Elephant Ear Bulbs: Step-by-Step Planting Guide

They are also called colocasia, alocasia, xanthosoma, and remusatia plants. Elephant ear plants can be a beautiful addition to your yard or plant collection. Like the animal they’re named after, they can get very big, with leaves that are up to 8 feet across.

Even though elephant ears are native to the tropics, they can do well outside in most hardiness zones in the United States. In zones 9 through 12, you can grow them as a perennial. In other zones, they’ll still grow as an annual because the bulbs will die in the winter.

When To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs

How To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs

When it’s no longer cold outside and the weather has warmed up in the spring, plant elephant ears. It is important to keep the dirt warm (65ºF) so that elephant ear bulbs can grow.

You can plant the bulbs in pots inside for four to six weeks before moving them outside if you want to get planting done faster.

Where To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs

Once they are fully grown, elephant ears need a lot of space, so choose a spot with at least 3 feet of space between each bulb to grow in some shade. The leaves can get burned if they get too much sun. The only type of elephant ears that does well in part to full shade is the Black Magic form.

If you put the elephant ear plant indoors, choose a spot that gets bright sunshine through a window.

When you put the bulbs, make sure the soil drains well and has a lot of organic matter in it. To give the dirt more nutrients, you can add mulch or compost.

Things you’ll need

  • Equipment and tools
  • Bulb planter tool or garden trowel
  • Planter (optional)


How To Plant An Elephant Ear Bulb

You can get elephant ear plants from either roots or tubers. It depends on the type you pick. They are easy to plant, just like most other plant seeds.

1. Plant When The Soil Has Warmed

Since elephant ear plants like it hot and humid, try to make their surroundings like it is. If it’s going to be warmer than 70 degrees in the spring, don’t put the bulbs or tubers until then. You could also start the plants indoors. Elephant ears like rich, well-fertilized soil, a spot with some shade, and a lot of water.

2. Give The Elephant Ear Bulbs Plenty Of Room To Grow

Put the elephant ear bulbs in the ground about 4 inches deep, with the pointy end pointing up. Leave two to four feet between them so they can grow.

3. Give Your Plants Time To Grow

As the elephant ear bud grows, don’t water it too much. It might be more than a month before you see it grow.

How To Care For An Elephant Ear Plant

Right Way to Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs

If you want your elephant ear plant to do well, you’ll need to change how you take care of it after it sprouts.


Elephant ear grows best in some shade or sun that is filtered. Long periods of straight sunlight can burn its leaves, leaving marks that last all season. When you plant elephant’s ear, try to put it somewhere that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Water And Soil

Elephant ear grows best in wet, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Regularly water elephant’s ear plants that are outside. The dirt for indoor plants grows best when it is left to dry out a bit before it is watered.

Temperature And Humidity

Elephant’s ear grows best in Southeast Asia, where it is hot and wet. It should be between 70°F and 85°F during the day. It shouldn’t get below 60°F at night.

The plant does well when the humidity is above 50 percent. To keep the humidity high when grown indoors, it does well with a fan or on a tray with rocks and water in it.


Follow the directions on the package to use a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer on elephant’s ear plants in the yard in the spring, summer, and fall to help the big leaves grow. When the plant isn’t growing, like in the winter, don’t feed it.

In the spring and summer, use a houseplant fertilizer to feed your indoor plants. In the fall and winter, stop feeding.


To stop the spread of disease, cut off individual leaves as they get destroyed during the season with a clean blade.

If you want to get the roots, cut all the leaves off to about 6 inches above the ground right before the first frost. Cover them with a mix of wet potting soil and peat moss that you put in a plastic bag or pot. Keep them somewhere cool and dark so they don’t wake up in the winter.

Potting and Repotting Elephant’s Ear: In cool areas, elephant’s ear plants can spend the winter in pots. Bring the potted plants inside before the first frost. Put them somewhere cool and damp, and water them less in the winter.

How Long Does It Take Elephant Ear To Grow From Bulbs?

When you put elephant ears, they might not grow right away. Elephant ears usually take three to eight weeks to grow, but this depends on where you live. When it’s warmer, elephant ears will grow faster than when it’s cooler.


Should I Start My Elephant Ear Bulbs Indoors?

During the long winter months, you might want to put the elephant ear bulbs inside in pots to get the plant off to a good start. Plant them about four to six weeks before you move them outside, when the soil is 65oF and there is no chance of frost.

Should I Soak Elephant Ear Bulbs?

After putting elephant ear bulbs, give the ground a lot of water. Keep the plants moist, but don’t soak them or water them too much, as this can cause root rot. Most of the time, you should wait to water again until the top inch of dirt is dry.

Do Elephant Ears Bulbs Multiply?

Elephant ear plants can easily grow more plants. They do this by sending up roots from the ground that make new plants. This happens a lot when the plants are permanent and the weather is warm. To separate the babies from the parent plant, carefully dig around the baby plant to find its roots. Then, lift the plant out of the soil and move it to a pot or another spot.

Which End Goes Down On Elephant Ear Bulbs?

Look closely to see which end of the elephant ear bulb goes down. According to Brody Hall, there will sometimes be an old stalk or a new stalk sticking out from the top of the bulb, making it easy to see.

Sometimes, though, farmers may need to look for small to medium-sized bumps on the bottom of the bulb. These are the first roots, and when you put them, they should face down, toward the ground.