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Can Elephant Ears Grow Inside? Tips, Tricks, And How-To Guide

Elephant’s Ear

Elephant Ears are a type of tropical perennial plant. They typically grow outside because they grow large leaves instead of flowers. These large leaves can grow to be 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, but they don’t grow to their full size in colder climates.

Although Elephant Ears are typically grown outside, it is possible to grow these plants inside as well. In fact, many avid Elephant Ear growers bring these plants inside every winter. The trick is knowing how to care for Elephant Ears inside. After all, their leaves are ginormous.

Learn exactly how to grow Elephant Ears inside with the following tips, tricks, and how-to guide.

garden flower dividerCan Elephant Ears Grow Inside?

Before we jump into the how-to guide, it’s important to understand that Elephant Ears can grow inside. Of course, you will have to carefully mimic the plant’s natural environment inside your home. Depending on where you live, replicating this environment may be easier inside your home than outside.

Here is a list of Elephant Ear species that can be grown inside:
  • Black magic
  • Blue Hawaii
  • Coffee cups
  • Illustris
  • Lime zinger
  • Mojito

Things To Consider Before Growing Elephant Ears Inside

Before you immediately get excited about growing Elephant Ears inside, there are a few factors you need to consider before making the decision. These factors will help you to decide if an Elephant Ear plant is right for the inside of your home.

For starters, Elephant Ears grow to be very large. You need a lot of space for this plant as a result. If you have a small home and do not have enough space for a plant of this size, it’s best to go with a different plant type entirely.

Something else to consider is that Elephant Ears are toxic to both humans and animals. If you have small children and animals in your household, Elephant Ears might not be the choice for you. That’s not to say you can’t buy these plants, it just means you need to be cautious.

How To Grow Elephant Ears Indoors

If you decide that an Elephant Ear is right for your home, here is what to do:

1. Growing Elephant Ears From The Seed

If you are growing Elephant Ears from the seed, get a seed-starting mix and sprinkle the Elephant Ear seeds on top. Then, sprinkle more of the starting mix on top of that, but don’t fully cover the seeds with the mix.

Spray the top with a misting bottle so that the soil gets damp but not soggy. Continue to spray the soil so that it maintains this dampness. Place the tray in an area where there is bright, indirect light. You can see seedlings start to appear as soon as three weeks, but some may take as long as three months to start sprouting.


2. Propagating Elephant Ears

If you want to propagate Elephant Ears instead, it’s best to use the division method. At the end of the fall growing season, dig up a tuber or corm. Make sure to wear gloves so that you don’t get sap on you. Use a sterile knife to divide the tuber so that each division has one growth node.

Cut through the corm and allow it to dry. It will eventually scab over while it is sitting on a tray. Make sure it stays dry at room temperature and out of direct sunlight during this time. This should take about a week or so.

Once the divisions are completely dry, put the root in a piece of newspaper and store it in a cool, dry spot. A box or paper bag will work great. Keep the division here until spring. Whenever it warms up, plant the tuber roots with the nodes facing up. As for the rhizome roots, plant them with the pointy side up.

If you are planting the propagated Elephant Ears inside, you don’t have to wait until the spring. You can simply pot them after a week or two.


3. Repotting Elephant Ears

If you are repotting an Elephant Ear, you need to get an extra-large container and potting mix designed to hold moisture. Potting mix with a high amount of organic matter is best.


4. Replicate the Plant’s Native Temperature and Humidity

No matter how you get the Elephant Ears inside your home, you want to replicate the plant’s native environment as best as possible. The plants need a temperature of 55°F–80°F. The humidity levels need to be medium to high.

Room temperature is warm enough for this plant, but you will likely need to increase humidity. You can put a humidifier around the plant or mist the plant frequently to ensure it gets enough humidity.


5. Get the Soil Conditions Rights

You also need to make sure the soil conditions are right for your potted Elephant Ear. Select a humus-type soil that is moist. Make sure that there is a lot of organic matter and that the soil is well-draining. The pot needs to have a lot of drainage holes as well.

To further ensure that the soil has the nutrients your Elephant Ear needs, select a slow-release fertilizer. Fertilize the plant three times a year, but make sure the fertilizer stays about 6 inches away from the base. Always use high-quality fertilizers that do not contain heavy salts.


6. Place the Plant in the Best Spot

Once the plant is potted, you need to put the pot in the best location. Elephant Ears have pretty specific light requirements. They prefer bright lights, but the light needs to be indirect. If you put the plant in direct sunlight, the leaves will get burnt.

To further prevent leaf burning, it’s a good idea to rotate the plant in the same spot. That way, all sides of the plants get an equal amount of light.


7. Water Routinely

Elephant Ears need a lot of water, but this is especially true for indoor plants. They must be consistently watered because the soil needs to be damp at all times. Ideally, the top inch of the soil is dry, but the rest is damp. Consistently check on the soil to make sure it has enough moisture.


8. Pruning And Maintenance

During the growing season, Elephant Ears will continue growing new leaves, but old leaves will die too. Make sure to prune back the old leaves so your plant looks vibrant. All you need to do is snip off the leaves near the base. Make sure the cut is clean and straight.

You also need to keep a close eye on pests and diseases. Elephant Ears are pretty hardy and not susceptible to many diseases, but they can still get sick. Fungal leaf blight is the most common disease, as are pythium rot and spider mites. Keep a close eye on your Elephant Ear so that you can treat it if diseases and pests show up.

trees & plants divider

Other Tips for Growing Elephant Ears Inside: Signs Of Trouble

Knowing the signs that your Elephant Ear needs help can help you maintain its vibrant appearance and health. Here are some common problems you may find with Elephant Ears and what to do about them.

Yellow Leaves

If you notice that your Elephant Ears leaves are yellow, you will need to adjust its fertilizer, sunlight, and water levels. Try to figure out exactly what is causing these yellow leaves by changing the amount of each one of these nutrients one at a time.

Pale, Small Leaves

Leaves can become pale and small if they need more light, nutrients, or water. Slowly provide your plant with more of these nutrients until it gets its vibrancy back.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves signify that the nutrient levels are off or that the leaves are simply too heavy. Adjust the nutrient levels and use stakes to prop the leaves up for the time being.

Wilting Leaves

Wilting leaves can mean one of two things. Either the plant is getting too much sun and heat, or it is getting not enough water. Move your plant to a shadier spot and start watering the plant more frequently until it becomes vibrant again.

garden flower dividerFinal Thoughts

Elephant Ears are beautiful, large plants. Though they are frequently grown outside because of their size, you can bring them inside. Just make sure this plant is right for you by considering its size and toxicity first.

If you decide that an Elephant Ear is right for the inside of your home, growing these plants is not too difficult. Follow the guide above in order to provide your Elephant Ear with the best indoor environment.


Featured Image Credit: hoaihungtv, Pixabay

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