PlantsElephant Ears (Colocasia)→Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Elephant Ear
Give a thumbs up Taro
Give a thumbs up Kalo
Give a thumbs up Dasheen
Give a thumbs up Elephant's Ear

Botanical names:
Colocasia esculenta Accepted
Colocasia esculenta var. esculenta Synonym
Colocasia antiquorum Synonym
Colocasia euchlora Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Plant Height: 3 to 6 feet (.9-1.8m)
Plant Spread: 3 to 6 feet (.9-1.8m)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: To around 3' long.
Fruit: Other: Green
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: Yellow to yellow-white spathe.
Bloom Size: 6"-12"
Flower Time: Other: Seasonal
Underground structures: Tuber
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Water gardens
Vegetable
Will Naturalize
Eating Methods: Cooked
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Toxicity: Other: All parts of plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, an irritant to the mouth and esophagus. Toxic to cats and dogs.
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: Remove seed from berry which contains chemicals that inhibit germination.
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Stolons and runners
Offsets
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Miscellaneous: Goes Dormant
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Full sun, they'll get to 6' before frost. NoID cannonball type ak

The Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP MembersThe Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP Members
By dave on March 15, 2014

Here's a report of the most popular water garden plants from our database!

(Full article14 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Dec 7, 2011 6:56 PM

In the 5 month growing season here the largest tubers of the type I have produce 6'+H plants with leaves around 3'L. I plant in late May and lift after the frost has knocked them down (usually mid-October). They do fine in full sun to part shade but do best with lots of water. The newer leaves seem to have more marbling in part sun/shade. I also don't believe you can feed them too much. Easy to store dry over winter while dormant.

As C. esculenta produce many roots from the top of the tuber a good "growing medium/compost/mulch" on top of the soil is very beneficial. I use my own compost. New tubers and stolons also produce roots (which can be much closer to the soil surface). These roots tend to spread out just below the surface. I dig a depression ~2' in diameter and 2" deep. Plant the tuber ~2" below the soil level and overfill the depression with ~3 to 4" of "growing medium/compost/mulch". This helps keep the roots cool and moist and gives them a good medium to grow in. Sometimes I'll mound more compost around the petioles later in the season. When I don't dig a depression I plant deeper and mound compost ~2-3" deep above the tuber.

A native of SE Asia, Taro is reported to have been cultivated for thousands of years and is now cultivated worldwide as a food crop. The tubers, petioles and inflorescence are eaten as a vegetable and the tubers are used in traditional medicine. Some varieties are considered invasive in the American southeast.

Growers in zone 8 and higher report the best results when grown in bright or dappled shade.

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Posted by sallyg (central Maryland) on Oct 16, 2018 4:59 PM

I bought a grocery store edo/eddo and grew it into a potted plant. That variety seems smaller in size/stature than some. It grew to about 3 feet tall. First winter, I guess I kept it growing in the basement. Second summer, it grew well but on pulling it, I found no tuber left, only two tiny new tubers offsetting from the two stems. I potted the tiny tubers to keep growing but discarded the tops.

This summer, I was given a bulb of "giant" elephant ear. Also potted, it grew four+ feet tall stems and larger leaves than the edo.

It can be a challenge keeping these watered in a pot. I used large saucers underneath the pots to hold more water.

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Posted by janelp_lee (Toronto, Ontario - Zone 6a) on Feb 26, 2021 2:52 PM

To those gardeners who love to grow this plant, you can go to your local Asian supermarket to get the large taro bulb. They cost about $4-$5 dollars each. Each bulb is about 2+ to 3+ pounds in weight. You can cut the peel (keep the peel thick for propagation use) and cook the flesh in rice soup or in sweet syrup as dessert. The small bumps on the thick peel will grow into a small plant if planted in moist soil and kept in warm location. If not eating the flesh, just keep the bulb planted and it will grow several plants soon. If you purchase a bulb from garden center/nurseries, the price usually will be around $10 for a fist-sized bulb.

This plant has many different varieties. If you are growing for possible eating, be sure you like them before you grow them since some of them can be quite large. The large ones make an amazing statement in planters.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
That looks weird... by Swayback Sep 29, 2013 6:47 PM 0
Cupped leaves by eclayne Jul 7, 2014 6:33 AM 2
Thriving on neglect by psa Sep 11, 2020 5:49 AM 2
Purple flower that does not attract bees by newgardenerSD Sep 1, 2020 4:32 PM 3
Growing Aroids in 8b? by cupbeep Aug 11, 2020 10:24 AM 5
Type of Elephant ears plant I have by waavman Jul 17, 2020 8:31 AM 8
Identify my plant???? by Cajun1 May 29, 2020 1:21 PM 10
"The X-Plants", The beast yet beauty by tofitropic Jun 23, 2020 7:12 PM 18
Unknown alocasia by florange Apr 23, 2020 6:22 PM 14
Aroid of the Day: Alocasia cuprea K. Koch by Gina1960 Sep 29, 2020 5:53 AM 48
Show your pretty variegated foliage! by plantladylin Nov 27, 2019 3:40 AM 137
name of plant by Dianaaam Sep 3, 2019 12:21 PM 2

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