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

April 8, 2014

Where to plant Elephant Ears in Phoenix, Arizona

I've had Elephant Ears here in The Tropical Paradise for many years now. As usual, I am always experimenting, and any plant like this, that grows from a bulb, is pretty easy to experiment with. That is, just put it in the ground somewhere and wait. I have planted dozens all over the garden and the ones that don't survive, well, I forget about. The ones that do, teach me where they should be and how to care for them. The one in the photo is doing particularly well.

• Plant Elephant Ears on the east side of your house. The north side is too cold, the south side is too hot, and the west side is waaaay too hot. And if you're new to the Phoenix area and are wondering what I mean by *too cold* on the north side, consider that this is a desert, and that most of the growth of this plant happens in the winter. It's tropical, so it doesn't like cold. And by that I mean anything that is even close to freezing.

• Give your Elephant Ears shade. The one in the photo gets shade from the house and also from the tree. Note that there is some dappled sunlight. It's a plant, after all, it can't live in the dark!

• Plant your Elephant Ears in rich soil with plenty of water. I often say that my plants aren't really in Arizona, they are planted in potting soil in holes dug in Arizona. Dig the native soil out, move it elsewhere and fill with potting soil. Get the good stuff. Add some coffee grounds from Starbucks, you can get that free. Put in a lot of slow-release plant food and water with Miracle-Gro a lot. Then water some more, and give it more plant food.

I wish that I could give you some sense of scale to the trunk of this plant. It's a darn tree trunk! Biggest I've ever seen. And this plant just went in the ground a year ago. And that's the way it is with Elephant Ears - when they do well, they are magnificent!
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