What is an Elephant Ear Plant? (Introduction)

Elephant ear is the commonly touted name for a set of tropical perennial plants. The most distinctive quality of these plants lies in their massive, heart-shaped leaves. These plants grow abundantly in Asian, Indonesian, and Malaysian countries.

You will also find them in some areas of the Pacific Islands and Australia. That said, how big do these plants get and how much sun do they need? Can we grow Elephant Ear Plants at home? Well, these are some of the many queries we will address throughout this article. 

Elephant Ear Plant
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How Big do Elephant Ear Plants Grow?

Elephant Ear Plants can assume a lofty height of up to 8 feet or 2.4 meters if you plant them in a Tropical region. In other regions, however, it will only grow 2 to three 3 feet.

This is a massive outdoor plant with a bunch of thick leaves and a spongy area for the stalk. In a tropical region, its heart-shaped plants can grow up to 5 feet with a width of around 2 to 3 feet.

While growing these plants, you should make sure that the soil condition is both damp and moist as similar to tropical rainforests. These plants will thrive best under consistent water supply. In terms of soil quality, a tad acidic bit of soil will work.

However, you also need to line it up with the most vital nutrients for the best results.

Do Elephant Ear Plants Plant Flowers?

While the Elephant Ear Plants are primarily grown for their foliage, they might bloom in certain instances. With that said, one should note that flowers in Elephant Ear plants aren’t as common in the Midwestern regions.

Here, the inflorescent variants are the typical aroid kind of plants with a whitish or light yellowish spathe surrounding their interior lining.

The flowers can get large, fragrant, and striking (in terms of appearance). However, in most cases, they are hidden under the foliage. The Elephant Ear plant may also bear fruits in some instances. These fruits are either greenish or yellowish with multiple seeds. 

Do Elephant Ear Plants Need a Lot of Water?

The Elephant ear plant enjoys moisture. They thrive best in an environment that has plenty of access to water. For optimal growth, these plants require moist and organic soil, and the requirement holds true even during the warmer months.

That is why, if you live in a tropical region, it is important to water the plant more than once a day (especially during the summer months).

The amount and frequency of watering may be decreased in winter because, during these times, they do not require much water like several other times throughout the year. While caring for these plants, always look out for the visible signs of drought and increase the level of watering accordingly.

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The most common signs of drought-stress include limping or almost withering leaves. To avoid this situation, you can also line the plant with water beads. But even in instances like this, it is important to check the plant from time to time to check if it is getting adequate water.

How Much Sun Does an Elephant Ear Plant Need?

Elephant Ear plants thrive best in areas that receive complete or partial shade. The requirement for sunlight, however, entirely depends on the area where you’ve planted it, the overall weather condition, and the kind of water supply.

In several cool and moist areas, the full sun doesn’t tend to be as harsh or hot as compared to the dry areas. That is why; a significant amount of filtered sun is preferable for these plants while they are both indoors and outdoors.

Note that the growth of Elephant Ear plants may be significantly affected if they do not get ample sunlight. In these instances, their leaves will take a yellowish or pale orange hue.

So, if you find the leaves of your Elephant Ear plants taking up a similar shade, consider moving them to a more well-lit area or any other area where they receive ample sunlight.

Here, you should also ensure that plant gets adequate and not excessive sunlight as excessive sunlight is likely to burn the leaves of the plant. You can always tweak your garden by moving the plant in a position where they get both shade and sunlight.

How Tall Does an Elephant Ear Plant Grow?

The Elephant Ear Plant can be as tall as six inches to 8 feet depending on the environment and external conditions. Its spread usually extends up to 2 feet.

How to Plant Elephant Ears in a Pond?

Take around 3 to 7 stalks of an Elephant ear plant from a mature plant. Now dig 8 to 10 inches of soil in your pond and plant the Elephant year.

Growing the plant in ponds is quite simple and since the pond ensures a consistent supply of water, you won’t need to worry about that either. If, however, you have a small pond that cannot accommodate a large Elephant Ear plant, consider growing it on large land or a big container/pot.

How to Plant Elephant Ears in a Pot?

When it comes to growing Elephant Ear Plants in a pot, standard potting soil is sufficient for the task. While planting, make sure the basal area of the stalks receives plenty of proper soil.

You should also leave around 1 to 1 and a half inches between the soil up to the upper area of the pot for quick and hassle-free watering. The container should be placed completely under the sun or in an area where it gets partial shade.

For quick growth, consider fertilizing the soil with around half a teaspoon of water-soluble fertilizer diluted with one 1 and a half-gallon of water.

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You should ideally fertilize the plant every three to five weeks.  The plant requires plenty of moisture and you should, therefore, water it every day to keep the soil damp. Since it doesn’t suffer from pest or disease-related issues, the overall maintenance requirements are minimal.

How to Plant Elephant Ears Indoors?

Given the easy maintenance requirements, the Elephant ear plant can always be grown at the comfort of your homes. If you’re planning to grow it as a houseplant, first get a large post of around 14 to 20 inches.

Now fill, around 75% of this pot with any simple and lightweight soil mix, and then gently transfer the plant in it. Make sure the bulb of the plant is positioned in a way so that the root gets enough soil. More so, it should be planted at least 8 to 9 inches deep in the soil.

While keeping the pot indoors, try positioning it in any bright spot. If you do not find any, make sure it grows in an area where it has access to moderate levels of indoor light. If the plant is kept near the windowsill and you find its leaves bleaching the color or discoloring around the edges, consider moving it to a relatively dimmer area.

Avoid overwatering the plant and do not use heavy potting soil either. If you aren’t using a pot lined with holes, make sure you do not overwater the plant; else the soil might get soggy.

If you are using a pot with holes, consider keeping a small saucer under the pot, so that the water doesn’t line up your carpet. The rule of thumb is to keep the soil damp and not allow it to go soggy.

While growing the plant indoors, you will notice that it will try assuming a dormant position during the closure of the growing season. The same applies when the plant is growing in its natural habitat.

Here, it dies and continues to rest for a few months before commencing a new cycle. So, if you do notice certain traces of dormancy, do not be intimidated. This is the natural course of growth and the plant will assume full growth after a couple of weeks.

If you do notice your indoor plant dying back, simply snap off the dead leaves and do not water it anymore. Allow the plant to rest for around 8 to 12 weeks after which you can start watering it once again.

This new watering regime will trigger growth in it. At this point, you can even consider repotting the plant in fresh soil or segregating the bulb if it gets to unnecessarily big for your pot.

As previously mentioned, fertilize it at least once or twice a month with a well-balanced fertilizer. This will spur growth in your plant.

Best Place to Plant Elephant Ears Outside?

Ideally, you should plant the Elephant ear Plant outside only when the dangers of frost have completely subsided and the temperature during the daytime is more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the Elephant ear is a tropical plant, it won’t withstand frost and will only evolve when the soil is adequately warm. 

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When it comes to the location, you can choose any spot that gets full or partial shade. The soil should be rich, moist, and ideally, organic. Prepare a soil bed by digging up to 8 inches. After this, level up the soil to get rid of the traces of stones and grass.

If you’re growing the Elephant Ear plant outside, consider lining it up with plenty of organic matter. Compost is a top choice here. It is wonderfully organic with just the right balance of pH and nutrients.

You can use Compost any time while planting the Elephant Ear soil. If you cannot find compost, dress the soil with around one to two inches of organic mulch. This will break the compost down and pave the way for the plant’s growth. You should plant the bulbs of the Elephant Ear at a distance of at least 2 to 4 inches.

How Fast do Elephant Ears Grow?

Elephant Ears take around 3 weeks for growing roots. After this point, you will witness small shoots growing above the soil. While planting the bulbs always remember that the bottom area with the circular pattern is the actual top.

So, if you’ve ever been in doubt about which end should be up, consider planting the bulbs on their sides and it’ll immediately send the green shoots up and the roots down.

Is Elephant Ear Plant Poisonous?

Elephant Ear plants may be poisonous if you ingest them in large quantities. The leaves and the stems of these plants are lined with oxalic acid that might lead to a range of ailments in kids and pets.

However, if you boil these leaves and cook them, the toxins will be rendered harmless. That is also the reason why people of several cultures have consumed it for years.

Bottom Line

Now that you know everything about Elephant ear Plants, consider growing them at home. Since we also covered the guidelines to consider while caring for these plants, maintaining them will be simple and absolutely hassle-free.

References:

Elephant ear plant basics

Elephant Ear Plant Sunlight Requirements

Elephant ear Plant water requirements

Is elephant ear Plant poisonous

Elephant Ear Plant
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