The Elephant Ear

Alocasia x amazonica
Elephant ear.png

This impressive plant has metallic green leaves shaped like an elephant’s ear with large white venation throughout that could resemble the veins of an ear.

 

Alocasia do require more attention than most plants and is therefore suited for a more experienced green-thumbed enthusiast who can provide warmer temperatures with high humidity.

Temperature: -

The elephant ear prefers a stable temperature range of 18-21 degrees.

 

Lighting: -

During the summer months the plant should be placed in a shaded spot but should be moved to brighter conditions in winter in order for light exposure to remain the same.

 

Watering: -

Use tepid rainwater that is free from the harsh chemicals that can be found in tap water. Elephant ears prefer their soil to be moist to the touch but not waterlogged as this will cause the soft plant tissues to rot.

Humidity: -

Elephant ears love humidity, and this can be achieved by misting the plant frequently. Brown and crispy leaves can be an indication that the plant is not happy with the current humidity. Another form of humidification is buying a  home humidifier (you can get these for about £30). More budget-friendly alternatives for providing your plant with sufficient humidity is sitting the pot on top of a small dish of pebbles that is filled with water. As the water evaporates the water vapor condenses on your plant’s leaves and gives the humidity it adores! Its love for humid conditions also makes it a perfect addition to any well-lit bathroom.

 

Repotting & Propagation: –

This can be judged by  inspecting the roots to see if they are becoming compacted at the base of the pot in a large root mass.  This plant has large numbers of thick white roots. Repotting should happen during spring when the plant is most adaptable to the change in its environment as it is actively growing. The elephant ear is best propagated by rhizome division whereby a large healthy plant should be sub-divided into two.

 

Dormancy: -

During the winter months your elephant ear will go through a period of dormancy with the onset of colder temperatures. Do not be alarmed if your plants leaves begin to turn yellow and decay. New leaves will begin to grow in the spring. If new growth does not begin then ensure your plant is not being overwatered or exposed to too much direct light.

 

Soil Type: - 

Use a soil that has plenty of grit and orchid bark (as an alternative to perlite) in to keep the medium well-drained and improve aeration and reduce compaction. The soil should also retain some moisture which is a benefit of using peat. However, try to use a peat alternative such as one that contains coconut husk coir which will perform a similar job of retaining moisture and is less harmful on the environment.