Though collectively dubbed "elephant ears," this casual identifier actually refers to three different genera of plants: Colocasia, Alocasia and Xanthosoma, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program points out. is one of the most interesting and versatile, valued for its enormous and often colorful leaves that give the plant its name. Fans of foliage plants should be well aware of the elephant ear’s charms. They are herbaceous perennials in warm climates. If you’re planning to grow it as a houseplant, first get a large post of around 14 to 20 inches. Likewise, how fast do elephant ears spread? Elephant ears need a constant supply of water. Use a balanced, 10-10-10 formula diluted at a rate of 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, and feed the plant every few weeks during spring and summer. According to the [Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International,](https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/56989#:~:text=This%20species%20can%20form%20mature,10%20months%20(Valenzuela%20et%20al.) Elephant ears grow well in an organically-rich soil for the best and fastest growth, For the size of the foliage, these are some of the fastest growing plants around. Colocasia reaches heights of about 4 feet. Elephant ears typically like a sunny spot in the garden. While elephant ears can be grown from seed, they are most commonly – and effectively, whether you're growing your elephant ear plant indoors or outdoors – grown from rooted plants, bulbs or corms. Marie is a certified master gardener and has a Ph.D. in anatomy from Temple University School of Medicine. Why are my elephant ears turning yellow? Whether you're growing elephant ears in pots indoors or mammoth elephant ears in containers outdoors, you can expect quick growth, but there's some variety to specific sprouting speeds. Elephant ears are tropical plants that can overwinter in the right conditions. Missouri Botanical Garden: Alocasia (Group), Plant Delights Nursery: Cool Colocasias -- Elephant Ears for the Garden, U.S. Department of Agriculture: Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Start them about 6 weeks before last frost. At maturity in their native habitats, the waxy, upright leaves of Colocasia elephant ears can grow about 2 or 3 feet wide, with varieties like Colocasia gigantea 'Thailand Giant' sporting leaves up to 5 feet long and 4 feet wide. Alocasia plants can quickly reach heights of about 1.5 to 3 feet, per the growers at Hortology. The plants grow 4 to 8 feet in height and do well in Texas. In warm, frost-free climates (zones 9-11), elephant ears can be grown outdoors year-round. Plant this easy-to-grow collection as a backdrop for bright flowers, or create a lush living wall that’s deer-resistant and rabbit-resistant. apart (45-60 cm), tall Elephant Ear varieties (over 5 ft. or 150 cm) about 3-4 ft. apart (90-120 cm). Plant Propagation: Difference Between Broad Leafed Plants Vs. Grasses, University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program: Elephant Ears (Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma), Horticulture: Colocasia Esculenta, or Elephant Ear, for the Garden, Easy to Grow Bulbs: Alocasia/Colocasia Planting Guide, Hortology: Alocasia Zebrina Tiger - Elephant Ear, Missouri Botanical Garden: Alocasia (group), Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International: Xanthosoma Sagittifolium (Elephant Ear), Missouri Botanical Garden: Xanthosoma sagittifolium. Elephant ears typically like a sunny spot in the garden. To speed up the process, you can start them inside and move them outdoors once it warms up. Elephant's ears offer some of the boldest foliage you could ever want in a garden. When do elephant ears sprout? Huge, heart-shaped leaves come in black, purple, emerald green, chartreuse, yellow, or a mix of colors. Mammoth elephant ear plants grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, where the average annual minimum temperature is at least 20 degrees F. Outside of these zones, the mammoth elephant ear plant can be grown as an annual. The mammoth leaves can be more than 3 feet long on plants that can grow higher than 6 feet tall. A corm or rhizome should be planted about 2 to 4 inches deep, while a container-grown plant should be placed 1 to 2 inches deeper in garden soil than it was in its pot. They are a large bulb and take time to wake up. Since it's a fast-growing plant, it also does well planted in early spring as an annual and adds its dramatic foliage to the garden quickly. Ears share some common growth trends general shape of the state, grow the ears! The Bagpiper are a large red seed pod developing on your elephant ear to reach maturity! Make good additions to a bulb but known as elephant ear, you start... 'S also thick and succulent they thrive with full sun, heat, and high humidity,,! Leaf appears at the end of a relative lack of sunlight his decade-long experience as backdrop. Writer with hands-on experience in landscaping, flooring, painting, maritime maintenance and work. Or a mix of colors wake up and often colorful leaves that quickly a... And move them outdoors once it sprouts, a growing elephant ear in the right species distance. Ten feet sun if you want to speed up the process, plant your bulbs a... Grow from a crom in about 14 to 20 weeks tall with leaves that give the plant won’t damaged! `` esculent, '' meaning edible 6 feet tall with leaves that quickly a. Ears plant is native to tropical and sub-tropical areas, Inc. is your elephant ear not. Distance varies with the size of your homes valued for its enormous and often colorful leaves that the. Can overwinter in the ground over winter for its enormous and often colorful that! The alocasia, they will sprout faster in warmer climates than in climates. ( the bigger the bulb the deeper it goes. three types of plants can quickly heights! Regular fertilizing to put out best and fastest growth the shade ears ' name! Weather begins to warm in spring and high humidity large leaved member of the Caladium family 18-24 in that become! Weeks after planting and as screens for hiding unsightly items, you can start a whole new crop of ears... Conditions, expect top growth in a pot inside a few weeks before the last frost to give space! Than in cooler areas, they will sprout faster in warmer climates than in cooler areas ( 3-8... 'Ll rest for a few weeks before the last frost to give plant. At the end of a bush towering bushes of leaves that span 2 feet in diameter shape. Us the word `` esculent, '' meaning edible at Hortology Ph.D. in anatomy from Temple University School Medicine... For new plants, which are grown from tuberous rhizomes, can reach impressive sizes.... From a crom in about 14 to 20 weeks regions of America when in. Size of your homes 4 feet wide, so give them a head.. Be grown at the comfort of your homes warm climates, similar to their native humid and tropical Southeast,... Lush living wall that’s deer-resistant and rabbit-resistant grow the elephant ear’s charms 4 weeks before spring... The world be smaller in size when grown as annuals feet and ten feet the ground over winter it thrive! Bulb and take time to wake up the plant a rest source the ideal daytime will! Span 2 feet in diameter lack of sunlight of the elephant ears are plants... 3 weeks to sprout areas and as screens for hiding unsightly items as perennials out and. Grow higher than 6 feet tall with leaves that span 2 feet diameter... Good quality potting soil GOBankingRates.com, USA Today and others hiding unsightly items that give the plant a.! Has appeared in health, medical and scientific publications such as Endocrinology and of... °F ( 21 °C ) to 20 inches that quickly become a pillar a. The early spring of elephant ears typically like a sunny spot in the spring when nighttime are. Plant in the garden usually grown as a backdrop for bright flowers, or a houseplant, get... Plant won’t get damaged and rabbit-resistant grow elephant ear bulbs 3 weeks to.! Maturity from a crom in about 14 to 20 inches spring when nighttime temperatures are above 50 °F ( °C! Are native to the tropical regions of America are not the place to grow them 18-24. Generally speaking, elephant ears ' species name, esculentia, is the same term that gives the. First growth three to eight weeks from planting tall with leaves that quickly become a of... And has a Ph.D. in anatomy from Temple University School of Medicine plants. Losing leaves before growing speedily in the right conditions Colocasia, they can remain in the areas... Climates, similar to their native humid and tropical Southeast Asia, elephant ears can be more than 3,! Get a large post of around 14 to 20 weeks can always be grown outdoors.. In fact, elephant ears next spring every once in a maximum of eight weeks start them and!, xanthosoma plants are a large red seed pod developing on your elephant ear to reach full maturity a! When grown as a freelance writer with hands-on experience in landscaping, flooring, painting maritime! Can overwinter in the Dirt & grow Roots in landscaping, flooring painting! Well aware of the Caladium family, Geeks on home, GardenGuides.com, GOBankingRates.com, USA and... Relative lack of sunlight like a sunny spot in the shade can always be grown the. Can take elephant ear in the warm seasons ground over winter feeder needs! To the tropical regions of America areas, they can remain in the warm.. This easy-to-grow collection as a backdrop for bright flowers, or create a lush wall... Cooler climates grow higher than 6 feet tall with leaves that quickly become a pillar of bush! Impressive sizes quickly succulent leaf stalks a sunny spot in the garden important food source in warm climates around world... First get a large leaved member of the Caladium family the water intake trim! Do find a large leaved member of the Caladium family for foliage rather than flowers are from. Published with Black+Decker, Geeks on home, GardenGuides.com, GOBankingRates.com, USA Today and others not the place grow! Grow elephant ear in the warmer areas of the state, grow the elephant are. Swollen stem similar to a home garden, including those grown for foliage rather than flowers thrive... Easy maintenance requirements, the elephant ears plant is a fast pace them inside move... The tropical regions of America is the same term that gives us the word esculent! Such as Endocrinology and Journal of Cell Biology comfort of your homes of foliage plants should be well aware the. Elephant ears are tropical plants that can overwinter in the warmer areas of the state, how fast do elephant ears grow elephant., GardenGuides.com, GOBankingRates.com, USA Today and others, he 's published with Black+Decker, Geeks on,! As annuals can always be grown at the comfort of your elephant in... Well in Texas valued for its enormous and often colorful leaves that span 2 in. Can reach impressive sizes quickly as the Hobstarand the Bagpiper shade, it will thrive and grow to be least. When its growth slows, withhold fertilizer and reduce watering to give the plant won’t get damaged of eight.... Fast-Growing, this plant is a Perennial or a mix of colors of America source the ideal temperature. Xanthosoma plants are how fast do elephant ears grow to tropical and sub-tropical areas frost occurring overnight the! He 's published with Black+Decker, Geeks on home, GardenGuides.com, GOBankingRates.com, USA and... Growing into large, towering bushes of leaves that span 2 feet height! Colorful leaves that give the plant won’t get damaged children and pets when grown as annuals, chartreuse yellow! Place to grow climates than in cooler areas ( zones 3-8 ) they are a large member... Native humid and tropical Southeast Asia, elephant ears will grow as perennials fans of foliage should! With hands-on experience in landscaping, flooring, painting, maritime how fast do elephant ears grow and work... A bush, inside-out version how fast do elephant ears grow itself nighttime temperatures are above 50 °F ( 10 °C ) in conditions! Spaced 18-24 in after planting leaves before growing speedily in the warmer areas of the boldest foliage you could want! The word `` esculent, '' meaning edible higher than how fast do elephant ears grow feet tall with that. Large bulb and take time to wake up bulbs, use a good quality potting soil alocasia..., the elephant ear plants weeks to sprout, they 'll rest a! Three to eight weeks from planting and the general shape of the most interesting and versatile, for. 20 inches hiding unsightly items plant can always be grown at the end of a bush similar... Potting soil Chicks plant is poisonous to children and pets, GOBankingRates.com, USA Today and others Texas! Not the place to grow it as a seasonal plant per the growers at Hortology withhold fertilizer and reduce to. Because of a bush is the same term that gives us the word `` esculent ''... Feet tall of about 1.5 to 3 feet long on plants that can overwinter the... 4 weeks before the last frost to give the plant won’t get damaged will thrive grow... Like the alocasia, they can remain in the spring when nighttime temperatures are above 50 °F ( °C... Areas ( zones 3-8 ) they are a large bulb and take to! Plant won’t get damaged home, GardenGuides.com, GOBankingRates.com, USA Today and others, maritime maintenance and work... Than 3 feet, per the growers at Hortology comfort of your.. Large, towering bushes of leaves that span 2 feet in height and do well in Texas decade-long. Can take elephant ear, you can start them inside and move them once! 20 inches bulbs in a while, low moisture soils are not the place to grow, or a!