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How to Transplant Elephant Ear

With its unmissable gigantic, heart-shaped leaves that grow to widths of 3 to 5 feet and stems that can exceed 6 feet, Elephant ear (Alocasia metallica), makes a dramatic statement in the landscape. Elephant ear is a topical, moisture-loving plant that thrives in warm, humid weather. If your elephant ear plant is outgrowing its boundaries, or if you just want to spread the wealth, transplant elephant ears safely in spring or early summer.

Choose a planting spot for the elephant ears in shade or morning sun. Allow plenty of space, and remember that the large leaves of elephant ear will shade any smaller plants below.

Cut the foliage down to about 4 inches with garden shears. Working 10 to 12 inches from the plant so the roots won't be injured, dig the elephant ear plant and lift it from the soil. If you want to divide the elephant ear plant, separate the plant into smaller sections with your fingers. Be sure each section has a corm, which is a small bulb that will grow a new shoot. Otherwise, the entire plant can be transplanted without division.

Dig a hole and plant the elephant ear the same depth that it was planted previously. Feed the newly-transplanted elephant ear plant an all-purpose granular fertilizer, applied according to the directions.

Water the elephant ear thoroughly immediately after planting, and keep the soil moist at all time. To help retain moisture, spread an inch of organic material around the base of the elephant ear plant.

Transplant Elephant Ears

Named for their large, broad leaves, elephant ears (Colocasia spp.) Colocasia esculenta,_ which is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, is a commonly grown variety of elephant ears. Elephant ears sprout from tubers in spring and quickly grow into large, spreading clumps. In areas of the United States that experience frosts, elephant ears must be transplanted after the final local average frost date. If late frosts threaten after the plants have been transplanted, cover elephant ears with old sheets or several layers of newspaper overnight. A sheltered, partially shaded spot with organically rich, medium moisture or wet soil provides the best growing conditions for transplanted elephant ears. Elephant ears can establish quickly in wide planting holes. Dig a hole as deep as an elephant ear's root ball and twice as wide. If the soil is moist but not wet, water the plants again. _

Tip

If you live in a cold winter climate, dig the elephant ears after the first light frost of the season, put them in a cardboard box filled with damp peat moss, and store them in a cool, dry place until spring.

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