Colocasia sp. (Elephant Ear) is a native plant to Polynesia and southeastern Asia. It is a large shrub, growing anywhere between 5 and 10 feet tall, although there are also smaller varieties as short as 2 to 5 feet in height. It prefers to grow in full sun or semi-shade, making it especially suited to bog or aquatic habitats, requiring regular watering to thrive.
The plant is known and grown primarily for its ornamental foliage, with the large elephant ear-shaped leaves providing a spectacular display. Although it is not cold hardy, the mature plant can tolerate temperatures in the low 30s Fahrenheit for a brief period of time. It is also extremely flood tolerant, being able to survive underwater for up to three months at a time.
In USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11, Colocasia sp. can be grown outside with minimal effort and care. In areas with a colder climate, the plant needs to be grown in a pot and protected from freezing temperatures during winter. During the growing season, it needs plenty of sunlight and water; it is not drought tolerant, and will wilt if not properly watered. If growing the plant in a container, use an appropriate sized pot filled with potting soil, and ensure that the soil is properly drained.
Colocasia sp. (Elephant Ear) is a low maintenance plant that provides a spectacular display in the summer and is a popular choice for gardeners in warm climates. In cooler regions, it requires some extra care and attention to ensure the plant's survival during cold winter months.