Updated: October 11, 2022

If you are looking for a low-maintenance plant that can add an exotic touch to your garden, then the elephant plant (Colocasia) is the perfect choice. Also known as taro or elephant ear, this tropical plant has large, heart-shaped leaves that resemble the ears of an elephant. Growing elephant plants outdoors is easy, and with a little care and attention, you can enjoy their lush foliage for years to come.

Choosing the Right Location

Elephant plants thrive in warm, humid conditions and require plenty of sunlight to grow. When choosing a spot for your plant, look for an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting in areas with strong winds or drafts, as this can damage the leaves.

Preparing the Soil

Elephant plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, prepare the soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility. Ensure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged, as this can cause root rot.

Planting Elephant Plants

To plant elephant plants outdoors, follow these steps:

  1. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of your plant.
  2. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil until it is level with the surrounding ground.
  3. Water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
  4. Mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Care and Maintenance

Here are some tips for caring for your elephant plants:

  • Water regularly: Elephant plants require regular watering to keep their soil moist. Aim to water them once a week or more frequently during hot, dry weather.
  • Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to promote healthy growth.
  • Prune: Remove any damaged or yellowing leaves to keep the plant looking its best.
  • Pest control: Watch out for pests like aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs, and treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Overwintering Elephant Plants

In areas with cold winters, it may be necessary to overwinter your elephant plants indoors. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Dig up the plant before the first frost and trim back any dead or damaged leaves.
  2. Shake off excess soil and store the plant in a cool, dry place for a few days to allow the roots to dry out.
  3. Place the plant in a container filled with moist potting soil and water thoroughly.
  4. Store the plant in a cool, dark place such as a basement or garage, where temperatures stay above freezing.


Are elephant plants poisonous?

Yes, all parts of the elephant plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation or swelling if ingested. Keep them away from children and pets.

Can elephant plants grow in shade?

While elephant plants prefer full sun, they can tolerate some shade. Just be sure to provide them with at least 4-6 hours of sunlight each day.

When should I fertilize my elephant plants?

Apply a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring through fall). Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is dormant.

In conclusion, growing elephant plants outdoors is an easy way to add a touch of tropical flair to your garden. With proper care and maintenance, these plants can thrive for years and provide a stunning backdrop for other garden features.