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Alocasia and colocasia like sunlight and perform best in full sun. In hot areas, especially where there’s low humidity, they’ll do well in partial sun. The plants in this family are partial to moist soils and can be grown along pond edges or even with potted tubers submerged in 2-6 inches of water.
As heavy feeders, alocasia and colocasia need rich soil or supplemental nutrients. These plants also need soil that never dries out and is at least moderately moist. When grown in large containers, partner with other plants that thrive in similar conditions. Sun tolerant coleus, in their varied colors and patterns, are good partners.
In cooler regions, get a jump on the season by planting early indoors. These bulbs can take a while to break dormancy, wake up and start sprouting, so giving them some lead time indoors can help. Or, plant outdoors when frost danger has past. Alocasia and colocasia are tropicals and cannot be allowed to freeze. The bulbs need steady warmth to break dormancy and start growing. (Cool/cold nights slow or stall their progress.) These bulbs can be slow to get going, taking 2 to 6 weeks to sprout depending on variety, temperature and overall growing conditions.
Dig a hole about the size of a basketball and mix in a couple scoops of compost. Plant the tuber so that it is covered with about 4” of soil. As it’s often difficult to identify the top, feel free to plant the tuber on its side. (If there happens to be a sprout, that indicates the top – plant that facing upwards.) Refill around plant with soil, tap down to eliminate air pockets and water well. While waiting for the bulb to sprout, water sparingly. The goal is to keep the soil VERY slightly moist. Soggy soil is likely to result in bulb rot.
During the growing season, keep the soil moist. As the plants grow they will replace older leaves with new, fresh ones. Shedding leaves is normal and not grounds for concern. Remove the dead leaves to keep the plants looking their best.
Gardeners in zones 8-10 may leave plants in the ground over the winter. For extra protection in colder parts of zone 8, mulch the crown with shredded leaves. In colder regions, lift and overwinter your elephant ears indoors. Treat them like cannas and dahlias; brush off the soil and store in peat at 45-50 degrees. Replant in spring when soil is warm.
Light: Sun to partial sun
Soil: Moist and fertile
Depth: Cover tubers with 4” of soil
Water: Keep moist
Uses: Beds, water garden and big pots
Tip: Never let the soil dry out
They Start Out looking Like This:
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