Melinda's Garden Moments: Planting Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears

Create a focal point in the garden, screen an unwanted view or extend a bold welcome to visitors with elephant ears.

Grow these beauties in containers or the garden. They combine nicely with caladiums, begonias and other annuals.

Plant the baseball-sized tubers, we often call bulbs directly in the garden, after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the tuber. Plant it pointy side up with the top of the tuber about an inch or two below the soil surface.

Cover with soil and water.

Or start them indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost. Plant the tubers in a container of quality potting mix and grow in a warm sunny location.

Fertilize and keep the soil moist for the biggest and best display.

A bit more information: Black Magic and Mojito are two of the many outstanding elephant ear varieties. Black Magic has dark purple stems that match the heart shaped leaves. Mojito has green leaves with splotches, splatters and freckles of purple. Each leaf is different, providing a unique look to gardens and containers. Elephant ears combine nicely with caladiums, begonias and other annuals. Those in zones 7a and colder can save these tropical plants overwinter as houseplants or store the “bulb” in a frost-free dark location.

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About Melinda Myers

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 135 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. Myers is also the host of the recently released The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series. Melinda writes a regular column for Wisconsin Gardening and Chicagoland Gardening magazines. She also writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. She is the recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and in 2017 was inducted into the national Hall of Fame of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators. Myers’ website,, features gardening videos, podcasts, monthly gardening tips and much more.

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