Best grown in fertile, humusy, organically rich, medium to wet soils in part shade or filtered sun. When growing plants in garden soils, provide regular moisture, especially during dry summer periods, and do not allow soils to dry out. Plants may also be grown as pond marginals in up to 6″ of standing water. Plants produce prodigious amounts of growth and appreciate regular fertilization during the growing season. Site plants in locations protected form strong winds. Tubers may be left in the ground year-round in USDA Zones 8-10.
Colocasia esculenta, commonly called elephant’s ear, is a tuberous, stemless, frost-tender perennial of the arum family (see also calla lily and jack-in-the-pulpit) which typically grows 3-6′ tall and as wide. For gardeners, it is primarily grown as a foliage plant with huge, heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped, conspicuously-veined, downward-pointing, peltate leaves (to 2′ long) on long, stout, succulent stems. As the common name suggests, each leaf purportedly resembles an elephant’s ear. Calla lily-like flowers with yellowish-white spathes and spadixes are infrequently produced and usually hidden by the foliage when they do occur. This species is also commercially grown as a food crop in Hawaii (poi is made from the tubers) where it is commonly called taro.
Common Name: taro
Native Range: Tropical eastern Asia
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Annual, Rain Garden
Tolerate: Wet Soil