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The way to Plant, Develop and Care For Colocasia

Colocasia is among the many large-leafed vegetation that generally go by the title Elephant Ear. They be part of Alocasia in utilizing this nickname. Though the vegetation are comparable, there are some minor variations. Taro is one other moniker that one species of Colocasia claims, referring to its edible corms or roots. 

You will have seen Taro chips within the grocery store, as these fairly white and lightweight purple roots make a beautiful, crunchy chip that’s as fairly as it’s tasty. It can be baked like a potato. It has a barely candy taste, and the feel is denser than a daily potato.

These vegetation are usually solely hardy to Zone 8, however they make nice houseplants, and so long as they’re introduced indoors throughout freezing climate, they make nice container vegetation in case you dwell in a colder local weather. They require average care, however the return in your time funding is a really beautiful plant with spectacular foliage. 

Colocasia Plant Overview

Colocasia Plant Overview

Plant Sort

Herbaceous Perennial


6 with many hybrid varieties

Native Space

Southeast Asia, Africa, and India

Solar Necessities

Full Solar to Half Shade

Soil Sort

Wealthy, Free, Nicely-Drained


Armyworm, Aphids, Whiteflies


Taro Leaf Blight, Dasheen Mosaic

Native Areas and Cultivation

Close-up of a Colocasia plant in a garden. The plant forms thick upright stems with broad leaves radiating from the center. The leaves are heart-shaped, bright green, with prominent veins.
These vegetation have each ornamental and culinary makes use of.

Colocasia vegetation are native to Africa, Southeastern Asia, and India. Along with their ornamental worth, they’ve been extensively grown as a meals supply of their native environments. Varied species have additionally been used traditionally for well being treatments.


Colocasia is an herbaceous perennial. It may be grown as an evergreen in hotter climates, but when the temperature drops under freezing, the foliage will undergo harm, and the plant will finally die again to the bottom.

Don’t fear; the roots are winter hardy in zones 8 and hotter. It’s a member of the Araceae household and is expounded to different vegetation like Caladium and Alocasia.

C. esculenta (Taro)

Close-up of the lush foliage of Colocasia Esculenta in the garden. The plant has large broad leaves. They are heart-shaped, with a glossy or slightly waxy texture. The color of the leaves is dark green with whitish central veins.
The generally discovered decorative selection, referred to as taro, is extensively used for meals and cultivation, with numerous sizes and coloured cultivars.

Taro is probably the most generally discovered decorative Colocasia. It’s harvested as a meals crop in its native japanese Asia and has been extensively hybridized to create cultivars in lots of completely different sizes and colours

Some varieties have virtually black leaves, and others are multicolored, along with fully inexperienced varieties. Most nurseries carry this species. They’re straightforward to take care of and illness resistant. 

C. gigantea ‘Thailand Large’

Close-up of a Colocasia gigantea plant in a sunny garden. The plant has strong stems reaching enormous heights. The stem is thick and dark green in color. The leaves of the giant raser are long and wide. They are heart-shaped with a prominent midrib running through the center. The surface of the leaves has a glossy texture.
The ‘Thailand Large’ is a fast-growing species that may attain spectacular heights and widths.

This species, also referred to as ‘Thailand Large’ Colocasia, can develop as much as 10’ tall and huge, making it an important alternative for a privateness hedge in case you can acquire them.

Gigantea produces fairly, yellow flowers in summer time which have a pleasant perfume. It’s frost-tender, however the heart-shaped, blue-green leaves reappear in spring. This can be a fast-growing species.

C. affinis ‘Jenningsii’

Close-up of a potted plant Colocasia affinis 'Jenningsii' against a blurred background. The plant has small, heart-shaped, glossy green leaves. The leaves have broad purple markings between the veins.
This compact Colocasia is a superb border plant with engaging leaf coloration.

This dwarf Colocasia solely reaches about 18” tall and huge. It makes an important border and has beautiful leaf coloration. The leaves are deep inexperienced to black and are veined with a silvery colour, with a focus of the colour within the heart of the leaves. 

Leaf Formation

Close-up of a large Colocasia leaf in the garden. The leaf is large, flat, wide, arrowhead-shaped with slightly wavy edges. The leaf is bright green in color with protruding veins.
Colocasia has elephant ear-shaped leaves, rising exceptionally giant in numerous shades of inexperienced and purple.

The leaves of Colocasia give it its nickname Elephant Ears. The massive, shield-shaped leaves resemble the ear of an elephant. These leaves can develop exceptionally giant in some varieties, with some leaves reaching as much as 60” lengthy, and are available numerous shades of inexperienced and purple.

The primary distinction between Colocasia and its cousin Alocasia is the course of the leaves. The place Alocasia’s leaves usually level upward, Colocasia has leaves that dangle downward, pointing towards the bottom. They’re closely veined, with the veins emanating outward from the higher heart of the leaf, the place it connects to the stem.


A close-up of the flower of the Colocasia plant among bright green foliage. The flower grows on a tall strong stem called an inflorescence. It consists of a spadix, which is a fleshy, cylindrical structure covered in tiny flowers, and a modified leaf called a spathe, which surrounds and protects the spadix. The spathe is large, showy, creamy yellow.
Colocasia vegetation have flowers which might be typically neglected as a result of emphasis on their decorative leaves.

All Colocasia vegetation are flowering, though the flowers are inclined to take a backseat to the leaves in decorative worth. Some gardeners even take away the flowers, as they will take vitality away from forming bigger, denser foliage. 

The flowers seem in shades of white, yellow, and inexperienced and have the same look to these of a peace lily. They’re aroid-type flowers, with a single giant petal or spathe surrounding a big, central spadix. Most species of Colocasia are pollinated of their native habitat by drosophilid flies.


Close-up of planting Colocasia seedlings in a yellow pot, outdoors. The gardener pours soil from a blue bowl with an orange spatula. The seedlings are small, have purple stems with small heart-shaped green leaves.
Planting Colocasia bulbs entails burying them at appropriate depths and distances in huge holes.

If you’re planting bulbs, bury them about 4” deep and a couple of ft aside for smaller varieties and eight” deep and three’-4’ aside for bigger varieties. Younger vegetation ought to be planted with the foundation ball on the degree of the encircling soil. Dig a gap as deep and twice as huge because the container.

You can too buy pre-rooted Colocasia vegetation from a nursery. Transplant these right into a gap 1.5-2 occasions bigger than the foundation ball. Backfill so the soil stays even at its unique degree.


Colocasia could be very straightforward to propagate, and in case you need to broaden the area the place they’re planted, it may be finished fairly shortly. Propagation could be finished in 3 methods:

  1. Division of the principle corm
  2. Separating offsets
  3. Reducing the tubers

Corm Division

Close-up of several Colocasia Corms on a white wooden table. Tubers are large, rounded, structured, brown. The tubers grow thick, pale green stems.
Dividing the principle corm entails separating it into items with creating eyes and planting them in propagation trays.

This methodology takes probably the most time and has a decrease success charge than others, so it’s usually the least in style. Dividing the principle corm entails digging up the principle corm and dividing it into items.

You should utilize a pointy, sanitized knife to separate the corms. Each bit ought to have a creating eye.

Plant these parts of the corm in propagation trays, keep steady moisture, and look forward to every eye to change into a brand new plant. 

Separating Offsets

Close-up of a tuber of a Colocasia plant with young offsets. The tuber is large, rounded, brown in color. The young offset is a pale green sprout of a tuber growing on the side.
Colocasia vegetation produce offsets that develop smaller when connected however attain the mum or dad plant’s measurement when indifferent.

Colocasia vegetation produce offsets pretty freely. If they continue to be connected, these offsets will usually not develop as giant because the mature portion of the plant. As soon as indifferent and allowed to develop independently, they need to develop as giant because the mum or dad plant.

In case your plant is mature, wholesome, and visibly producing suckers, elevate it from the soil. Use your palms or sharp pruners to take away the offset tuber suckers and replant them in a container similar to their mom plant.

Reducing Tubers

Close-up of a male hand planting cuttings of a Colocasia plant in a starter tray. The starting tray is black, plastic, with square deep cells filled with soil mixture. The cuttings are small cut purple stems with a white center.
Lower a portion of the corm connected to above-ground progress, repot it in pots, and observe regrowth in spring.

If you wish to harvest the roots of your Colocasia (Taro), that is the best propagation methodology. If you dig up your corms on the finish of the season, lower a portion of the corm connected to the above-ground progress.

Re-pot these parts of corm in pots and permit them to develop over the winter. Within the spring, they’ll return as if the corm had not been severed.

The way to Develop

Colocasia is a wetland plant that prefers delicate climates and plenty of humidity. It has been naturalized throughout Florida, the place it might probably change into invasive when not managed correctly. In a container or a temperate local weather, this shouldn’t be an issue.


Close-up of many Colocasia Black Magic potted plants in a sunny garden. The plant is large, forms vertical strong burgundy stems with large broad leaves in the shape of an arrowhead with protruding veins. The leaves are purple in color.
Colocasia thrives in dappled or oblique gentle, with darker leaves needing extra solar.

Whereas some forms of Colocasia can survive in full solar, the perfect gentle circumstances for these vegetation are dappled gentle or vibrant, oblique gentle. As a rule, the darker the leaves, the extra solar the plant will want. Colocasia varieties with very darkish purple leaves will fare higher in full solar than these with brighter inexperienced leaves.

The afternoon solar tends to be hotter and extra intense than the morning solar. For those who dwell in a warmer local weather, give your Colocasia some shelter within the afternoon. You’ll discover the plant changing into droopy and wilted if it will get an excessive amount of direct solar.


Close-up of a leaf of a Colocasia plant with water drops. The leaf is large, wide, flat, heart-shaped. It is variegated and green in color with dark green irregular markings.
These wetland vegetation require considerable watering for persistently moist soil.

Colocasia vegetation want a variety of water. These wetland vegetation must have persistently moist soil. With out sufficient water, it is going to wilt, and the leaves could flip brown. Root rot will not be normally an issue. They will tolerate and actually crave ample watering.

As soon as established, will probably be a bit extra drought-tolerant, because the leaves act as a defend over the soil round them. The shade offered by their very giant leaves helps the soil to retain moisture.


Close-up of a young seedling of a Colocasia plant in a garden on moist soil, ready to be transplanted. A bright red plastic garden shovel is stuck into the soil. The Colocasia plant has upright green stems and medium heart-shaped leaves that are bright green with light green veins.
Colocasia thrives in free, nutrient-rich soil that retains moisture.

The perfect soil kind is free, nutrient-dense, and capable of maintain moisture. Good drainage isn’t unhealthy, however these vegetation can thrive in a swamp, so the principle concern is moisture and vitamins.

A mix of clay or loam with compost and a barely excessive acidity degree would be the most acceptable soil to your Colocasia. Including worm castings to your soil is a superb choice, as they will maintain as much as ten occasions their weight in water.


Close-up of a Colocasia plant in a pot in a sunny garden. The plant has medium, flat, wide leaves, heart-shaped, dark purple, almost black. The leaves are glossy, waxy.
Colocasia is a heavy feeder, benefiting from nutrient-rich soil and common fertilization.

Colocasia is a heavy feeder. It wants a number of vitamins within the soil, so it’s best to counterpoint the soil earlier than planting to present your plant the very best begin. You possibly can fertilize this plant often with out the danger of overdoing it.

A normal 20-20-20 fertilizer could be administered as typically as weekly. Nevertheless, each different week is much less more likely to drain by means of the soil shortly, lowering the danger of unintended fertilizer air pollution in groundwater. 

Local weather and Temperature

Close-up of Colocasia heterochroma 'Dark Shadows' plant in a small clay pot. The plant has large, heart-shaped, bright green leaves with dark purple broad patterns between the veins.
These tropical vegetation thrive in heat climate with excessive humidity, exhibiting probably the most progress between 68°-86°F.

Colocasia like heat climate and plenty of humidity. You will note probably the most progress out of your plant when the temperatures vary from 68°-86°F, however they’re comparatively tolerant of temperatures over 50°F. When the temperature drops under 40°F, count on little progress out of your plant. A frost will do important harm to foliage. 

Most forms of Colocasia are chilly hardy to zone 8, and a few will even overwinter in zone 7 if offered a wholesome layer of mulch to guard the roots. I dwell in zone 8, and whereas my Colocasia vegetation die again within the winter, they arrive again stronger and larger yearly. 

As a houseplant, Colocasia is pleased with indoor temperatures however is more likely to want some supplementary humidity. A humidity degree of fifty% or larger shall be optimum for these vegetation indoors and out. For those who dwell north of zone 8, you may all the time dig up your tubers, carry them inside, and replant them within the spring. 


Close-up of a Colocasia plant in a black pot against a blurred background of a beige wall. The plant has vertical thin stems and medium heart-shaped leaves of bright green with purple veins. The lower leaf is slightly damaged, has yellowish spots and brown dry patches.
Common pruning is necessary for well being and aesthetics.

This plant advantages from common pruning for well being and aesthetic enchantment. Broken leaves can lend an unhealthy look to your plant and invite fungal or bacterial ailments. It’s best to trim off any broken foliage, reducing these stems all the way down to about 2” from the bottom of the plant.

Because the leaves age, they’ll naturally droop. To take care of the plant’s look, trim them off utilizing a clear, sharp blade or a pair of sharp, sterile pruning shears.

In winter, after the primary frost has killed off the foliage, trim off all of the leaves down to about 6” from the bottom of the plant. If allowed to thaw, these leaves will change into smooth and be vulnerable to rotting and inflicting hurt to the foundation system. In preparation for spring, you may take away the final bits of lifeless or dried-out foliage.


A woman's hand holds the leaves of a plant called Colocasia Pharaoh's Mask. Colocasia 'Pharaoh's Mask' has a large arrowhead shaped leaf that is green in color with deep purple veins.
Corms naturally multiply yearly, requiring containment if desired.

Colocasia will multiply yearly, which might change into a nuisance if you wish to preserve them contained. If attainable, new vegetation ought to be faraway from the principle root to forestall them from regrowing through the season.

For those who want to permit them to unfold, they require little or no extra upkeep. Retaining broken foliage trimmed will assist your plant look its finest.

Pests and Illnesses

As soon as established, Colocasia could be very straightforward to take care of. They do enchantment to some frequent backyard pests, however due to the sheer magnitude of the vegetation, as soon as they mature, there may be usually little or no harm finished. 

Prevention is the easiest way to cope with pests and ailments, however generally they occur anyway. It’s good to pay attention to the completely different points your plant could also be affected by in order that what to search for while you buy the plant. Most pests and ailments arrive on new vegetation.

If you’re holding Colocasia as a houseplant, an important factor to do while you suspect a illness or infestation is to isolate it from different vegetation. This can assist to cease the unfold and spare your different houseplants.


Close-up of Armyworm larvae among the green stems of the plant. Armyworm larvae are the caterpillar stage of certain moth species, such as the Spodoptera genus. They have a cylindrical elongated body with a greenish-brown color.
Armyworms feed on Colocasia leaves and could be eliminated by hand or handled with neem oil.

Armyworms are the larval type of the Spodoptera genus of moths. They resemble different caterpillars and like to munch on Colocasia’s tender leaves.

If the infestation is small, it’s finest to take away these bugs by hand and keep away from utilizing chemical compounds. BT, or Bacillus thuringiensis, is a soil micro organism that can also be efficient in treating armyworms.

Eight Noticed Flea Beetles

Close-up of an Eight Spotted Flea Beetle on a green leaf, against a blurry brownish background. This beetle has an elongated oval shape with a slightly flattened body. It is brilliant black in color with eight distinct white spots on the elytra. They have six legs and long antennae.
These small black beetles with white spots resemble ladybugs however feed on vegetation, together with colocasia.

These tiny beetles are solely about ⅛ inch lengthy or shorter. They’re black with 8 white spots on the highest of their wings, making them resemble a backyard hero, the ladybug. These beetles eat vegetation, although, and so they may cause a variety of ugly harm. The grownup beetles create pits and rounded holes within the plant’s foliage.

The pure management for flea beetles is wasps. Nevertheless, the precise wasp that eats the flea beetles is barely discovered within the japanese half of the US. Within the absence of pure predators, insecticidal soaps can eradicate these pests. A spinosad spray is much more efficient; spinosad is one other type of soil micro organism that works as a pure pesticide.


Close-up of an aphid swarm on a green leaf. Aphids are small green insects. Their bodies are soft and pear-shaped, with long antennae and a pair of tubular structures called horns.
Aphids are infamous pests that suck sap from vegetation, depriving them of vitamins.

Maybe probably the most infamous group of backyard pests are the aphids. These tiny sap-sucking bugs use their mouthparts to pierce by means of the leaves of vegetation and feed on the sap. They drain vegetation of vitamins, forsaking unwelcome excrement referred to as honeydew. This gives the right atmosphere for black sooty mould to develop, interfering with photosynthesis.

Ladybugs like to eat aphids and could be mail-ordered. Some nurseries promote them as properly, though launched ladybugs will typically fly away when their meals supply dries up. Neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils will even successfully deal with an aphid infestation. 


Close-up of many whiteflies on a green leaf. Whiteflies are small insects that have white wings and bodies covered with a powdery, waxy substance. Whiteflies have a compact body shape with four wings.
These tiny pests could be attracted by considerable inexperienced progress, generally attributable to excessive nitrogen use.

Whiteflies could present up in case you’re utilizing an excessive amount of nitrogen fertilizer. Whereas nitrogen makes your vegetation bigger and more healthy, that abundance in foliage will even draw extra pests, so it’s necessary to take care of a steadiness in fertilizing frequency.

They largely hang around beneath leaves. Shaking a department is the best solution to detect these little bugs, which is able to fly round when the leaves are jostled. 

Acceptable remedies for whiteflies are neem oil, horticultural oils, and insecticidal soaps. Utilizing these natural remedies within the night is finest to keep away from harming pollinating bugs.


Close-up of thrips on a green leaf. Thrips are tiny thin insects only a few millimeters long. They have an elongated pale yellow body with narrow wings.
Use neem oil and insecticidal soaps to remove thrips.

Thrips are one other small flying insect that sucks the sap out of your vegetation and leaves honeydew behind. They can be discovered feeding on the middle of flowers.

These bugs are so tiny that they’re troublesome to detect till they’ve prompted various harm. Neem oil and insecticidal soaps will remove thrips. The sooty mould attributable to honeydew ought to be wiped away by hand with a smooth fabric.

Hawk Moth

Close-up of Hawk moth, also known as the Sphinx moth, on a narrow long green leaf in a garden, against a blurred green background. It is a large butterfly with intricate patterns on its wings. The insect is colored light brown with dark brown and grayish patterns.
Hawk moth eggs on Colocasia result in leaf-damaging larvae.

The Hawk or Sphinx moth is one other insect that lays eggs on Colocasia, and its larvae feed on the plant, chewing up leaves and damaging foliage. These caterpillars are best handled by guide elimination, though pesticides corresponding to BT will eradicate them as properly.

Taro Leaf Blight

Close-up of a Colocasia plant in a garden affected by Taro Leaf Blight. The plant has large wide middle-shaped leaves of bright green color with wavy edges. The leaves have withering, dry, brown-orange lesions all over.
Taro leaf blight attributable to Phytophthora colocasiae can severely harm vegetation.

This illness is restricted to Colocasia being grown in Hawaii however could be extreme, so it bears mentioning irrespective of how restricted its vary is. Phytophthora colocasiae is the fungus chargeable for taro leaf blight, and it might probably kill as much as half of the plant roots and as much as 95% of leaves if untreated.

Water droplets unfold the fungal spores, and the primary signs are small lesions that quickly broaden and seem like watersoaked. To deal with vegetation, a copper-based fungicide and take away any affected foliage instantly to cease the unfold.

Dasheen Mosaic Illness

Close-up of a Colocasia plant in a garden affected by Dasheen Mosaic Disease. The plant has large broad green leaves with mosaic pale green patterns.
The mosaic illness impacts C. esculenta, transmitted by aphids, inflicting foliage discoloration.

Mosaic illness is a virus with origins in India. It particularly impacts C. esculenta and is transmitted by aphids. It causes discoloration of the foliage, particularly alongside the leaf veins.

There isn’t a remedy for this illness besides to take away the affected plant or vegetation as shortly as attainable to forestall the unfold. Aphid administration is significant on this case as properly. 

Widespread Varieties

These distinctive cultivars will add dazzle to your decorative gardens or houseplants assortment.

‘Blue Hawaii’

Close-up of Colocasia esculenta 'Blue Hawaii' plant in the garden. Colocasia esculenta 'Blue Hawaii' is an attractive cultivar known for its bicolor leaves. The heart-shaped leaves are bright green, veined and have a deep bluish-purple edge. They float gracefully in the wind on long, elegant purple stems.
‘Blue Hawaii’ is a horny cultivar with two-toned foliage. It has vibrant inexperienced leaves edged in bluish-purple.
botanical title

Colocasia esculenta ‘Blue Hawaii’
solar necessities

Half Solar

hardiness zones


This engaging cultivar has two-toned foliage. The intense inexperienced, heart-shaped leaves are veined and edged with a deep bluish-purple.

The plant does produce flowers, however they’re inconspicuous, and it’s usually grown for its showy foliage reasonably than the flowers. The leaves float about within the breeze atop lengthy, swish purple stems.  

This selection shall be happiest partly solar to full solar, with some safety within the afternoon in hotter climates. It has a beautiful tropical look and could be very low upkeep. This selection grows to about 5’ tall with a 2’ unfold.

‘Electrical Blue Gecko’

Close-up of a Colocasia Gecko 'Electric Blue' plant in a black pot outdoors, among other species of Colocasia plants. Colocasia Gecko 'Electric Blue' is a compact plant with unique foliage. The leaves are large, glossy, dark purple. The leaves are wide, heart-shaped with slightly wavy edges.
‘Electrical Blue’ is thought for its distinctive colour, with leaves that may seem black, deep purple, or metallic blue.
botanical title

Colocasia Gecko ‘Electrical Blue’
solar necessities

Half Solar

hardiness zones


The Gecko collection are compact vegetation prized for his or her distinctive colour. The plant will keep decrease to the bottom, reaching about 3’ tall and huge.

‘Electrical Blue’ is a uniquely coloured selection. The leaves generally seem black, deep purple, or metallic blue, relying on how the sunshine hits them. The stems are deep blue, and the plant prefers safety from the afternoon solar. 


Close-up of Colocasia esculenta 'Illustris' plant in the garden. The plant has large leaves that exhibit deep purple to black coloration. The veins and edges of the leaves are bright green. The leaves are wide, reminiscent of elephant ears in shape.
This beautiful selection options deep purple to black foliage with electrical inexperienced veining.
botanical title

Colocasia esculenta ‘Illustris’
solar necessities

Full Solar to Half Solar

hardiness zones


‘Illustris’ is thought for its putting foliage, with deep purple to black leaves. The veining and margins of the leaves are electrical inexperienced, creating an attractive distinction to the deep velvety colour of the foliage.

This selection is award-winning and warmth tolerant. It’s a good midsized plant, maturing between 3’-5’, and is proof against ailments. This selection is thought for its easygoing care. It actually provides a particular contact to a blended container and appears fantastic in a grouping.


botanical title

Colocasia ‘Corede’ PP34,729
solar necessities

Full Solar to Half Solar

hardiness zones


This spectacular hybrid is an actual showoff within the backyard or residence. A bigger cultivar, ‘Redemption’ has flashy and uniquely coloured leaves.

The muse of the leaves is a deep purple-to-black shade, which is putting by itself. ‘Redemption’ goes one step additional with sensible, scorching pink facilities and veining. The leaves are shiny and evenly corrugated.


Close-up of a young plant Colocasia esculenta 'Waikiki' in a large clay pot. The plant has a short stem with a medium heart-shaped leaf of bright green color with a bright white center and pink veins.
C. esculenta ‘Waikiki’ is a compact selection with vibrant inexperienced leaves, white facilities, and pink veining.
botanical title

Colocasia esculenta ‘Waikiki’
solar necessities

Full Solar to Half Solar

hardiness zones


If you wish to add some colour to your backyard, ‘Waikiki’ is the right plant for the job. With a clumping behavior, this selection reaches a compact 3’ tall and huge, making it extra manageable than some bigger varieties.

The massive leaves are vibrant inexperienced with white facilities and vibrant pink veining. ‘Waikiki’ makes a superb grouping or point of interest. 

Ultimate Ideas

Colocasia vegetation make an exquisite, tropical addition to the backyard or houseplant assortment. Many alternative varieties and hybrids are available numerous sizes and intriguing colour combos. These low-maintenance vegetation make an important cover for shade-loving vegetation and may make a putting privateness display screen in groupings.



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