How Much Sunlight Does An Elephant Ear Plant Need

Here’s something that sets elephant ears apart from the rest of the plants in your garden. It doesn’t need to be combined with anything else and can stand on its own as a solo plant. The best part about owning this plant is that you can also grow it indoors.

The velvety surface texture further gives it an edge over other varieties in your garden. So, how much sunlight does an elephant ear plant need? Let’s get right into it.

Elephant Ear Plant Shape

When you think of an elephant ear plant, all that comes to mind are green tropical forests that add character to your gardens. You might have come across some of this plant’s most prominent shapes: arrows and hearts.

After all, it is for this reason that these Victorian-era plants have come this far to become the most sought-after exotic plants in the United States and the rest of the world.

How Much Sunlight Does An Elephant Ear Plant Need?

The amount of sunlight a typical elephant ear plant needs can vary. While most plants require filtered shade or sun, others thrive in full sunlight.

If the leaves of your plant are greener, they might have a higher tolerance for sunlight. However, the leaves may require filtered shade or light if they appear darker than they should.

Outdoor Plants

Plants accustomed to outdoor conditions often require higher levels of sun exposure. The same is the case with your elephant ear plant.

Exposing it to afternoon shade is your best bet if you live in a hotter region. However, you might want to consider moving it into a container in cooler regions. This way, you can move it into a greenhouse during winter.

Indoor Plants

Indoor plants do not require as much exposure to direct sunlight as outdoor plants. Instead, they prefer indirect light. However, it is essential to water it with filtered water regularly, or it might begin wilting.

Under the proper care and conditions, this plant can grow up to a height of six feet. Nonetheless, it’s an eye-catcher and will undoubtedly add energy to your surroundings.

How to Plant and Care for Elephant Ear Plants

Choose the Right Spot

One of the most important things to ensure is that the plantation site shouldn’t have dry soil, especially in summer. You can also make the soil more organic by adding ground bark, manure, or compost.

Furthermore, you want to ensure that the location is sheltered so strong winds don’t destroy the leaves. Elephant ear plants aren’t accustomed to growing in cold conditions. Their sensitivity to frost makes it hard for them to survive in extreme weather.

Get Large Tubers

Firm and large tubers work best to ensure your elephant ear plant grows well. However, the size of the tuber also depends on how big the leaves and the overall plant are. The larger the leaves and tubers, the more aesthetically pleasing the foliage.

When to Plant Elephant Ear Plants

It’s best to wait for the winter season to pass. Spring to early summer is the right time to grow an elephant ear plant. Since they emerge from subtropical regions, elephant ear plants love the heat. Hence, you want to ensure that your soil isn’t too dry and has warmed to the right temperature.

Whether planning to plant a large or a medium-sized plant, know they require adequate space to grow. The distance will vary based on the size of the plant, but medium-sized plants should be at least 45 centimeters apart.

How to Care For It

The first step involves taking care of the soil. If it’s too dry, your elephant ear plant won’t survive. Watering it regularly is the key to ensuring that it retains moisture and stays healthy.

You should also use a liquid fertilizer every few weeks to ensure it blooms brilliantly. If you’re planting it in a pot, ensure a depth of at least 2.5 centimeters.

Since elephant ear plants are known to produce fresh leaves throughout the season, you won’t have to worry about older leaves falling off.

Unfortunately, these plants don’t grow well or survive in cold temperatures. Hence, you want to store them before the spring season arrives. Start by removing extra soil from the tubers. Store them in a dark and warm place with temperatures between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.

Do Elephant Ear Plants Die In Winter?

Here’s something you probably did not know about these plants. They might not have the tools to survive during winter, but it doesn’t mean they have died permanently. This is the beauty of having an elephant ear plant.

Even if you see the leaves falling off or turning brown, don’t worry. The plant is only prepping for its much-needed winter slumber.

At this point, it’s vital that you cut the foliage off and avoid watering the plant until fresh shoots grow in spring again. Whether or not your plant has gone dormant, you shouldn’t overwater it in the cold.

Are Elephant Ear Plants Toxic?

If you have an elephant ear plant in your house, make sure to keep your pets away from it. The oxalic acid in these plants can result in fatal swelling in the mouth and throat. Unless you want to see your pet throwing up and undergoing irritation, you should keep it far away from them.

In many places across the world, it is also considered unsafe for human consumption. Interestingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Asian countries. People widely consume it after ensuring that the cooking heat kills the toxins.

What Happens If Your Plant Gets Too Much Sunlight?

As with every other plant, the elephant ear plant also comes with its requirements. From the right temperature to lighting conditions, you want to ensure that everything aligns well with what a typical ear plant requires to thrive.

If you expose certain parts of the plant to more sunlight than they need, you may see them wilting and burning. On the other hand, exposing them to extremely low light levels will cause yellowing.

When the leaves are too large, they can also be prone to drooping. This is where you want to ensure proper staking to support them.

You may also want to look into the fertilizer amount and quality you’ve used. You can make your elephant ear plant grow to its full capacity by maintaining the right balance of light, water, and fertilizer.

Overwatering vs Underwatering the Plant

Your plant will fail to absorb healthy nutrients if you overwater it. In short, your plant will suffocate.

On the other hand, underwatering will also affect its ability to absorb the required nutrients. Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether you’re overwatering or underwatering your plant.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this confusion. You can start by determining how much moisture there is in the soil. Insert your finger a few inches deep, and you can tell whether the soil is moist or dry.

However, you only want to do this before watering. It is easier to determine if the plant is underwatered than overwatered. This is because it is possible to reverse the former condition but not the latter.

If you have done the latter, place the pot on a dish that can gather all the extra water. You might also want to leave it alone for a few days if it still seems moist following the finger test. Excessively wet soil usually dries out on its own, but ensure not to water it again.

What Causes Root Damage in An Elephant Ear Plant?

One of the most prominent causes of root damage in this plant is the size of the pot. Your plant will likely grow out of it if the pot is too small. Furthermore, the lack of nutrition, oxygen, and water due to the small pot size can cause discoloration and eventual wilting.

Hence, if you notice the outgrowth, consider repotting it, as it will restore the plant’s health. Keep an eye on the roots, and repot the plant frequently.

If the roots appear dark, it may be due to rotting. If a foul smell accompanies it, it may signal that you should discard the plant.

Tea Cup Elephant Ear Live Plant - Colocasia esculenta - Wellspring Gardens Starter Plant

Final Words

So, how much sunlight does an elephant ear plant need? In a nutshell, not too much and not too little. The plant is known to thrive in summer and heat-inducing conditions.

However, it doesn’t do well with too much direct sunlight exposure. The trick is to keep it in the shade and provide indirect light, whether it is an outdoor or an indoor plant. Keep a regular check on the watering practices along with repotting. Due to inadequate care, it doesn’t take long for these plants to outgrow the pot or wilt.