How to Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs


Elephant Ears are used in tropical landscapes and in and around water features. They are large plants with green ornamental leaves, some with dark red or purplish markings. There are hundreds of varieties, including Alocasias, Colocasias and Xanthosomas. They are almost evergreen in zones 10 and 11 and are root hardy in zones 8 and 9. They should be grown as annuals in colder areas.

Step 1

Buy large, firm bulbs or tubers from a reliable source. Keep the bulbs in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them.

Step 2

Plant the bulbs after the last frost of the year, when temperatures at night reach 50 degrees or above.

Step 3

Choose a site with moist to boggy organic soil in partial shade or shade that is protected from the wind.

Step 4

Use a trowel to dig a hole deep enough so that the top of the bulb is two inches below the surface of the soil. Set the bulb in the hole with the blunt end down and cover with soil. Space the bulbs 24 inches apart.

Step 5

Use a liquid fertilizer with a high nitrogen content at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. Continue applying fertilizer on a weekly basis during growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wild Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is invasive in warm climates. Check with your local County Extension Office for more information. All parts of Elephant Ears can cause stomach distress if eaten raw, and the sap can irritate your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Liquid fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota Extension

Who Can Help

  • Central Florida Farms
Keywords: Elephant Ears, Elephant Ear bulbs, planting Elephant Ears

About this Author

Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.