Elephant Ears Coming Soon!
Don’t you love Elephant Ears?
It is time to get the Elephant Ears into the ground if we are to have our beautiful tropical plant this year. I have waited for the ground to warm up, although in some years I have planted them inside and transferred outside after it warms up. Just last week, we had freeze warnings here in Ohio, but now that it is after Mother’s Day, I should be good to go. I need to get things done! These Elephant Ears are simple to plant so I cannot keep putting it off. They go into the ground today. Have you bought any yet? Or did you save some from last season?
I have three large bulbs which are about the size of softballs so I am hoping for a huge plant this year. I am planting them all together in the shade garden near the garage. Lots of maple whirly-gigs right now, but the more I remove those, the more that fall down. I will just pull tiny maple trees when they sprout.
Colocasia is the scientific name for these plants. I have heard these called tubers and also bulbs, so I am not sure which should be used. But since mine are large round balls, I will use the term bulbs.
Here in Ohio, I will have to dig the bulbs up for storage after the frost kills the upper plant in late September or October. I will try that and see if I can do it. I have grown the Elephant Ear before and left it in the ground in a raised bed to see if it would survive. Needless to say, it didn’t. I dug it up in the spring to check it over. It was a big mushy ball about the size of a basketball….truly. But it was pure mush. I could pick chunks out of it with my fingers.
But for this spring, I should have tall stems with huge leaves. The plant gets about 4-5 feet tall and the leaves can be 36″ long, hence the name “elephant ears.” They do resemble the ears on an elephant.
I have planted my EE bulbs in a shady area which drains well. The water comes from runoff from the roof of the house. We have attached a black pipe to the gutter runoff to let the water run through our garden bed there as a rain garden. See the post about rain gardens here. As explained in that post, the impurities are filtered through the garden beds and soil keeping it out of the streams and creeks.
If you have an area in your garden or yard which is wet and damp a lot, you may want to see how Elephant Ears would do there. They thrive in lots of water even as a pond-side plant. You might end up with a real tropical area. Careful if you are in an area that won’t allow the plants to be killed by frost. You could start a spreading nuisance in these warmer zones.
I will keep an eye and watch for my sprouts. I hope to have a large plant by next month. This area has ostrich fern, heuchera, astilbe, and hosta. And I have a few shade hypertufa bowls here too.
I can dream in my tropical paradise.
I love elephant ears! The entire side of my house is lined in them. Here in Atlanta, our warmer weather has allowed them to start earlier than you it sounds like. The leaves on my elephant ears are about a foot off the ground and they are quickly growing.
That sounds nice. Here in Ohio, I can have them outside only during the warm months and they will die in the cold. I bet it is beautiful to have the whole side of the house lined with them.
I love elephant ears too! Your post just reminded me I need to go check on mine and see if they are coming up yet. I didn’t know that they liked lots of water. Thanks for that information. I haven’t ever grown astilbe, but would like to try sometime, but I do have hosta. Some day I won’t to try and make another hypertufa planter, the last one I tried didn’t turn out )-; I use ready mix cement, and I think I needed to use cement without the gravel.
Oh, yes, I have seen them grown next to and in ponds, and I have always heard they need a lot of moisture. Try another hypertufa, but you do need to use the Portland cement. If you use the ReadyMix, it already has a gravel aggregate in it, so it gives you way too much aggregate adding all the rest. But so glad you tried. Check on those E Ears.
That’s good to know about the ground temp. I was wanting to plant some but couldn’t make up my mind about whether I wanted them in pots or in the ground
I did one in a container one year early to get a headstart on the season. Wow, was it big and so root-y ( is that a word?) when I transplanted it.