Ask a Question forum: COLOCASIA turning yellow and losing leaves

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(Zone 9b)
HeartsOfPalm
Aug 31, 2013 1:06 PM CST
HI
Two pics - first (nice & green) when I planted the elephant ear in the late Spring and now, yellow and sad in August. Yellowed wilted leaf stems are mushy too. I lose a few leaves a week.
I water weekly and fertilize with 10-10-10 monthly. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong? I'm in zone 9, the plant gets full sun in sandy soil. Thank you!



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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Aug 31, 2013 1:28 PM CST
My thought would be that it may be getting too much sun. From what I've read they prefer part sun/shade…I could be way off here ( been way off before ) Whistling but that was my initial thought. And in the hot sun and sand, as we have here in Fl….It may be wanting more water?

And welcome to ATP!!!!
[Last edited by terrafirma - Aug 31, 2013 1:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Aug 31, 2013 2:02 PM CST
Welcome! HeartsOfPalm and I agree with terrafirma.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Aug 31, 2013 2:02 PM CST
That was my thought, too. My mom grew them in SoCal, but she always had them on the north side of the house. I've never grown them myself, tho.
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(Zone 9b)
HeartsOfPalm
Sep 1, 2013 8:54 AM CST
http://garden.org/thread/reply/19684/ Thank you all! I was thinking full sun may be the problem too, so I'm going with y'all! Now I will search for a fast growing shade tree to place nearby.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Sep 1, 2013 8:55 AM CST
LOL it might be easier to relocate the plant...... Whistling
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Sep 1, 2013 9:35 AM CST
Or plant an umbrella? Hilarious! Actually, you could put up some sort of temporary shade to see if that helps.
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Sep 1, 2013 9:59 AM CST
I agree it's getting too much sun, and you might want to consider adding organic matter to the sand as well. But I found this which might be helpful:

An elephant ear that is in a climate that is outside and thriving all year will tend to shed its lower leaves during the year and much more in fall. The lower leaves turn yellow and fall off or just droop to the ground.

In an environment where the bulb will go dormant in the winter, this tends to happen as the plant shuts down for the winter. The leaves turn a paler green, then yellow, then bright yellow and droop and fall to the ground.

These leaves can be picked off and disposed of if they are unsightly.

http://www.emilycompost.com/elephant_ear.htm

And in your climate, chances are once it gets some shade, new growth will start right away.

Also, @LariAnn might have an answer, she moderates the Aroids Forum.
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Sep 1, 2013 11:37 AM CST

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HI HeartsOfPalm, welcome to ATP! First off I'm not sure you have a Colocasia there. The upright habit looks like it may be an Alocasia but it's hard to tell, at least for me, without closeups. LariAnn can probably tell from these pics. Either way sandy soils have to be amended with lots of organic matter. Lots of mulch or compost on top are helpful as well. Here in z6a Massachusetts full sun is fine but in z9 much more shade is a must or consistent moisture. Where are you? If your climate is arid you have to water much more frequently. Lower leaves that die-off are normal. By allowing them to dry up the plant reabsorbs nutrients. I sometimes cut them off early just to keep them tidy. Water soluble fertilizers, if that's what you're using, should be added much more frequently when the plant is in active growth.

If you can't move the plant, recommended, dig a trench around it and fill with compost. That may help but I think it will be a loosing battle in the long run.

Edit: I wanted to add that if provided with the proper culture, some enjoy full sun.
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Sep 1, 2013 12:10 PM (+)]
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Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
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LariAnn
Sep 1, 2013 3:45 PM CST
Hearts of Palm, your plant is Alocasia gageana. It is a dwarf grower that does not get dark green leaves. Yours looks to be in decent condition; the suggestions to add organic matter are good but make sure it is fully composted or else it will use up nitrogen in the soil as it decomposes. A light feed with Miracle Gro several times a week can help also. By "light" I mean 1 to 2 tsp per 5 gallons water, not the label rate.

LariAnn
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Name: Cheryl
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ShadyGreenThumb
Sep 1, 2013 6:03 PM CST
Welcome! I agree I am in your same zone. There are not too many things that can survive the heat of our full sun. And yes, it looks like a shade-loving Upright EE/alaocasia. In fact, I just put on in my yard, in the shade. They can get up to 6ft tall.
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(Zone 9b)
HeartsOfPalm
Oct 5, 2013 6:42 AM CST
Wow, thank you all!

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