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How to Plant Colocasia Esculenta Bulbs

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Colocasia Esculenta--also called taro and elephant ears--has an underground root structure that is often called a bulb. It actually is a corm that has the shape of a tuber and is therefore called a tuber at times. Whatever you call the bulb-like structure, it is edible and often grown strictly for harvesting. However, it is also grown as an ornamental plant due to its large distinct looking leaves. Colocasia Esculenta is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.

Select a planting bed in partial shade or full sun. You can grow Colocasia Esculenta near water sources such as ponds and lakes in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11; however, in these wet conditions, the plants may become invasive and hard to control over time.

Prepare the planting bed. Colocasia Esculenta needs lots of moisture to thrive. Amend the soil so that it is loose, well draining and will absorb water well. Turn over the top 12 to 18 inches of the soil with a garden rake, tiller or hoe. Mix in several inches of organic matter such as sand, compost or peat moss.

Plant the bulb on it side about 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil. Space multiple bulbs 2 feet apart. If you are growing Colocasia Esculenta to harvest their bulbs, then plant multiple rows 4 feet apart. The bulbs are ready for harvest in about 6 to 8 months after planting.

Pack down the soil well and water. Cover the planting bed with several inches of mulch, such as bark or pine needles, to help retain moisture. Continue to keep your soil moist at all times, except keep the bulbs dry during the winter in zone 8, at which time Colocasia Esculenta go dormant. In warmer zones, Colocasia Esculenta is an evergreen.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden rake, tiller or hoe
  • Organic matter
  • Water
  • Mulch


About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.