The Care of Elephant Ear Bulbs

Overview

Elephant ears. or taro (Colocasia esculenta, are a herbaceous perennial that grows wild in wetland areas of the tropics. The plant earned its name because of its large green leaves. They make a beautiful addition to almost any garden where lush greenery is desired. Suited best for USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11, you can plant the bulbs in the warmer months and dig the plant up during cooler seasons to protect them from freezing. But don't worry, you can restore them each spring if you care for the bulbs properly.

Step 1

Plant the elephant ear bulbs in an area where you can be certain it has enough room to grow. Since the leaves can reach 6 feet long and 4 feet wide, consider this when selecting a location for the bulb. Wait until the average temperature in your area stays at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit and you are certain the ground will not freeze and damage the bulbs. The soil should have a light acidic content and the location must be partially shaded.

Step 2

Water the planted bulbs heavily. This plant needs a lot of water, so once the bulbs have sprouted, if you notice the leaves drooping or curling, water as soon as possible.

Step 3

Dig up your elephant ear plants once the temperature drops to 45 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the bulbs won't be damaged by the cold. Cut away the leaves and stems from the bulb and allow it to dry overnight in the open air of a warm room.

Step 4

Place the bulbs in a covered container filled with peat moss or sawdust. Leave them in storage in a cool, dry area until ready to plant again in the spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Although some cultures eat elephant ears, do not attempt to do this without proper cooking; otherwise, you risk poisoning.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Covered container

References

  • Floridata: Colocasia Esculenta
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures

Who Can Help

  • Premium Elephant Ears: Ready, Set, Grow
Keywords: elephant ear bulbs, plant bulb care, taro bulb storage

About this Author

Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of "Pickin' Cotton Sure Is Hard Work" in the book "Golden Short Stories Volume 1" for the Dahlonega Book Festival. She has since written a true crime book published in 2010, with contracts for two more. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.