Growing Elephant Ears

Colocasias and Alocasias can grow to a mature size very quickly. Customers frequently tell us amazing tales, such as a baobab tree that grew five feet in ten months or a banana that grew as tall as the house in just three, so we wanted to see for ourselves, by keeping track of an elephant ear's growth.

We grew this plant from the small size on the right to the large size on the left in about 6 weeks from early May to June 14th 2012. The longest leaf is 21 inches long.

1. Although plants can go directly into the ground at the smallest stage, we recommend starting them in a larger pot (this will significantly reduce shock). The small plant in the picture was first planted in a "gallon" size pot. After three weeks, roots were growing out the bottom so we transferred it to this "three gallon" size pot. It has been in the three gallon pot for three weeks. Roots are already coming out of the pot. (The roots can just be pulled off, but make sure the plant gets plenty of water.)
2. Soil. Average potting soil that comes in a bag though, we recommend one without added fertilizers.
3. Water. Alocasias prefer well draining soil, but colocasias can be grown quite well in standing water. This plant was not grown in water but it was thoroughly watered almost every day.
4. Fertilizer. Colocasias are heavy feeders. This plant received a watering with liquid fertilizer or water soluble fertilizer once or twice a week (we use our Elephant Ear Fuel).
5. Temperatures during this time period fluctuated between 70 - 95 F. (Ideal temperatures are 70-75 in summer for alocasias, 70-85 for colocasias, and 60-65 in winter for both alocasias and colocasias.)
6. Light. Full sun for about four hours. Filtered shade to quite shady the rest of the day. (Ideally colocasias prefer bright light throughout the day. They can tolerate full sun if they have plenty of water. Most alocasias do not like full sun, preferring even low light.)

If your conditions are not favorable, such as the temperature is too cold, reduce watering and fertilizing.