Elephant ear plants are called such because of their leaves that are big and heart-like in shape. But other than their leaves, elephant ear plants, also called taro, are also known for their edible corms (roots). Elephant ear plants are wetland plants, meaning they thrive in moist soil in the wild. But although they commonly grow in the wild, elephant ear plants are manageable to grow at home and are easy to care for. Here’s how to take care of them.
- Give them enough space. Elephant ear plants can grow as tall as six feet and the leaves can be as wide as two to three feet. This is why it is important that you have a big enough space for elephant ear plants. If you plan to keep the elephant ear plants together with some of your plants, you have to allot a space for them at least three to five feet in size.
- Water the elephant ear plants regularly. Because they are wetland plants, elephant ear plants require more water than others. Watering at least once everyday will meet the water requirements of the plants. Especially if the elephant ear plants receive full sun, keeping the soil always moist is important. You will know if the plants don’t receive ample water when their leaves start to wilt. If this happens, immediately water the plants.
- Let them receive a good amount of sun. Although elephant ear plants can tolerate full sun, they generally require partial shade. Keep this in mind when you are finding a good location to plant the elephant ears or when you are situating potted elephant ear plants.
- Have the plants fertilized. For them to grow abundantly, elephant ear plants have to be weekly fertilized. Fertilizer should be liquid in form and have high nitrogen content. When fertilizing your elephant ear plants, always read the fertilizer label. Find out how much fertilizer the plants can tolerate and the specific fertilizing process. Applying too much may put your plants at risk.
- Prune your elephant ear plants. Pruning the plants is usually centered on controlling new growths. Keep in mind that elephant ear plants grow quite fast, with new leaves sprouting from old leaves. If the old leaves begin to wilt and die, cut them off. This is to allow the new leaves to grow unhampered. You can also cut off more leaves to achieve your desired plant size.
- Keep them indoors during winter. Elephant ear plants can be over-wintered, so it is wise to keep them indoors during the cold season. Prepare them for the indoor setting by digging up the tubers, each should have a corm, and letting them dry. Drying them first before storage prevents the development of mold and bacteria. After they have dried up, store them in a container with soil, peat most, sawdust, and other like materials. Then store them in a cool, dry area. Bring them out and replant in the spring.
While in storage, make sure the tubers or comers are neither drying nor rotting. Pay them extra attention and keep the soil always moist. If the elephant ears are properly cared for, they are likely to grow fast after dormancy.