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How to Use Elephant Ear Leaves

Elephant Ears, or Colocasias as they are known botanically, are tropical perennial plants that are prized for their unique and arresting foliage. Thus named for their crenellated leaf margins that resemble the edge of an elephant ear, the leaves grow up through the soil from underground tubers. The leaf shape resembles a pointy heart or arrow with dramatic veining and comes in a wide array of colors, from black to purple to bright green. The patterns, colors and elegant stems make them a lovely substitute for cut flowers. They can also be used as foliage accompaniment to cut flowers in mixed arrangements.

Use one or two colocasia leaves in a simple vase to make a crisp, modern arrangement for a bathroom, bedside table, mantle or sideboard.

Mix two or more types of colocasia leaves in odd-numbered groups of five or more to create lush arrangements of different-colored foliage. Cut the stems at a length that allows half to two-thirds of the foliage to sit above the lip of the vase for a proportionate visual effect.

Fill out cut flower arrangements with colocasia leaves around the edge of the vase and scattered through the center of the arrangement, to highlight and support the other flower stems.

Use colocasia leaves around the base of modern-style wedding and bridesmaid bouquets to create a frame for the flowers that contrasts the texture and sets off the blooms.

Start Elephant Ear Plants From Bulbs

Choose a site to grow elephant ear plants in filtered sun to part shade in a location protected from wind. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the length of the bulb so that it can go in the hole upright with one-quarter inch or so of soil covering the tip. Space multiple planting holes 3 feet apart. Smooth out the area with the flat of your hand. During the rainy season, water only during dry spells if the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Fertilize once a month during the growing season.

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