Taro or Dasheen - Knowledgebase Question

Tampa, FL
Avatar for Sreepally
Question by Sreepally
January 15, 1998
What is "Taro"?. It is highly recommended in Hawaiian diet, especially "moi, and Lehoi" name brands. Is it a vegetable or bulb that we can grow in Tampa, Florida?. If it is available in our area? If it is I would like to grow it in my garden.

Answer from NGA
January 15, 1998
Taro is a large tropical Asiatic plant (Colocasia esculenta)
with large shield-shaped leaves, a relative of the ornamental elephant's ear. It is cultivated for its edible corms that are the source of poi.

The plant requires a long (7-month), frostfree growing season, high humidity, and deep, fertile soil. Plant two to three weeks before the last expected frost, or start indoors. The soil needs to be kept constantly moist, but not waterlogged.
I could not find a mail-order source for taro. If you can find it fresh at a vegetable stand, you might just be able to plant it as is. Try contacting the following companies; they may be able to direct you:

The Banana Tree, 715 Northampton St., Easton, PA 18042, ph# 610-253-9589

Brudy's Exotics, ph# 800-926-7333, web site: www.brudys-exotics.com

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