elephant ears plant
Photo by Vi Tran on Unsplash

Elephant ears are tropical perennial plants grown for the appeal of their large leaves rather than their flowers.

Elephant ear is the common name for several species in three plant genera—Colocasia, Alocasia and Xanthosoma. The most common one is Colocasia esculenta, also known as taro. These fast-growing plants will achieve their full size within two months and are generally planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also plant them later in early summer. Whatever the species, elephant ears are dramatic, exotic plants with huge heart-shaped leaves, used as accent plants or as a feature in tropical-themed water or bog gardens. Their leaves can reach 3 feet long and 2 feet wide in the tropics; in colder climates, they will remain smaller but still have impressive leaves. In warm zones (8 and above), the plant can be left in the ground as a perennial, while in colder zones, the plants are either treated as annuals, discarded at the end of the season, or dug up and stored indoors for planting the following spring.