Elephant ears are tropical perennials that are grown for their multicolored, spectacularly large leaves. The leaves can grow nearly as large as a real elephant's ear. Because they're tropical, the roots must be dug up and stored in a frost-free area over winter.
Pick a location for elephant ear that is in full sun with lots of humidity. The soil should be rich, moist and full of organic matter. Elephant ears love lots of moisture as long as water does not stand in the area after a rainfall.
Improve the soil. Put a 2-inch layer of compost and a 4-inch layer of peat moss on the surface of the soil. Turn over the soil with a garden shovel to incorporate the amendments into it. Rake the area smooth after digging.
Dig a shallow hole about 2 to 3 inches deep. Set the tuber of elephant ear into the hole with the smooth end down. Backfill the planting hole with soil and firm the surface with your hands.
Water in the newly planted elephant ear tubers using a hand watering can. Provide elephant ear with the equivalent of 1 to 2 inches of rainfall per week.
Mulch the planting bed with a 4- to 6-inch layer of organic mulch. Apply shredded bark, wood chips or buckwheat hulls.
Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer that is mixed with water before applying. Follow the manufacturer's recommended application rates.
Dig up tubers in fall when the foliage dies down. Store the tubers in a plastic bag with holes punched in it and filled with damp peat moss. Place the bags in a frost-free location that is cooler than room temperature, such as an unheated interior closet or a heated basement---about 55 to 65 degrees.