The elephant ear (Alocasia) is a member of the Araceae family. It is a very large-leaved plant from Asia that can be found in many parts of the world, especially in regions with warm climates, between sun and shade. It is a great variety for indoor and outdoor areas. Learn all about how to plant an elephant ear bulb step by step.
Formerly, the elephant ear was known as Colocasia, a term used to identify the genus to which it belongs. However, it was later renamed Alocasia, encompassing many varieties of the plant.
Characteristics Of the Elephant Ear
As mentioned at the beginning, the elephant ear has large leaves. They are so wide that they can reach five feet (meter and a half) in length. They have a wide base that tapers towards the tip, like a triangle. Most of them are green (some more intense than others), and some show purple or bronze flashes, with nerves protruding from them.
This plant has an elongated, porous, and subway stem, which is its main organ. The roots are at the bottom and the buds at the top. Both leaves and flowers sprout directly from it.
Elephant ear rarely flowers. It is usually called flower to the cane that is born at the base of the leaf, which is whitish. Surrounding it are spathes, which act as protective shields.
The light-colored rod is the true flower of the elephant ear, which is known as the spadix. At the top of this rod, the male flowers with stamens develop, in the center the sterile ones, and at the bottom the female flowers.
How to Plant an Elephant Ear Bulb Step by Step
Plant elephant ear bulb is easy. These plants prefer soil rich in organic matter and moisture, they can be grown in full sun but partial shade is best. Bulbs can be placed directly outdoors once the threat of frost has ceased in your area. Plant elephant ear bulbs 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) deep.
It is also acceptable to plant elephant ear bulbs indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date. When growing in pots use soil rich in organic matter.
In consideration of the fact that the plant has large leaves, these should be washed periodically, simply with water under the shower or if this is not easily possible, with a wet soft cloth. Never use foliar cleaners that are harmful to the plant because they clog the pores and impede respiration.
If you still don’t have elephant ear bulbs to plant in your home, here are the best elephant ear bulbs.
Elephant Ear Care
Ideally, the bush should be in a warm environment, around 75°F (24° Celsius), so that its leaves remain green and do not burn. It should not receive direct sunlight, because it gets damaged.
Due to the size of its leaves, it is recommended that the elephant ear be located in large spaces, where there are no limits to its expansion, nor should it grow in only one direction.
The plant needs to be in an environment where the breeze circulates, but not exaggerated air currents, as its branches could break.
To clean the leaves of the elephant’s ear, it is enough to pour natural water on them or to wipe them with a cloth moistened with water and clean. It is not advisable to use chemical products.
It is important to know that the elephant ear can be repotted every two or three years to a larger pot so that it can expand and look more splendid. Transplanting of elephant ears should be done at the end of winter. With the arrival of spring, it is revitalized.
Repotting Elephant Ear Plant
Repotting elephant ears is usually carried out every two or three years, towards the end of February, before the vegetative restart, choosing a pot slightly larger than the previous one.
The plants are not particularly demanding with the soil. A good leaf soil is sufficient, with a little peat and with the addition of some sand to facilitate the drainage of the irrigation water.
It is important to remember to place pieces of terracotta on the bottom of the pot to facilitate the drainage of excess irrigation water. If the plant is grown in the ground, be careful not to place it in a depression in the soil where the water could stagnate.
Fertilizing Elephant Ears
Fertilize only during full vegetative activity, i.e. from spring and throughout the summer, every 3/4 weeks by diluting the fertilizer in the irrigation water.
Use a fertilizer equally balanced in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and that also includes microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all-important for correct and balanced growth of the plant.
Reduce the doses slightly concerning what is indicated on the product.
Pests Elephant Ear
The elephant ear is rarely affected by pests or diseases. What owners should be careful of is not to touch the sap that comes out of the stems once they are cut. This irritates the skin and eyes.
When their leaves wither or turn yellowish, it is because something is affecting them. It may be a lack of moisture. Also, watering them too little can cause their stems to weaken and droop.
If the elephant ear leaf has unusual spots, it may have been affected by mealybugs. To remove it, wipe it with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol or wash it with soap and water.
We hope that this article on how to plant an elephant ear bulb will be of great help and soon you will have your plant in full growth.