Green elephant ear plants (Colocasia) are some of the most dramatic landscaping plants available because of their gigantic leaves and their amazingly fast growth. Some species of elephant plants can mature to a height of 6 feet in a single season. These tropical plants are annuals in U.S. plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, but can be grown as annuals in zones 4 though 6. Most varieties enjoy sunny conditions, but will tolerate the shade as well.
Colocasia esculenta is a common elephant ear with more than 200 varieties. Its leaves take on many different sizes and shapes throughout the world and serves as a food source in some cultures. The species is considered invasive in the state of Florida.
The mojito plant is an unusual species with beautiful splotches of bluish-purple on its variegated, medium-size green leaves. Its striped stems add to the dramatic effect of this showy plant, which grows to a height of about 4 feet as a large container plant, or 5 to 6 feet tall as a landscaping plant.
One of the largest species of elephant ear, the black stem, Colocasia Fontanesii, grows to a height of 7 feet. Its glossy, deep green leaves make this a favorite among landscapers, and unlike most elephant ear plants, the black stem generates small, scented yellow flowers during the summer months. Its black stems, for which it the plant is named, makes this particularly resilient species easy to identify.
The magnificent giant Taro, or giant Alocasia, is known for its size and vertical growth. The giant taro can reach 12 to 15 feet in height. Unlike most elephant ears, its imposing leaves face the sky and can measure 3 to 6 feet long and 2 to 4 feet across. The plant can grow 6 feet over a single summer. It is marked with pale green veins on its waxy, dark green leaves.
Dwarf Elephant Ear
Dwarf elephant ear, or Colocasia fallax, is less drought tolerant than most elephant ear plants. It enjoys very wet soil, and grows to around 18 inches tall. Silver veins exude from the center of its smooth-textured green leaves. Like the black stem Colocasia fontanesii, elephant ears sprout small yellow flowers throughout the summer.
Elephant Ear ruffles, or Colosia esculenta, are instantly recognizable by the scalloped edges on its deep green leaves and even deeper green stems. This is another exceptionally fast grower. Unlike most elephant ears, it enjoys partial sun to light shade and grows enthusiastically in wet soil. Ruffles can reach a height of 6 feet.
Another dwarf species of elephant ear plant, the Jenningsii, or Colocasia affinis, has velvet-like gray-black leaves with large, flashy green veins that appear to fade into the deeper color. A silver stain radiates from the center of the leaves, giving the plant a flamboyant, flashy look. The Jenningsii reaches about 2 feet in height and enjoys sunny conditions.