This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 27, 2013

Growing Elephant Ears in the desert

Elephant Ears (colocasia) love heat, and the desert gives them a lot of that. Unfortunately, they really don't like too much direct sunshine, and they really, really, don't like cold. So where the Elephant Ears have been the most successful here in The Tropical Paradise is along an east-facing wall.

I've had these in the ground for several seasons now, and this past January, with the terrible frost, they were frozen right down to the ground. I thought that they were gonners, but they started popping back up this past month. So much so that I have been thinning them.

Elephant Ears like this get very big, with leaves a couple of feet across, so this season I am going to try to control them a bit more. As you can see, I have added some stepping stones to make it easier for me to get around them. Any plants that pop up too close to the stepping stones are immediately dug out with a sharp chisel. It does no good to cut them, as they just grow back. So you have to dig down and pull them out. Mostly I am just throwing the little ones away, but the bigger ones I am potting up. Don't know where I will plant them, but it just pains me to throw them all away.

This view, by the way, was taken by leaning out of my dining room window. By summer, these plants are tall enough to block the window, and last year the crowding was pretty awful. Gonna keep an eye on them this year. I also think that by thinning them, I will enough these plants to grow even bigger. I'm a man, you know, and we get a big kick out of growing gigantic plants!

OK, so this is what they need - shade, water and fertilizer. I use the little plant food spikes from the Dollar Store and give them a watering with Miracle Grow and Super Thrive every once in a while. You really can't overwater them, they love to have their "feet wet". And did I mention a lot of water? Water them. A lot. Then stand back!
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