According to Better Homes and Gardens gardening expert, Roger Fox, elephant ears (Alocasia species) need adequate warmth and humidity to grow indoors as they’re native to tropical areas.
“Ideally, temperatures need to be above 15°C year round, and plants will benefit from a misting with water to increase humidity around the foliage,” says Roger.
Indoors, elephant ears need moderately bright light, but Roger recommends avoiding direct sunlight on their leaves in summer, “as this can cause foliage burn”.
Elephant ears like the soil to be constantly moist, so during the warm months of the year, you’ll need to water them frequently.
If in doubt, says Roger, “check the soil moisture with your finger, and water when the top couple of centimetres feels dry. During winter, water less frequently.”
During spring and summer, feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer, or apply slow-release fertiliser granules at the start of spring.
Roger’s trouble shooting tips
- It’s common for leaves to die back periodically, especially during winter – cut them off at the base, with sharp scissors or secateurs.
- The large-sized leaves need to be kept clean of dust, so they stay healthy and look attractive – wipe them with a damp cloth from time to time.
Caring for your elephant ears outdoors
According to Roger, Alocasias (and closely related Colocasias) need a frost-free climate, and a position in light shade or dappled sunlight.
“They can also be grown in large pots, filled with a premium quality potting mix, and watered frequently through summer. They look great mixed in with ferns”, he said.
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