Elephant ear plants are popular in the tropics and grow well as perennials in hot areas. Even though they can survive on their own in moderate temperatures and out of the sun, these amazing plants still need some care. For instance, have you thought about growing elephant ear plants?
Flowers like cardinals, bistorts, and bee balms go well with elephant ear plants. It’s important to look for plants that don’t just match the color and look of elephant ears. Many of these plants can also help protect them.
Even though elephant ears can grow wild without much help, they are only called hardy perennials in USDA zones 8–10. Outside of these places, elephant ears may need a little more help, which can be given through careful gardening and planting near them.
Many farmers choose companion plants based only on how they look, but the best ones can help elephant ears grow in a healthy way. It is also often eaten by spider mites and can be killed by fungi like phyllosticta. It might also be a good idea to put nearby plants that can help keep blight away.
Also, elephant ears will need a lot of fertilizer and water. Not only will these plants need the best homemade compost, but they will also start to wilt and die if the soil starts to lose nutrients. When you put elephant ears with plants that “fix nitrogen,” your fresh greens will stay healthier for longer.
It’s also important to make sure that the plants you grow with elephant ears can grow in the same conditions and won’t steal nutrients or root space from the elephant ears. Elephant ears need a mix of shade and sun, so plants that like the sun, like lavender, may not go well with them.
Elephant ears like dirt that is not too dry and is a little bit acidic. The calcium oxalate in these plants makes it dangerous for animals and people to touch them, but it doesn’t seem to keep pests away or hurt other plants.
Before you put elephant ears with other plants, keep in mind that some species can grow up to six feet tall and have leaves that are two to three feet long. That means that smaller plants that need a lot of sunshine could be easily hidden. Make sure to plant things that do well in the shade or that you can let grow along the border of your elephant ear plot.
So that elephant ears can pass on pollen, it’s worth looking for plants and flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds from the open yard.
You should start growing plants that go well with elephant ears.
Even though it’s easy to find plants that go well with elephant ears’ look and tropical needs, it can take some creative study to find plants that will help them grow. Here are a few examples to get you started.
Chamomile is called the “doctor of the garden” because it has amazing antifungal and antibacterial qualities that may help keep elephant ears from getting blight. Like elephant ear plants, chamomile can grow in the open with a little shade, so you don’t have to worry about growing it under the leaves of a benefit.
Chamomile can keep elephant ear plants from getting fungal diseases and from being eaten by common pests. Chamomile is one of the most useful partner plants because it grows well with a lot of different kinds of plants. It likes a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, which is a good range for elephant ears.
If you put alliums near elephant ear plants, they may help keep invasive pests away. Onions and garlic used as decorations give off strong smells that can confuse insects that feed on elephant ear leaves. They like the same pH of soil as elephant ears and do best in the sun.
Most problems you might have with alliums have to do with how well the dirt drains. Elephant ears need a lot of water to grow well, while alliums need good drainage. Consider planting alliums near elephant ears in their own beds or pots with different soil. You’ll get bug protection without having to worry about either species dying because they can’t get enough water.
Cardinal flowers have an odd need for both shade and water, which is where elephant ear plants can help. Beautiful cardinal plants can grow well under elephant ear leaves, and sometimes they can even get some sun through the gaps, which won’t hurt them.
Cardinals are great at attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, so the relatively low-flowering elephant ear may benefit from a ‘wingman’ method to pollination. Cardinals do well in soils with the same pH and in USDA zones 8 and 9.
Ferns and elephant ear plants go well together only from an aesthetic point of view. This means that you’ll probably want to put these two types of plants together for a dynamic visual effect. Visually, pairing elephant ears with ferns is all about contrast, since ferns are usually lighter in color and have more spikes.
Ferns go well with elephant ears in warm zones because they can help draw attention to your bigger plant. They are easy to take care of together, and if you want to keep deer out of your yard, they make a great team. Deer don’t like elephant ear plants and usually don’t eat ferns unless they’re starving, so you can put them together at the edge of your garden without worrying about them getting eaten.
Bee balm, as its name suggests, is great at bringing pollinators like bees and butterflies. Its soil pH needs are almost the same as those of elephant ears, which makes them a great pair. This plant, which is sometimes called “wild bergamot,” won’t grow as tall as “elephant ear,” but it will happily fill the space between beds and leaves.
In return, the bee balm will do best in partial shade, though it can also do well in full sun as an annual. Even if the earth is very wet, bee balm and elephant ear will do well together.
Bistort, which is sometimes called “viviparous knotweed,” likes water as much as elephant ear plants do, and bees and wasps are welcome to help pollinate its rare flowers. This field plant isn’t often found in the wild with elephant ears, but it needs the same soil and USDA zone.
Elephant ear plants can be protected even more by bistort, which brings in ladybugs, which are great at getting rid of insects. In turn, elephant ears can help bistort get shade when it needs it, but this friend can also do well in the sun.
There are many kinds of coleus, but most of them go well with elephant ear plants because they both need wetness and moisture. Even though it can only get up to three feet tall, elephant ear leaves will provide a lot of shade for coleus.
The most interesting thing about this double act is that it works best as a border defense against deer. Deer won’t care much about elephant ears or coleus, so don’t let them touch them. By putting coleus and elephant ears together at the edge of your yard, you could make a moist, slightly shady border that would keep deer away.
Rosemary is one of several herbs that grow well with elephant ears and may protect them from bugs and other pests. You’ll need to grow it in a different pot, though. They have different draining needs, but it’s easy to make a border of rosemary and oregano that does well in full sun. Rosemary doesn’t like the shade that elephant ear leaves provide, so move your elephant ears back a bit while rosemary takes care of any other plants that might try to take over.
Rosemary grows well in the same USDA zones as elephant ear plants. It will keep slugs and snails from getting into elephant ear pots, which they would otherwise do. If elephant ears flower, use rosemary and other fragrant herbs to attract bees.
Fuchsia is a beautiful flowering plant that can be grown next to elephant ears. It needs a little more drainage than some other types, though. Annual fuchsias bring in hummingbirds, which may help elephant ears pollinate if they can’t do it on their own.
Fuchsias do better in partial shade than in the sun, and since they only get to be about two feet tall at their biggest, they will probably benefit from a little bit of shade from the elephant ear leaves. Unfortunately, mites will attack both fuchsias and elephant ears, so you’ll need to find a third or fourth plant to keep unwanted pests at bay.
This plant will help you get rid of spider mites as long as you put it far away from the elephant ears’ leaves. The smell of lemongrass actively keeps these small animals away.
Lemongrass grows best in full sun, but it can also grow in wet, sandy soil with a pH range like that of elephant ears. Like elephant ears, lemongrass is very poisonous to animals. This makes it a good choice for a perimeter plant that keeps mammals away.
Elephant ear plants need protection from invasive spider mites. Chives are a great way to do this, and these perennials will do well under big leaves for partial shade. They will grow well with elephant ears in USDA zone 9, but they may need a little better-draining soil.
Bees will also be attracted to chives, which will help them fertilize elephant ears. Growing chives will also keep your elephant ear bed full of nutrients because they cover the soil and help it grow.
A word of caution: chives can sometimes grow too quickly, so it’s best to try a few growths first to see how they do. On the other hand, you could grow chives like you would rosemary companions: in different containers next to your elephant ears to protect them.
Kohlrabi is great for fighting off spider mites and other pests, just like chives, and it grows well with elephant ear plants in terms of soil type and pH. However, elephant ear leaves won’t help Kohlrabi, so put it a little bit away from their span.
Since slugs and snails don’t like kohlrabi very much, you might want to grow it with rosemary and oregano in different containers to protect your elephant ear plants.
Some pea plants can grow well with elephant ears because they add more nitrogen to the soil. Along with many different kinds of bean plants, they are known as “nitrogen fixers.” Elephant ear leaves can give pea plants more shade, which is good, but a little more sun won’t hurt.
Peas like soil that drains well, but they also like soil that is wet. You should try out your elephant ears first and then maybe move on to containers. Peas can bring pests that live in the soil, so you might want to add a third plant, like a herb with a nice smell or an allium (in another pot or in the soil, if you can).
Begonias are one of our top 10 elephant ear partner plants not just because they look nice (though that helps), but also because they act like a tractor beam for pollinators, just like bee balm.
Pollinators are a big part of the “invisible army” in your yard that can help or hurt the plants you’ve chosen to grow. You can’t have too many bees helping you, which is why it’s a good idea to mix begonias in with your elephant ear.
Elephant ears are very sensitive to the nutrients in their soil. This means that they will never grow well with plants that need a lot of nutrients or plants that compete with them, even if they could use their safety or company. Here are some things you should never put together.
Mint’s strong smell is great for attracting pollinators and keeping away common pests, but it is renowned for taking over a patch of soil if given the chance. If you let mint spread all over the same plot, it will drown out the elephant ears’ cries for nutrients and kill your plants.
It may be safe to grow mint away from your elephant ears, but do so in its own pot so it doesn’t choke out other plants in your yard.
Elephant ear plants and potatoes don’t usually help each other out much, and like mint, they can fight fiercely for water and nutrients. Potato roots grow quickly and thickly, so you might not notice damage until it’s too late.
Some nightshades, like eggplant, may help keep spider mites away, but this family of plants tends to force its way into food. Even if you grow them outside of elephant ears in pots, they won’t be very useful.
Elephant ear plants can grow well on their own as long as the soil is wet and there is a lot of sun. However, they may need a little help to add nutrients to the soil and keep pests away. Because this plant has a few unusual needs, it’s not always easy to find the right soil-mates.
Try to find plants and veggies that like the same kind of soil and will do well in a lot of shade. In return, make sure your elephant ears get the food they need by always using rich, home-made soil and nitrogen-boosting plants.
Before growing Elephant Ears with other plants, it’s important to think about a few things to make sure they grow well:
Follow these steps to make sure your Elephant Ears and their partner plants stay healthy and strong:
Companion planting is a good way to improve the look and health of your Elephant Ears while making a garden that is full of life and healthy. By carefully choosing plants based on how much shade they like, their color and texture, their ability to keep pests away, and whether or not they can be eaten, you can make a garden ecosystem that looks good and works well together.
Remember to think about what you need to do to plant Elephant Ears, give them the care they need, and enjoy the benefits of growing them with other plants.
As long as you don’t eat a lot of elephant ear leaves, you shouldn’t worry about anything. All parts of these plants, including the leaves and roots, can be poisonous, so it’s best to keep children and pets away from them as much as possible.
Elephant ears do best in Zones 10 and 11, which are a bit on the warmer side and as close as possible to the hot, humid environment of Southeast Asia, where they grow naturally.
You can, however, grow elephant ears indoors in pots, even without a greenhouse.
Elephant ears can grow back year after year because they are perennials, but they might need a little extra care (or even a plan for the winter) if they are grown outside in less-than-ideal climates.
Even though Elephant Ears like some shade more than full shade, you can put sun-loving plants near them as long as they don’t cast too much shade on the Elephant Ears. Be aware of how much light each plant needs so that they can live together.
Be sure to water Elephant Ears and their neighboring plants often so that the soil stays evenly moist. Check the level of moisture and change how often you water based on things like the weather and how well the soil drains.
Are there any plants that should be avoided as companions for Elephant Ears?
Avoid putting Elephant Ears next to plants with strong roots or a lot of growth, which could compete with or hide the Elephant Ears. Also, be careful with plants that like different kinds of dirt or light.
Yes, you can grow certain veggies alongside Elephant Ears. Choose leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale because they grow in the same way and can make the most of your garden room. Make sure there is enough space between the veggies and Elephant Ears, and think about how much light each likes.
Elephant Ears do best in dirt that drains well and has a lot of organic matter in it. Their partner plants should like the same kind of soil, which is moist but not too wet. Aim for a soil that is rich in nutrients and holds water while letting extra water drain away.
Don’t forget that companion planting is a creative and flexible way to grow. Try out different mixtures of Elephant Ears and their companion plants to find the ones that work best for you and make a garden oasis that is both beautiful and peaceful.