Elephant Ears (Mammoth) (Colocasia Esculenta)

498 in stock

    • 45 $


Quick Overview

MAMMOTH ELEPHANT EAR – Colocasia esculenta

FULL SUN Possibly originally native to Malaysia, the Mammoth Elephant Ear progressed rapidly to the tropical regions of South and Central America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Polynesia. They have been a part of American and European gardens since the mid-1800s when Victorians began to show them in their newly constructed conservatories. The largest of the Colocasias, the plants reach a height of 6-8 ft. The enormous leaves can grow to 2 ft. by 3 ft.

In Hardiness Zones 4-6, start roots indoors in April and transplant outside when the nighttime temperatures reach 55 degrees. In Hardiness Zones 7 and higher, roots can be started outside when the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Plant the roots in organically rich soil amended with bone meal. Keep the soil moist, but do not allow the roots to stand in water. Caladiums thrive in containers – 1 root per 8 in. diameter pot.

In Zones 4-6, the roots need to be lifted when the nighttime temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Roots should be stored in a cool, dry, dark area. In Zones 7 and higher, roots can be left in the ground after the plant dies back, if heavily mulched.

Type Spacing Planting Depth Days to Germination Maturity
Elephant Ear 3-4 ft. 6 in. 21+ 60

Elephant Ears (Mammoth) (Colocasia Esculenta)

The Elephant Ears that are commercially available today belong to two distinct genus: Alocasia and Colocasia. They are members of a large family of generally tropical plants which include Caladiums, Calla Lilies, and Philodendrons. The Elephant Ears are most closely related to Caladiums.
The plants are similar, but not identical, in color, shape, size and planting requirements. The Alocasia are commonly referred to as upright elephant ears because their giant stems grow straight up with the tips of their leaves pointing towards the sky. Generally, they are larger plants than the Colocasias, reaching heights of 8-12 feet. The Colocasias have graceful arching stems with the tips of the leaves pointing towards the ground. These plants generally reach a height of 6-10 feet.

Alocasia odora is native to India and Malaysia. It is slightly smaller (6-8 ft.) than Alocasia portora. Alocasia portora is an American hybrid developed in the 1980s by LariAnn Garner, Director of Aroidia Research in Florida City, Florida. Colocasias were probably indigenous to Malaysia, but have spread around the globe in tropical regions. Colocasia esculenta is now considered to be native to Hawaii and Fiji.
All Elephant Ears grow best when nighttime temperatures are at least 70 degrees Farenheit. They require a rich, heavily organic soil, high nitrogen fertilizer and frequent watering. They can be grown in large (Minimum 18 in. diameter) containers is they are heavily watered and fertilized.

They are considered tropical herbs, because their roots are edible. The Colocasia esculenta roots are known as taro, an important food crop in Hawaii and Polynesia from which Poi is made. The Japanese prepare and eat the Colocasia roots like potatoes.

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