The Q&A Archives: Elephant's Ears In Containers

Question: How and when do you plant elephant ear bulbs in containers in Oklahoma? What size container do they need? What exposure do they need (it will be kept outside) and what kind of care? Also, don't they have to be brought in in the Fall?

Answer: Colocasia esculenta, also known as Elephant's Ear, is native to tropical Asia and Polynesia, where it grows to six feet in height. The roots are harvested and eaten by people in Hawaii and those of Pacific Island descent. Colocasia is a perennial plant but the leaves die down in the winter and the tuber must be stored until spring, when it can be planted again. You can put yours into large (3-5 gallon) containers in regular potting soil, and set them in a shady spot protected from strong winds. Colocasia's need abundant water and fertilizer; feed a diluted liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season.

When frost is imminent, bring the plants indoors and put in a cool basement. As the foliage dries, pull it off to prevent rotting. There is no need to water or do anything to the plant until ready to put it out again next year. Bring it up, remove the top inch of potting soil and replace it with new soil. Begin watering and you will soon see leaves!

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