Photo by Alec Perez
The name ‘Elephant Ear’ is shared by Alocasias and Colocasias who are of the Araceane family. With so many varieties, there is an Elephant Ear for every experience level. For those who are just getting into houseplants, pick up the deep velvet green-leafed Alocasia Regal Shield, which can be found at most big box stores or nurseries. Or, if you’re a rare houseplant collector who loves a challenge, find yourself the finicky zebra-patterned Alocasia zebrina.
Today we’re focusing on the Alocasia calidora, a.k.a. Persian Palm, one of the larger varieties of Elephant Ears that is indoor and outdoor-friendly. Its bold green leaves will give you an instant jungle vibe and with the right care and space it can grow up to 5-8ft tall. Dumbo would be so proud!
Photo by Alec Perez
GET THE GREEN: Alocasia Calidora, a.k.a. Persian Palm. As the plant produces new leaves the older ones brown and die, don’t be alarmed you aren’t doing anything wrong, this is normal! For reference, my newest leaf is 2ft long and 18in wide with the oldest leaf starting to brown and she’s a happy plant!
WATER: This plantie loves water so maintain a regular watering schedule and it will reward you with large, lush leaves. Be sure to keep the soil moist as these plants do not like to dry out between waterings.
These plants can go dormant during the colder winter months. This means your plant will die back — all or some of the leaves will brown and die — and you will be left with the bulb. Again, don’t be alarmed, this is normal. Cut back all the dead leaves and store the bulb in a cool place until it’s time to replant it in the spring.
FERTILIZER: This plantie appreciates a slow-release multipurpose fertilizer once a month during the growing period.
TEMPERATURE: Remember Elephant Ears are tropical plants so warm temperatures help them thrive! If you placed yours outside, shelter it from the cold and move your Elephant Ear indoors before temperatures drop to 50°F (10°C) or below.
HUMIDITY: Keep your plantie happy with high humidity! If you notice the edges of your leaves curling or getting crispy it is most likely humidity related. The best way to keep humidity consistent is to place your plant near a humidifier or place it on a pebble tray.
SUNLIGHT: This particular variety of Elephant Ear will thrive in bright, indirect light. If you notice brown spots or burns on your leaves then your plantie may be getting too much exposure to direct light. Move the plant to a shadier location like under the cover of taller plants or by a window with a sheer curtain.
PLACEMENT: I placed my Elephant Ear on a stand with smaller plants at the base to exaggerate the scale of the plant. Or, try showcasing yours on its own in a corner where guests can appreciate the details of the leaves or the height of the plant.
Photo by Alec Perez
PROPAGATION: Elephant ears propagate by division. If you see a little baby Elephant Ear sprouting from the base of the parent plant that means you have a new addition to the family! Once the new baby plant has sprouted two to three leaves, put on some gloves and remove it from the parent plant. Then place the new plant in its own pot of well-draining soil.
EXTRA CREDIT: An easy way to tell if your Elephant Ear is an alocasia or colocasia is to look at where the leaves point. If they point up it’s an alocasia while colocasia looks down.
CAUTION: Elephant Ears are poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs. They produce oxalic acid which can cause skin irritation or if consumed the swelling of the throat and mouth.
Taro roots come from Elephant Ear plants, specifically Colocasia esculenta, and are believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants! Cooking the root makes it harmless and quite delicious!
GET THE LOOK: This Elephant Ear is placed in a pom-pom basket with a Philodendron wendlandii in the black version. The Face Vase set by Justina Blakeney holds up copies of The New Bohemians and The New Bohemians Handbook. On the daybed are Clay Geometric Pillows and Luminosa Pillows by Justina Blakeney. A lime philodendron is placed in the Ivory Mirrored Pot with a full set of the Jungalow Ceramic Wall Hangings on the back wall.