Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta)

Elephant Ear Plant Features

This is one plant that truly lives up to its name! Each gigantic leaf of elephant ear, also called colocasia, is like an artist’s canvas, no two are exactly alike. Splashed, splattered, sprayed, marbled, splotched -- take your pick of adjectives to describe the unique pattern of lime green, chartreuse, purple, and near-black colors on each huge, arrow shaped leaf. Even its stout stems are colorful: light pink with dark rattlesnake-like stripes. The colors tend to be most vivid when sited in partial shade. Elephant ear is an easy-care tropical that does best in hot, humid climates. In frost-free locations the plants are perennial in nature. In the north, they can be dug and stored over the winter. Plants can grow 2 to 6 feet tall in the garden. Hardy from zones 8-11.

Elephant Ear Growing Instructions

Elephant ear does best in rich, slightly moist soil. The plants thrive in sun or partial shade and look stunning in large planters or urns. Because this plant likes wet feet it can also be grown in bog or rain gardens. Fertilize elephant ear with a general purpose, slow release fertilizer in the spring. 

Elephant ear is not intended for human or animal consumption.

Elephant Ear Questions?
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  • Water


  • Light

    Outside: Part sun

    Outside: Sun

  • Colors





  • Special Features

    Colorful foliage

    Super-easy to grow

Complement your Elephant Ear

The bold, tropical leaves of canna pair beautifully with the giant-sized foliage of elephant ear. Partner them in big tubs or at the edge of a water garden.

Our favorite varieties

Kona Coffee Elephant Ear

Kona Coffee Elephant Ear

Colocasia 'Royal Hawaiian Kona Coffee'

Royal Hawaiian Kona Coffee is a dwarf variety that fits in practically any garden! At only 3 feet tall, it features lovely purple-brown leaves in full sun. Perennial in Zones 8-10

Black Coral Elephant Ear

Black Coral Elephant Ear

Colocasia 'Royal Hawaiian Black Coral'

Royal Hawaiian Black Coral is stunning! Growing only 3 feet tall and wide, it features gorgeous black-purple leaves and thrives in the sun. This was a winner in our Trial Garden! Zones 8-10 as a perennial.

Black Magic Elephant Ear

Black Magic Elephant Ear

Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic'

A stunning foliage plant for moist or wet spots, Black Magic shows off rich purple-black leaves in the sun (and green leaves flushed with purple in the shade). It grows 6 feet tall and wide. It's perennial in Zones 8-10, but often grown as an annual in colder areas.

Blue Hawaii Elephant Ear

Blue Hawaii Elephant Ear

Colocasia esculenta 'Blue Hawaii'

Blue Hawaii isn't blue like you'd expect from the name, but rather has blue-green leaves and bold wine-red veins in the leaves. It grows 30 inches tall and 36 inches wide. Zones 8-10 as a perennial.

Aloha Oe Elephant Ear

Aloha Oe Elephant Ear

Colocasia 'Royal Hawaiian Aloha Oe'

This elephant ear bears bronze-purple leaves that have a great texture. It's a stunner in the garden -- and a top performer in our trials. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. In Zones 8-10, you can grow it as a perennial; in colder areas, it's an outstanding annual.