole 5-inches in depth
- Place the tuber inside the hole with the pointed end facing upward (The top of the tuber needs to be covered by 1-inch of soil)
- Cover your tuber and water
You may find it can take up to a month for your tubers to show signs of sprouting.
You often find this type of plant in certain areas. Here are some of the common locations gardeners grow their Elephant Ears.
- Decking, patios, and containers: The plants are perfect for areas around your home that don’t receive full sun. Decking, porches, or patios are ideal, as are areas around water gardens to add a tropical plants feeling.
- Fences and Walls: If you plant next to a wall or fence, you can protect the large leaves from high winds and harsh sun. The appearance can break up large flat surfaces and offer some partial shade in the process.
- Entries: Some gardeners take the chance to make a massive statement and place their Elephant Ears by their doorway in large containers.
Unless you are planting elephant ears in containers, you need to give them plenty of space, so plant the corms from two to four feet apart from each other.
The Alocasias or the upright Elephant Ears are the variety most often used for indoor growing. You will see their pointed leaves grow upward. (Learn About The Water Fern)
With watering your plants, make sure you give them between two to three inches of water per week. Besides being heavy drinkers, they are heavy feeders, so you also need to be sure to add fertilizer regularly.
Why are the Leaves on My Elephant Ears Turning Brown?
When growing elephant ear plants, you can see the leaves begin to brown slightly. While this can be from overwatering or underwatering, the issues are most often because of a lack of water.
If your home faces drought conditions, then these are not ideal for these water-loving plants.
You tend to notice the browning on the leaves is magnified because of the leaf size on your elephant ear plants. (Read Growing Cucumbers Vertically)
Another possible cause can be they are receiving too much intense sun. Although they can cope, with extended exposure, it may be getting too much. It is possible to move them to a shaded area for a few days to see if the browning stops or it is a good indication, they are getting too much sun if you are continually watering dry soil.
Why Are the Leaves on My Elephant Ear Plant Turning Yellow?
On occasions when you are growing elephant ear plants, you can see yellowing appear on the leaves.
You have several options here as to what may cause this on your elephant ear plant. Again, it could be the amount of sun or the amount of watering. It could also possibly be a nutrient deficiency, so adding fertilizer through a growing season can be an excellent addition to the soil.
One final thing it can be is your plant is starting to go dormant in readiness for the following season. If this is the case, you can cut back the yellow leaves and wait until the next spring when your elephant ear plant returns.
When your growing season is ending, you can care for your elephant ears plant in a couple of different ways.
If your USDA zone won’t face any frost and the temperatures will remain high enough, You can leave your plants as these temperatures are more akin to their native Southeast Asian environment. (Read Outdoor Fern Care Guide)
In colder zones, you can follow these steps to winterize your plant and then start growing elephant ear plants the next year.
Here are the steps to care for your rhizomes over the winter after the first frost.
- Cut back the foliage on your elephant ear plants
- Dig up the rhizome carefully
- Let these air dry for a couple of days
- Place in an open container full of peat moss, or you can use dry potting soil. Be sure to cover your rhizome lightly
- Store them in a dry area that has contact temperatures of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit
If your plants remain outdoors, you can winterize them by covering the base of your elephant ear plants with anywhere from four to 12 inches of mulch.
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However, when you look at how to take care of elephant ear plants, you find it isn’t too difficult to plant elephant ears, the plant cares for itself most of the time, so long as you water it and care for it over the winter.
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