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How to Grow Black Magic Elephant Ear Plants

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Black magic elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) is a spectacular, high-drama, tropical plant that is sure to draw attention. A fast-growing plant that can grow as high as 5 feet, the leaves can reach sizes of 2 feet long and 18 inches wide at maturity. Small cream-colored blooms sometimes appear in the summer, but the blooms are insignificant compared to the huge, burgundy-black leaves. Unlike most plants, the elephant ear plant likes moisture, and it will grow in boggy soil.

Plant elephant ear tubers after all danger of frost has passed, and nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a damp spot in full or partial shade where the plants will be sheltered from strong wind.

Dig a hole with a shovel or trowel. Plant each elephant ear tuber 2 to 4 inches below the top of the soil. New growth should appear in three to eight weeks.

Water the area generously, so that the area is soaked. Continue to water the elephant ear regularly, and never allow the soil to become dry.

Feed black magic elephant ear plants every three weeks during the spring and summer, using a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer according to the directions on the label, then dilute it to half strength.

Leave the foliage in place at the end of summer so the leaves can provide nourishment to the bulbs for next year's growth. When the leaves wilt and turn yellow, they can safely be removed.

Dig the elephant ear tubers after the first frost if you live in a climate with freezing winters. Dig the tubers with a garden fork and put the tubers aside to dry for a day, or until they feel dry to the touch. Place the tubers in a box filled with peat moss, and store the box in a cool room.


Things You Will Need

  • Black magic elephant ear tubers
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer
  • Garden fork
  • Cardboard box
  • Peat moss

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.