IntroductionElephant Ear is a descriptive name given to a variety of tropical rainforest plants including alocasia, remusatia, and xanthosoma that are often found for sale year round. The list of species of Elephant Ear plants contains over 3,000 plants. The reason why they are such popular plants to buy is because they are very easy to grow and will bloom for almost half of the year. Although this plant makes a great landscaping plant, the rainforest tropics and sub-tropics are where this type of plant grows best. These plants have been cultivated for thousands of years near the equator, but no one knows for sure where they originated. People who used elephant ears as crop food knew that what makes this plant valuable is the fact that the entire plant is edible when properly cooked. Kids and pets should be kept away from Elephant Ears because they can be poisonous, unless cooked. More interesting information on the elephant ear plants can be found in the lists below, including soil requirements for growing and planting bulbs.
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Elephant Ear Plant General Facts
- People first grew Elephant Ear plants in Indonesia, India, China, South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and around the Mediterranean Sea.
- In colder winter months, the Elephant Ear will go into a dormant state and the leaves will die, only to return in more abundance in the spring.
- Elephant Ear plants produce a sap containing calcium oxalate, which can be irritating if it comes into direct contact with the skin.
- Elephant Ear stalks are used as a Vietnamese herb which is first peeled and then cut. It is a popular addition to stir-frys and soups.
Elephant Ear Plant Descriptive Facts
- In tropical conditions, where Elephant Ear plants thrive, the leaves which are heart-shaped, can reach up to 5 feet long (1.5 meters) and 3 feet wide (.9 meters).
- The Elephant Ear plant itself can grow up to 8 feet tall (2.4 meters) in a tropical climate but 2-3 feet (.6-.9 meters) is common in more northern conditions.
- This plant is a large outdoor evergreen with thick, green leaves and a thick, spongy stalk.
Elephant Ear Plant Care Facts
- Elephant Ear plants are well-suited for the damp, moist conditions of tropical rainforest. They thrive on a constant water supply.
- Soil for Elephant Ears should be normal to slightly acidic and full of nutrients for best results.
- Elephant ears require partial shade, good drainage and a warm temperature.
- New Elephant Ear bulbs and plants should not be planted outside if there is still a chance of frost. The optimal temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.22 Celsius) or above.
- As is the case with many plants, the older leaves of the Elephant Ear plant should be pulled off to allow the new leaves to grow.
- If they are not treated as an annual, the underground stem, or corm of the Elephant Ear plant, should be dug up in colder months, stored somewhere warm and then replanted in the spring.
- For optimal results, this plant should be fertilized with a general purpose fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium at least once every month.