In this elephant ear plant care article, you’ll learn to understand the features and needs of this amazing plant, especially if you wish to bring your elephant ear plant indoors.
Elephant ear plants are generally divided into two groups, i.e. Colocasia and Alocasia.
They’re commonly grown for their massive, tropical-like foliage that reminds you a lot of elephant ears. Still, when kept indoors, the plant doesn’t grow as it would in its natural habitat.
This is probably a good thing as one leaf may grow two feet in width with stems of five or more feet!
These tropical perennial plants are a genus from the Araceae family that originates from south-east Asia and the subcontinent of India. Xanthosoma is another genus native to tropical America.
It’s a popular indoor plant too because of the tropical atmosphere it brings in almost any home or office.
Even though I wouldn’t describe this plant as easy to care for, elephant ear plant care isn’t too demanding if you provide the right conditions and don’t neglect it.
The plant can be found in several different colors and sizes and growing them isn’t too demanding. Its leaves grow on long and thick succulent petioles that arise directly from the corm underground.
Even though the plant is mostly kept for its foliage, it may also bloom; however, this rarely happens in the Midwest.
When you place it indoors, it won’t just beautify your space, but it’ll help you breathe cleaner air by filtering toxins, allergens, and off-gases.
A lot of these species have been grown for their edible starchy tubers-a pivotal food staple in the tropical regions.
Good to know:
Although their leaves and other parts are edible, the leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that can irritate the skin, so cooking is a must.
As the plant is considered toxic to humans, dogs and cats, make sure you place it out of their reach!
How to Care for an Elephant Ear Plant
If you decide to grow this plant in your home or office, place it where it will receive bright sunlight, but not too strong.
In case you spot bleached or singed leaves, move the plant to a less bright spot or add a sheer curtain.
When moving them outdoors, they’ll thrive in partial shade.
This plant likes warmer temperatures that are similar to their native habitats.
This means it wants it to be between 70 and 85 degrees F in the day and not lower than 60 degrees F at night.
You can also grow them in cooler areas; however, repotting will be required every 2-3 years..
Water & Humidity
This plant likes water and humidity, but not soggy wetness.
Make sure you’ve planted it in a pot with good drainage system. And, before watering, test the soil with your finger. If the soil feels a little dry, water it.
To ensure it gets the humidity it needs, place it in a tray with pebbles and water to avoid the roots from being directly in water, therefore lowering the risk of root rot.
Misting each day is a good idea or install a room humidifier.
The potting soil for this plant should be abundant in organic material and enriched with peat and perlite to hold moisture.
Opt for a well-drained and crumbly loam that has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
This plant wants a lot of feeding.
Fertilize it every 2-3 weeks using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. However, pause during winter so the plant can take a much-needed rest.
The plant should be repotted every few years when the roots are coming out of the drainage holes or when you need to refresh the soil with new nutrients.
When repotting, if you want to increase its size, opt for a 2-inch bigger pot. Otherwise, use the same size.
Remove the plant gently from the pot and clean as much as soil from the roots as possible and place it in fresh soil in the center.
Press down and water it well. The plant will need around 2 to 4 weeks to adjust to the new home.
You can share this plant by division in the spring or summer.
The first step is to remove the plant from the pot and untangle the roots. Divide them using a sharp knife and put each into new fresh soil. Press firmly and water them.
Best Elephant Ear Plant Types
This type of alocasia is the most popular and it grows approximately 2 feet in width and height. It has attractive foliage that will bring a tropical vibe into your space.
This variety features huge ruffled leaves that grow on a purple stem and it can grow up to 6 feet in height.
Colocasia Black Magic
This is an attractive variety because of its vast blue and black foliage. Its flowers are red-orange and its height can range between 3 and 5 feet.
As they age, the plant’s leaves will begin to droop. You can cut them off using a clean blade to reenergize the plant for new growth.
Feel free to cut away damaged leaf edges or discolored sections. Make sure you follow the leaves’ shape and natural lines when doing this.
Wipe away dust from the leaves so that the plant can take in the needed light. A damp cloth will suffice.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: yellow leaf edges
Cause: Problems with light and water
Solution: Do weekly tests of providing more or less light or more or less water to find out if the yellowing stops.
Problem: dark spots on leaves
Cause: Overwatering or poor air flow around the plant.
Solution: Cut off the damaged leaves and apply fungicide- you can make your own mix of 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 tsp mineral oil and 2 cups of water and spray it with it.
Problem: leaves are droopy and bending backwards
Solution: Shower it thoroughly so that the roots can get the needed water. Wait for the plant to drain well before you put it back into the pot.
I hope you’ve found this elephant ear plant care article interesting and helpful.
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