July 19, 2015
Growing Elephant Ears in Phoenix, Arizona
Yes, you can grow Elephant Ears in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I've had them here in Glendale (a suburb of Phoenix) for many years, and they all started from tiny sprouts that a friend of mine from Los Angeles gave me. I planted them all over the yard (I'm experimenting mostly!) and while most of them failed, shriveled up and died, many did survive, and they continue to grow. I've drawn some conclusions, and this is what I know so far:
• Plant them in the deepest shade you have. This one is shaded not only by the house, but by an olive tree above it. They love heat, but they hate sun! In the wild, these are understory plants.
• Give them water. A lot. I use an automatic watering system here, and I also give my Elephant Ears extra water, by hand. You can't overwater them, they're practically water plants!
• Give them fertilizer. I give them slow release dry fertilizer, both Osmocote and those ordinary plant spikes that you get at the Dollar Store, and I mix Miracle-Gro with Super Thrive with their additional water.
• Thin. Thinning is a term that is used by gardeners who grow carrots, etc. It just means to pull up the smaller plants and give preferential treatment to the bigger ones. If you don't do that, instead of having one big plant, you'll have a lot of small ones. It's kind'a like weeding, except really it's called thinning.
Here in the Phoenix area we get wonderful thunderstorms in the summer and Elephant Ears love them! So this plant, which is still only a couple of feet tall, will be twice as big by late summer. I'll let you know how it does.
Posted by Brad Hall