Elephant ear plants are the most common type of plants found in practically every garden. This is because they are not seasonal and thrive all year round. This makes these leaves and flowers beautiful to grow at home.
These plants are broad and majestic, but if you have noticed your elephant ear plant developing white spots or turning yellow, you have a problem to deal with. These are indications that your plant is struggling and the discoloration needs immediate attention. To ensure that your plant stays healthy and has a long life, you must provide it with the proper care.
Why Does My Elephant Ear Plant Have White Spots
Elephant ear plants are not only captivating, but there is something special about their deep green color. These plants are great to keep indoors as well as outdoors. The elephant ear plant is also perfect for beginner gardeners just learning to take care of their garden.
However, it can be alarming to notice your beloved plant changing colors and developing white spots on its leaves. There are many reasons why this can happen, some of which are graver than others. Here are some things to pay attention to:
1. Life Cycle
If your elephant ear plant starts to change color or develops white spots, the first thing you need to consider is its life cycle. Some plants will start to change color because of the time they have been around. The older leaves become a different color or develop white spots before eventually shedding and giving way to new plants.
This process is 100 percent natural, so there is not much for you to worry about. It is how plants work, and new plants grow. All you have to do during this time is ensure that your elephant ear plant gets the correct temperature that will allow it to thrive.
If you live in a cold region, we recommend covering your plants with mulch to ensure they remain protected from the harsh dropping temperatures.
2. Incorrect Temperature
Have you noticed that your elephant ear plant looks less green every day? Before you stress out, the temperature could be to blame. Usually, when these plants have been exposed to cold air, they change color- they become yellow or get spotty.
You might think keeping your plants indoors is a good idea, but you cannot rule out the air conditioning as it will expose the elephant ear plant to a cold breeze. The elephant ear plant belongs to the Southeast Asia tropics, so it thrives in warmer temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the colder months, keeping your plant indoors with the heating on will ensure they do not go limp or change color. You can also occasionally mist them while providing them with the necessary humidity.
3. Thrips and Bugs
Did you know thrips are the most common bugs affecting outdoor plants? They cause the leaves of the plant to become spotty, dry, and pale and may also lead to the plant’s death if you are not careful. Usually, thrips can be found when the landscape gets too tall.
If you want to get rid of thrips on your elephant ear plant, start by removing the grass and weeds. This will ensure that the bugs do not remain in the garden for too long and infect other plants.
Moreover, we recommend keeping a close eye on your plant and ensuring that pests are not feasting on it. Catching damage early and changing your water routine will ensure that your elephant ear plant recovers.
You can also use pesticides on your plant to get rid of insects and larvae. This will ensure that the number of thrips on your plant drastically reduces. Neem oil and insecticidal soap also work wonders if you do not want to use a chemical pesticide.
4. Direct Sunlight
We have already mentioned that the elephant ear plant loves the heat. However, this does not mean that you can leave your plant in direct sunlight. These plants like filtered light instead of direct light from the sun, which can result in the discoloration of their leaves.
When put in direct sunlight, the leaves start burning. The light could also make them develop a crispy texture, and let’s admit it; there is nothing worse.
However, remember that the solution is not keeping your plants in a fully shaded area, as this can also cause discoloration. The worst idea is to keep your elephant ear plant in the dark without allowing sunlight to reach it. Sunlight helps with photosynthesis, allowing plants to make their food. If your plant does not get sufficient sunlight, it will starve and die.
If you notice that your plant is not getting sufficient sunlight, we recommend moving it to a better spot in your home or garden. This will help perk up the plant instantly and ensure it gets rid of all its white spots and discoloration.
5. Not Watering Properly
Another reason your elephant ear plant might be developing white spots is because of the frequency at which it is watered. Underwatering and overwatering the plant can cause the leaves to develop white and yellow spots before changing the plant’s color completely.
When you overwater your plant, it starts to suffocate and cannot absorb the nutrients it needs to thrive and stay alive. Similarly, when the plant is underwatered, it cannot carry nutrients and starts to starve.
Understanding whether you are over or under-watering your plant can be difficult. However, there is an easy solution to the problem- you must look at the soil. Use your finger to reach a few inches below the ground to determine the plant’s moisture levels before it has been watered. If the soil is dry, you need to water it more. If wet, do not water the elephant ear plant for a few days.
Remember, elephant ear plants require 2 to 3 inches of water per week. Once you manage to fix its water supply, it will start to become green again.
6. Spider Mites
Spider mites are creepy bugs that hide behind the leaves of an elephant ear plant. They make side webs along the plant so that they can disappear if anyone tries to attack them. When these bugs start feasting on your plant, the leaves will develop white spots.
You can use insecticidal soap to ensure spider mites do not return and attack your plant. All you have to do is lather up the soap in a bucket of water and then use a dip cloth to wipe down the mixture on each leave. This technique will help eliminate the spider mites once and for all.
7. White Mold
Commonly called powdery mildew, white mold is a fungal disease that causes an elephant ear plant to develop white spots. The mold can attack some leaves and the entire plant, including the flowers if you do not notice it in time. White mold is terrible for your plants; if it is not treated in time, it can spread throughout your garden.
While mold damages your plant’s health, it does not allow the process of photosynthesis to take place, weakening the plants and causing the leaves to wither over time.
The main reason why plants develop white mold is because of low airflow. If you place the elephant ear plant in an area with limited airflow and high humidity, white mold will start to grow on it. These conditions are usually present in overcrowded spaces that do not allow air circulation and when you overwater the plants in your garden.
To get rid of white mold on your plant, you can use some neem oil as a natural insecticide. All you have to do is mix the oil in half-gallon water and spray it on the leaves until you find the mold disappearing.
You can also use vinegar as a natural insecticide. Vinegar helps eliminate all the mold and white spots from the leaves of the elephant ear plant. Take some water and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to it. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and spray your plant liberally to remove every last trace of mold. You might have to do this for a few days till you see a difference in your plant.
If you find that your elephant ear plant is developing white spots, determining the cause of the problem will help tremendously. Make sure always to monitor your plant’s living conditions so that you can ensure that it is getting the right care and nutrition.
If all the plant’s needs are met, it will grow and prosper into one of the most beautiful plants you have ever seen. After all, the elephant ear plant is a luxurious, glorious plant that looks magnificent when it is healthy and thriving.
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- Why are my elephant ear leaves turning brown [5 reasons & fixes]
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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.