Elephant ears are known for their large variegated leaves that sprout from bulbs. They go by several names, including taro plant and colocasia.
Elephant ears are moisture-loving plants. This means they need more water to grow and achieve a larger overall size. Try to provide them with at least 2 to 3 inches of water per week. Let’s go over the details here.
Elephant Ear Bulb Care
Taking care of elephant ear bulbs is quite easy. The elephant ear bulb should be allowed to dry out between watering sessions.
While it’s true that the plant enjoys a lot of moisture, it should not be overwatered. That could lead to root rot.
Knowing when to water elephant ear bulbs is crucial for success and overall growth. The soil should be kept warm throughout the growth cycle of elephant ear bulbs.
The plant needs about two to three inches of water every week if grown in pots. However, ear bulbs that are planted in the ground will require about 2 inches of water per week.
You should make adjustments for the watering session based on the weather. Do not water the elephant ear bulbs in case of rainfall.
You can also carry out a soil test to see if it’s time to water the plant. Elephant ear plants require more watering sessions in the sunlight.
During excessive sunlight, it may be best to water them every 3 days instead of 7 days. Elephant ear plants become dormant in the colder months and require less water.
In the winter months, the ear bulbs can absorb water through moisture. The plants will be extremely vulnerable during the winter months and require more caring.
If you notice that your elephant ear bulbs are turning color, it means they are getting too cold or over-watering.
Try to water them less frequently in the colder months. There are instances where gardeners may remove elephant ear bulbs in the winter months and save them for the summer months to be replanted in the spring.
Elephant ear bulbs also require the correct doses of nutrients to grow larger leaves with spiffy colors.
The plants are very likely to start wilting if you forget to water them for a few days. Some of the leaves may start to limp with the edges turning a shade of brown.
This is an indication that the plant is dehydrated and needs more water.
The Frequency of Watering Elephant Ear Bulbs
Elephant ear bulbs can be watered more frequently on hotter days. Gardeners in California should pour enough water so that the first two inches of the soil are wet.
Do not allow the soil to get completely dry. The roots should be moist at all times to grow those prized elephant ears.
The frequency of watering the plants depends on how hot and moist the day is. Several tests can be carried out to determine if the plant needs more water.
A quick and often reliable test is to insert your finger two inches into the soil to see if it’s dry or wet. If the soil is dry, you may pour water. If the soil is wet, you need not pour more water.
It may take another two days before the plant requires watering.
Try not to overwater elephant ear bulbs because this would create the ideal conditions for fungus, infections, and root rot.
Only pour the water if the first two inches of the soil are dry. Don’t water your elephant ear bulbs in California if it has rained.
The rain will make the plants too soggy and could even create the ideal conditions for fungal infections.
How to Tell if Your Elephant Ear Bulbs Need Water
It is important to create a schedule for watering elephant ear bulbs. You should also create a schedule to check the moisture level of the elephant ear bulbs.
Make calendar reminders on your phone so that you don’t forget to carry out the test. You should check the soil more freq world in the following cases:
- Warmer temperatures
- Low humidity conditions
- Bright sunlight
Note that overwatering is always worse than underwatering. If you have carried out all the tests to check whether your elephant ear bulbs need watering and aren’t sure if the soil has dried out, it’s better to wait another day to check again.
Let’s discuss a few tests to see if your elephant ear bulbs need water.
Touch the Soil
This is a reliable and affordable way of checking if the elephant ear bulbs are dehydrated. Stick your finger some two to three inches deep into the soil.
Try to feel if the soil is dehydrated or wet. You can water the elephant ear bulbs if the soil feels too dry.
Don’t want to get your hands dirty? Keep reading for other tests to see if it’s time to water your elephant ear bulbs.
Buy a wood chopstick that hasn’t been processed and insert a few inches into the pot. Leave the stick in the soil for a few minutes.
Now remove the strict and observe its color. If the soil sticks to the wood and darkens its color, you don’t need to water the elephant ear bulbs in California.
If the stick is dry as a bone, it’s probably time to water your elephant ear bulbs.
Don’t have soil sticks? You can get a wood dowel about the size of a pencil. Insert the stick and make the same observations.
An advantage of using the soil stick method is that you can insert it deeper into the soil. Plus, you won’t have to get your hands dirty.
Elephant Ear Leaves are Droopy
Elephant ears may start drooping for several reasons. Perhaps you haven’t watered them enough or there is too much sunlight.
In other cases, they may not have received enough fertilizer. It is common for elephant ear bulbs to become droopy if they are too heavy.
Since elephant ear bulbs haven’t reached such a stage of maturity, they shouldn’t get droopy. Droopy leaves are an indication of dehydration.
It is best to water elephant ear bulbs before their leaves start to get brown. You can also test the soil for its moisture content.
If the soil is dry and the leaves are droopy, you have a confirmed case of dehydration.
Observe the Weight of the Soil and Colors
Wet soils are heavier and darker than dry soil. If you have planted the elephant ear bulbs indoors, pick the plant to feel its weight.
If the soil is heavy and dark, it has enough water. You can also observe the edges of the soil to see if it’s pulling away from the pot. If so, it’s time to water your elephant ear bulbs.
It may take some trial and error to get used to this technique. By regularly picking up the potted plant, you’ll know if the elephant ear bulbs in California need watering.
Use a Moisture Meter
Moisture meters are high-tech and more reliable ways of testing if your soil is dry. Simply stick the moisture meter in the soil and observe the scale.
You should insert the moisture deep into the pot (probably 3/4th the length). The moisture levels will be indicated on a dial. They may also be indicated by a color.
Red is usually dry, green is ideal, and blue is too wet. Consult the moisture meter’s manufacturer for more details.
Some moisture meters can also provide you with pH readings and light levels.
Other Care Instructions for Elephant Ear Bulbs
You should ideally plant elephant ear bulbs in the ground in the summer months when there is no risk of frost.
The trick is to plant them as early as possible in the summer months to prevent the likelihood of cold spells.
The ideal temperature of the soil should be about 68ºF. You may plant elephant ear bulbs indoors to protect them from frost.
Indoor elephant ear bulbs should be planted two months before the expected frost date. Tropical plants like elephant ear bulbs require a moist, warm climate to grow.
The bulbs grow best in parietal shade or with filtered sunlight. Mature leaves can tolerate full sunlight. Note that too much shade will result in extremely long stems that may not look aesthetic enough.
Pro tip: When planting elephant ear bulbs, make sure to water them thoroughly so that a puddle forms around the soil. This will allow the plants to settle in, clear out air pockets, and improve the root to soil contact.
So there you have it, a quick lowdown on how often to water elephant ear bulbs in California.
Remember to look up the watering needs of your elephant ear bulb. It is a good idea to create a watering schedule to help you water your elephant ear bulbs.
The most important bit of advice is to regularly observe your elephant ear bulbs. It takes just a few seconds of visually observing them every day to ensure that they are healthy and properly watered.
We hope you found these tips to be useful. If you have any other tips to add or want to share your experiences with elephant ear bulbs, send in your comments!
You may also like:
- Why Is My Elephant Ear Turning Yellow?
- Why Is My Elephant Ear Plant Drooping?
- Why Is My Elephant Ear Plant Dying?
- When To Plant Elephant Ear Bulbs: Zone 6 And 7
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.