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Elephant Ear

Elephant Ear​​


  • Common name: Elephant ear, Taro
  • Scientific name: Colocasia, species include Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia gigantea
  • Family name: Araceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Height: Varies between species; most are between 3 ft and 5 ft tall, with the shortest being Colocasia heterochroma at 8 inches tall and the tallest being Colocasia gigantea which can grow up to 9 ft tall
  • Width: Varies between species, usually 1 to 3 ft wide
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: 8-12
  • Light needs: Sun to Partial Shade
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers very moist soil – clay, loam, or sand; acidic to neutral (pH 6.1-7.5)
  • Moisture: High moisture requirements – needs consistently moist soil and is very humidity tolerant.
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: Very disease resistant – spider mites, aphids, and white flies may pose a minor threat
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in very moist soil with high organic matter content. Best grown in a sunny or partially sunny area. Their high moisture needs make them suitable for bogs and water gardens. Should be fertilized regularly for best growth.
  • Characteristics: Their characteristic leaves are huge, heart-shaped, and rich bluish-green in color. Stems are thick yet flexible, smooth, and bear one leaf at the end of each stem. Inflorescence vary between species, but tend to oblong and pointed with a single yellow leaf that wraps around the flower-bearing spadix. In many species, their corms are harvested and eaten and are known by many names such as taro or arbi.
  • Propagation: By dividing corms or by offsets
  • Wildlife: Colocasia species are sometimes used as food plants by Lepidoptera larvae, such as Palpifer murinus.
  • Facts: Their common name comes from the shape of the shape of their leaves, which is reminiscent of an Elephant’s ear. The corms of several Colocasia species are staple foods in many areas. The edible corms are rich in carbohydrates and protein as well as iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Colocasia species are very historically significant, and art of their leaves has been found in mosaics as far back as in the time of the Byzantine Empire.
  • Designer considerations: Great for moist, humid areas, such as near ponds or boggy areas, as a specimen planting or mass planting. Their tropical look makes them a great focal point.


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