Tips on Catching the Elephant Ears Trend from Longfield-Gardens.com

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An exterior décor trend this spring is to use big leafy elephant ears as oversized-exclamations in garden beds or large containers, sometimes both simultaneously. To enjoy their drama in the summer garden, they must be planted in spring, says expert Hans Langeveld.

Elephant ears in pot.

Elephant ears are part of a decor trend this spring.

For drama, place huge pots of elephant ears right into the garden where they become vertical accents amidst the other plants.

This spring, many gardeners are turning to elephant ear plants for drama, placing huge pots of the big-leafed tropical-looking foliage right into the garden where they become vertical accents set amidst the other plants. A second exterior décor trend is to group pots of large elephant ears as versatile accents on patios, decks and balconies.

These spring-planted summer wonders excel as oversized-exclamations in garden beds or large containers, sometimes both simultaneously. Here are some timely tips on planting elephant ears from an expert at Longfield Gardens.

"It’s time to plant elephant ear bulbs when frosts are past and soil is warm, about the time for planting tomatoes, " says Hans Langeveld of Longfield Gardens an online retail source for quality bulbs and perennials

In fact, three different plants are commonly called elephant ears: Alocasia, Colocasia and Xanthosoma. “All three are genera of the plant family Araceae, grow from tuberous roots, and prefer moist soil,” says Langeveld. All three are popular for garden beds, containers and water gardens. Following are tips from Langeveld on catching the elephant ear trend."

  • Alocasia prefers part shade and wet but well-drained soil. Colocasia and Xanthosoma are not picky about light and want their soil moist, even soggy and can be grown in pots without drainage holes. Most potted plants need good drainage, but not these two. They’ll grow fine in any pot, even in pots under water.
  • To tell which is what at a glance, examine the leaves. If the leaves are shiny and heart-shaped with leaf tips pointed up or outward, it’s an alocasia aka the Upright Elephant Ear. Colocasia leaves are also heart-shaped but pointing downward and tend to bob in summer breezes, drooping off resilient stems. Xanthosoma leaves point downward, too, but are typically arrow-shaped.
  • Within the elephant ears group, plant and leaf sizes are highly variable, some are petite and low-growing others are gargantuan and towering, achieving heights of five to ten feet. Whatever their size elephant ears are hugely unappealing to animal pests large and small.
  • For drama, place huge pots of elephant ears right into the garden where they become vertical accents amidst the other plants. Grouped pots of large elephant ears are also versatile tools for exterior décor on patios, decks and balconies.
  • At season’s end, in frost-free zones, leave plants to carry on in the garden. In colder areas, treat the tender bulbs as annuals or save indoors to grow again the following season.

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Jessica Dias
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