Enormous Elephant Ear

I’ve been tied to the computer getting work done and haven’t had a chance to get my hands dirty the past few days. Today was the first day I’ve been able to come up for air but it rained all day. I don’t want to say I hate rain with it being God’s handiwork and all, but rain and cold give me the blues. It was 90+ yesterday, one of the hottest days of the year, and today it felt like 60.

Someone recently bought the corner building near us and brought in a ton of plants, everything from sod to full grown trees. It looks really, really nice. I asked the landscaper for the empty pots, and he was nice enough to save a bunch of them for me (thank you, thank you, thank you). I’m using them to divide my perennials now so that I’ll have extra plants next spring.

I dragged the landscaper over here the other morning to talk garden. I’ve promised to give him one of the elephant ear baby bulbs from this plant 09-02-08 (4)

It did okay this year, but for the last two years the leaves were twice as big as they are this year Elephant Ear_2006 This year they didn’t get close to the top of the fence, and in 2006 it grew higher than the top of the fence.

The biggest difference is that I used Miracle Grow then and just water this year, not even any compost. The elephant ear seems to like massive amounts of water. Makes sense since it can be used as a pond plant. This year the bulb went out a little later than usual which might also account for the smaller size. I’m sure if we had a longer growing season it would get bigger. In the warmer climates they can be kept outside all year around. Here we have to dig them up and store them before the bulb freezes. A pain, but you’re rewarded with baby bulbs.

There were about seven baby bulbs from last year. I only kept this one and I gave away the others to my co-FreeCyclers. I asked the guy that I gave the biggest bulb to send me a picture this month. Hope he remembers.

I can’t say enough good things about FreeCycle. I love finding a bargain, and the best bargain is no cost, free, zip, nada, gratis, bubkis…you get the idea.

Plus it’s a green thing. You keep perfectly good stuff out of the landfill., and people give away a little of everything from dishes to dish washers. I’ve given away and received lots of plants. I like to feel there’s a little me scattered all over the city. I even got dirt, but that was through Craigslist, which is also good. Love it, love it, love it.

If there comes a time when you can’t palm off your extra plants to your friends and neighbors, try giving them away through these organizations.

Happy Gardening!!!!



  1. Denise said,

    August 11, 2009 at 3:04 am

    I have some elephant ears that I planted this spring. They are now up to seven feet tall. I have not ever seen any this big, is this normal?

  2. Denise said,

    August 11, 2009 at 3:13 am

    I got some elephant ear bulbs from my sister this spring and planted some at my mother’s and in my own yard. They are doing very good. Mother’s plants are 3-4 feet tall. My sisters are about 4 feet tall. But mine have reallly grown, they are 7 feet tall! Is this normal? I have never seen any this big before.

    • gardengoodies said,

      August 11, 2009 at 8:04 am

      Seven feet tall is HUGE!! I’d say in my best year the top leaf was about five feet tall. You must be doing everything right to get them to grow that big.

      I waited so late this year to plant mine. Right now it’s only about a foot tall. What’s your secret? Are you fertilizing? Did you plant the bulb really deep/kinda shallow? Are you getting lots of sun? What kind of soil do you have them in? How big were your original bulbs?

  3. Denise said,

    August 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I planted the bulbs pretty shallow. I have watered them fairly often and nothing else. They are still growing and are now 7′ 11″ tall!
    I have a picture of my 17 year old son next to them and it looks amazing.

    • gardengoodies said,

      August 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

      That’s so impressive. If you’ve got a blog, I’d love to visit it and see your pics.

  4. Jenny said,

    May 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

    HI! I googled Elephant Ears and clicked on your blog…. Thank you for the information!! 🙂 I am going to use my just purchased elephant ears to go around my deck. How far from the deck should they be planted? Will the fact that I am in Toronto affect their size?
    Thanks in advanced!

    • gardengoodies said,

      May 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      Hi, Jenny:

      The area that I planted the bulb in is about four feet by four feet. The first bulb I planted (second picture) was close to the size of a softball. The biggest offspring from that plant is the bulb that got planted the next year in the first picture. I kind of centered the bulb in the planting area, but even with the two feet of clearance, I think the leaves on the fence side could have used more room. So, I think the more room you give them, the bigger they’ll get. I’ve got no idea about the temps in Toronto, but if you have a short growing season and it’s too cool to plant them outside now, you can start them in containers and transplant them later (before they get too many leaves on them, though).

      Good luck. I hope they grow well for you.

  5. Chris M. said,

    August 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    My Elephant Ear is 7 feet. I have used no fertilizers. I am running the condensate drain from my home a/c onto the plant base.

  6. judy conley said,

    August 20, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    i live in a trailer court in grand rapids michigan and some neighbors have this huge plant growing in their front yard and every time i drive around i am amazed at how big this thing is getting one of my friends said it looks like a huge sun flower so today i stopped to ask the people that live there and they said they couldn’t remember the name of the plant but they had ordered it from california and they had gotten two plants but one died i am enclosing a picture of this plant it is over 7 ft now and still growing my question is how would we protect it from the cold or do we have to replant every year and where are the bulbs you were talking about

    • August 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi, Judy:

      I don’t think you’re able to link pictures to the comments, so I’m not sure what plant you have. Elephant ears will get pretty big, so maybe that is the plant you’re looking at, although I’ve never seen one with a bloom like the sun flower head. If it is an elephant ear, since your weather is pretty much like ours with very cold winters I would dig the bulb up just to insure that it won’t freeze. Here’s a link to what the bulbs look like (https://cherylsgardengoodies.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/siamese-elephant-has-seven-offspring/) from the one I dug up.

      You dig up the plant after the first frost (or before if you like) and store the bulbs in something like peat moss, although I just stored mine in the basement in a bag. If you dig them early, let the leaves dry out before cutting the bulb off (helps feed the bulb). To get a jump start on the next season, you can start them indoors and then plant them out when the weather warms up. If you plant them outside too early (cool weather) they take forever to start growing.

      Hope that helps a little

  7. Becca said,

    August 28, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Hi, I’m pretty sure the plant i have is an elephant ear plant, it looks identical to the plant that i clicked on to get to this page, but mine has a flower… it is yellow, and at the bottom of the flower it looks like a corn cob and at the top it it just sort of smooth… started out green then opened up to a yellow sort of pod you might call it…. is this plant called an elephant ear plant, or might it be something else?

    • August 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

      Looks like you definitely have an elephant ear and did very well with it. I never even knew they bloomed. I did a search and found pictures. The blooms look exactly as you described.

      Elephant Ear Bloom

      (you can copy and paste the link into your browser)

      Wow. I learned something new.

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