When to Plant Elephant Ears – How to Grow it Fast in 2021

The first rule of gardening is selecting the right time and temperature for planting a plant and selecting the right soil! Whether it is a large tree or a small flower pot, time and temperature are crucial factors. Similar to other plants and flowers, elephant ears need to be planted in specific soil and, most importantly, at a specific time period.

When to Plant Elephant Ears for Best Results

If proper measures are not taken before, and while planting elephant ears, your plant will not thrive as it is supposed to. Instead of a tropical look, your garden will turn into a graveyard of plants. I have shared tips and tricks in this article that will answer the question on every reader’s mind, i.e. when to plant elephant ears?

Elephant Ears & Their Varieties

Elephant ears are one of the most common garden plants, especially in the SouthEast region. They are used in ponds, patios, walkways, and gardens. The most common use of elephant ears is to provide a larger focal point and bring balance to the entire area.

There are more than 70 varieties of elephant ears plants. These varieties are based on leaf size, color, texture, and shape. They come in small, medium, and large sizes. The most common color is emerald green, and the other colors range from black to purple, blue, and pink. The edges are mostly green, and the center of the leaf has the color in the form of spots and veins. They come in wide shapes resembling a heart and as narrow as an arrowhead. As for the texture of an elephant ear, it is either shiny or waxy!

When To Plant Elephant Ears?

The ideal weather for planting elephant ears is right after the last frost and at the start of spring. If you want to witness your elephant ears bloom in the summers and have a garden with a tropical look, then you need to plant them in spring. Frost is the enemy of these plants, and they can not survive the torture of cold weather.

Therefore, they should be planted after the end of winter, when the threat of snow is over. The ideal temperature for planting elephant ears plants is between 70-85°F. When the sun comes out, and your elephant ears get as much sunlight as possible, they will thrive and grow into large and beautiful plants.

Where to Plant Elephant Ears?

Elephant ears can be planted both indoors in pots and bottles and outdoors in the garden. The only thing that you need to keep in mind before you start planting is choosing a spot that gets as much sunlight as possible. As elephant ears need direct sunlight to thrive, you should always plant them in a place that gets sunlight throughout the day.

The best way to have a thriving plant of elephant ears in your house is to plant the bulbs in the garden soil in the spring. Once it starts blooming in spring, enjoy the view. However, when the fall approaches and the dangers of snow and cold weather are near, dig out a few bulbs from the soil, plant them in a few pots and keep them indoors in a shady spot. You can also have them planted only in the pots to keep the plant around all year long.

Apart from temperature, another thing to keep in mind is selecting the right soil before planting elephant ears. Elephant ears can not be planted in dry soil; they require medium wet soil. Lastly, pick a spot that is not directly in the way of strong winds and gusts, and they can damage the leaves.

How to Plant Healthy Elephant Ears?

Planting elephant ears is not as simple as any other plant. Before you get your gardening tools out of the garage and start digging holes into your garden, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. These points will help you make sure that you end up with beautiful foliage and not drooping and dead leaves.

Selecting The Right Bulb

The first step that comes before planting elephant ears and determines what type of foliage you will end up with is selecting the right bulbs. By the term “right bulb”, I mean one that is plump and large. The type of bulb you pick and plant determines the type of elephant ears they will grow in your garden. The bigger the bulb is, the bigger the plant will be.

Selecting The Right Spot

Choosing the right location for planting is just as crucial as choosing the right type of elephant ears. Always go for a spot in your garden that has moist and well-drained soil and also gets direct sunlight. Elephant ears need moist soil to survive just as much as they need sunlight, so make sure you do not dig into a dry spot.

Similar to the temperature on the outside, the temperature of the soil is important too. Make sure the soil is at least 60°F before you plant the bulbs. Another thing to keep in mind is that elephant ears flourish in soil with a pH range of 5.5 and 7.0. You can adjust the pH of your soil if needed.

Digging A Hole

Once you have selected a spot for planting your elephant ears, dig a hole that is 2 to 4 times larger than the size of the bulbs. Leave 24 to 28 inches of space between each hole. The space between the holes depends on the sizes of the bulbs.

Planting The Bulb

An elephant ear bulb has two sides, a top smoother side and a low bumpy side with small holes. The bulb should always be planted with the smoother side up, and the bumpy side down, as that side will produce the roots. Put the bulb in the hole and cover it till 1 to 2 inches with soil. Once the tubers are in the ground, water them generously. The area needs to be watered regularly throughout the growing season.

Caring For Elephant Ears

The job does not end at selecting a spot for planting elephant ears and planting the bulbs in the ground. The real deal starts after you have planted the bulbs. Elephant ears need constant care to survive and thrive, otherwise their leaves will start drooping. There are a few things that you can do to make sure your plant does not die.

Watering Regularly

The first most crucial step of caring for an elephant ear plant is to never let the soil dry out! If you do not want to bid farewell to your plant, then water the soil regularly, especially through the growing season. Watering the plant regularly and generously is the key ingredient in keeping it alive and thriving.

Consistent Sun Exposure

Similar to watering, you need to make sure that your plant gets enough and consistent sunlight. Consistency is the key to keeping your plants alive. There is a way to check whether the plant is getting as much sunlight as it needs or not. If the leaves of the plant are fresh and green, then it is thriving.

However, if the leaves start turning yellow, it is not getting as much sun exposure as it needs to stay alive. In addition to that, the elephant ear plant that has more greener leaves needs more direct sunlight. However, the ones with darker leaves need filtered sunlight or shady spots.

Cleaning The Dusty Leaves

Whether the elephant ear plant has been planted indoor or outdoor, it is bound to get dusty, especially the leaves. Dusty leaves not only ruin the look of the plant but also damage it. To prevent that from happening, gently clean the leaves with a damp cloth to eliminate all the dust.

Trimming Procedure

You need to know how to propagate your elephant ear plants for best results. Trimming a plant regularly is highly important if you want to keep the fresh and lively look of your garden alive. Regular trimming helps you get rid of the dead stems and leaves and neatens the entire look of the plant garden. Always use a sharp gardening scissor to trim your plant to make sure you do not end up damaging it.  Any leaf of your elephant ear plant that is turning yellow, you can cut it off. When the elephant ears plant is growing new leaves, the older ones start drooping. This is a sign that you need to cut those leaves off.

Fertilization

Elephant ears do not require heavy fertilization. However, that does not mean you can fully neglect this step. Firstly, you need to add slow-release fertilizer while you are planting the bulb. After planting, they need to be fertilized once a month with a fertilizer that is water-soluble. If your leaves start yellowing, you need to add a fertilizer with micronutrients at the plant’s roots on a monthly basis. Here’s a detailed guide on fertilizing elephant ear plants.

Soil Type

Understanding the type of soil ideal for planting elephant ears is the first thing you need to consider before you take your gardening tools out. The ideal soil for planting elephant years is medium wet soil that is also well-drained. Many people do consider the well-drained part, and their plants sit in pools of water. Just as the plant will not grow in dry soil, it will also not thrive while sitting in a pool of water.

In addition to that, the temperature of the soil also affects the growth of the elephant ears. The temperature should be at least 60°F for the plant to thrive. Moreover, the pH of the soil should be taken into consideration too. The most suited pH is between 5.5 to 7.0. If the soil is too acidic, you can add a few drops of lime. Similarly, if it is more than 7, then you need to add a little sulfur to lower the pH level.

Expectations

You can add elephant ears with the foliage of other colorful flowers to give your garden a balanced look. If you want to have a design of foliage of elephant ears, then you can plant the bulbs in that manner. Apart from bringing beauty to the garden and rejuvenating the entire look of the place where they are planted, elephant ears are also best for cleaning out the air. They absorb all the harmful toxins from the air and leave cleaner air in the garden.

In addition to that, if you want to keep your plant alive all year round, then either plant it in a warmer place or if it is in a cooler place, then take a few bulbs out of the soil. Remove the soil from those bulbs, leave them to dry for a day, and store them in a dry and warm place. You can replant these bulbs in the next season. Lastly, if you’ve got pets, you need to be careful of how your pets interact with elephant ear plants.

FAQs

Does the elephant ears plant come back every year?

Elephant ear plants come back every year in warmer zones. As they are a plant of warmer temperature, they will come back every summer in warmer areas. However, in colder regions, they are annual plants. If you wish to keep them around longer, you will need to lift a few bulbs out of the soil and keep them dry to be replanted next season.

Do elephant ears need full sun?

Elephant ears need bright sunlight to survive, but full sun is only ideal for a few variations, such as Alocasias. The ones that are more rich green need direct sun exposure to grow as compared to the ones that are colored. Colored elephant ears need bright but not direct sunlight to thrive. They can grow in shady spots.

How long do elephant ears take to grow to full size?

The first 3 weeks after planting, the elephant ears keep growing roots, and there is no growth above the soil. However, after 3 weeks, they will start sprouting. In warmer regions, elephant ears start sprouting faster as compared to colder areas.

Conclusion

Planting elephant ears in the garden is a good way to bring symmetry to the entire look of the garden. You can also add elephant ears to the walkway or in your indoor pots as they not only add beauty where they are planted but they also clean the air. To have a thriving plant of elephant ears in your house, you need to be careful while planting it. I hope this article blessed you with all the knowledge that you needed to keep your elephant ears alive and thriving.

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