How to Plant an Elephant Ear Bulb


Large and leafy, elephant ears are a striking addition to your plant or garden. As the name suggests, the foliage looks like elephant ears. Although these are tropical plants and do best in heat and humidity, they will grow in most climates during the warm seasons. As long as you give them plenty of water and feed them well, you can easily grow these plants indoors or in partial shade outdoors. Planting elephant ear bulbs is easy, but you'll have best results if you wait to plant them until the ground warms, usually in late spring.

Step 1

If you are planting outdoors, use a spade to dig up the soil between eight and twelve inches down. Add rich, organic compost (bagged manure is fine) and mix it in well. If planting the bulbs in a container, just add rich potting soil to a large planter.

Step 2

Make a hole for the elephant ear bulb and nestle it in. The top of the bulb (which is pointed, and may be sprouting) should be two to three inches below the surface. If you can't tell which end is the root end and which is the sprouting end, suggests planting the bulb sideways.

Step 3

Add loose soil around the sides and top of the bulb. If you are planting more than one bulb, leave at least three feet between bulbs--the roots need room to spread and the plant itself gets big and needs room to grow.

Step 4

Water the soil well with a watering can. If you are using liquid fertilizer, add it to the water. If using granules, sprinkle these on top of the soil and water over them.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you live in a region with harsh winters, remove and keep bulbs indoors until the following spring or they may not survive.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter (if growing indoors)
  • Potting soil (if growing indoors)
  • Spade
  • Organic Compost


  • Iowa State University Extension: Planting and Growing Elephant Ear
  • Planting And Caring For Elephant Bulbs
Keywords: planting elephant ear bulbs, growing elephant ear plants, planting tropical bulb plants

About this Author

Corey M. Mackenzie has been a professional freelance writer for more than two decades. She received a B.A. with honors from Wichita State University. Corey specializes in writing about pets, interior decorating, health care, gardening, fashion, relationships, home improvement and forensic science. Corey's articles have appeared in Garden Guides, Travels and other websites.