Colocasia esculent, Elephant Ear. 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 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.