Elephant ears are herbaceous perennial plants that are best known for their large, arrow-shaped leaves. They are also known as caladium, Heart of Jesus and Angels Wings. The plant is native to Brazil, and South and Central America, and is easy to grow.The leaves can reach widths of nearly 2 feet. Elephant ears grow in several varieties of colors including pink, red and white, with the most common being green. The plants remain dormant in the winter and grow from late spring to early fall.
Choose an area to plant your elephant ear bulbs that receives full to partial sunlight. Elephant ears will grow in nearly any type of soil including moist soils. Do not plant elephant ears next to smaller plants that require a lot of sun, as the elephant ears will shade them out.
Dig a hole 8 to 10 inches deep to plant the elephant ear bulbs. Place the bulbs into the ground with the roots facing down. Cover the bulbs with an all-purpose potting soil, or refill the hole with the soil that you dug from the hole.
Plant the bulbs at least 2 feet apart in the garden. When the plants begin to grow, their size can take over a flowerbed.
Water the bulbs generously after you have covered them. Soak the soil with 2 to 3 inches of water. The ground will need to be very wet to encourage the plants to grow. Water the elephant ears twice a week with at least an inch of water in order to keep the ground moist. It will take one to two months for the bulbs to begin to grow.
Apply a 20-20-20 fertilizer every three weeks during the plant's growing season. Use the fertilizer at half strength of what is recommended in the fertilizer instructions. Elephant ears are heavy feeders and will need the extra nutrients.
Remove the leaves from the elephant ear plants when they have yellowed. The plants will begin to wither and turn yellow at the end of the growing season. Leave the leaves on as long as you can. The green foliage at the end of the season will provide nutrients for next year's growth.
Dig the bulbs out of the ground if you live in the extreme northern states. Store the bulbs in a dark, moist place such as a basement or storeroom until spring. If you live in southern states, you will not need to dig the bulbs.