The Q&A Archives: Growing Elephant Ears

Question: Can you give me some instructions for planting elephant ear bulbs? Will I have to dig them up in the fall and store them till next year? I live on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Answer: It can be difficult to tell which end is up on the bulb. Look at the tuber; one end should have a little more "hairiness" to it; plant the bulb with that end pointing down. Also, one end may be slightly more tapered/pointy; that end should face up. Plant so there's about 4-inches of soil over the top of the tuber. (If you're still not sure which end is up, plant the bulb on its side.)

Elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta) need protection from freezing weather. The plants grow best in a site that is situated in partial shade to full shade with good drainage. They do like a steady supply of water during the summer to grow those gigantic ears, just make sure the soil doesn't stay wet. Be sure to dig the tubers up four weeks before the last frost and store over the winter in a cool, dark, dry location (garage, crawlspace, toolshed, etc.)

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