How to Get Rid of Elephant Ear Plants


Elephant ears are big and leafy and come from the Caladium family. They originated in sub-tropical and tropical areas but can be commonly found in temperate summer gardens. They grow 3 to 5 feet tall and start out as a tuberous, bulb-like structure. They can be particularly invasive and spread via underground rhizomes. If the time ever comes that you want to get rid of your elephant ears, rest assured that they are easy to remove. It can be done by killing the above top growth and then digging out the tuberous bulb.

Step 1

Spray the elephant ear foliage with a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate. Spray with a hose-end sprayer over all the foliage.

Step 2

Wait for the elephant ear foliage to die back to the ground. You want the herbicide to work its way into the root system before removing the plant. The foliage should take between 2 and 7 days to completely die.

Step 3

Cut off all the foliage once it dies back to the ground. Use a large knife or a pruning shears to cut the foliage.

Step 4

Dig up the tuberous bulb. It will be located directly below the main stem and will vary in size. Discard in the trash.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't spray herbicide on windy days. The overspray can get on desirable plants and kill them.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Hose-end sprayer
  • Garden hose
  • Water source
  • Large knife or pruning shears
  • Shovel


  • Government of South Australia: Using Glyphosate
  • Gardener's Network: How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants
  • Grounds Maintenance: Differences Exist Among Non-Selective Herbicides
Keywords: elephant ear removal, kill elephant ears, non-selective herbicide, hose-end sprayer, tuberous bulb

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.