Elephant Ear Black Magic Taro

April 21, 2016 in Flowers and Bulbs by Christine

Elephant Ear Black Magic Taro Details

Black Magic Elephant Ear Taro Colocasia Esculenta

Elephant ear Black Magic or Colocasia Esculenta is a tuberous perennial plant with large heart shaped leaves in purple or black colour.

It can create excellent contrast, when planted among plants with green leaves especially lime coloured leaves. The plant belongs to genus Colocasia commonly called Taro. It loves wet conditions and is well suited to grow in boggy areas or in shallow ponds or as the margins of a water garden. It can also be grown in normal garden soil or in containers with proper potting mixture and good drainage.

Description

The plants with about 36 inches long, purple or black leaf stalks suspend large leaves. The underside of the leaves is dusted with chalky powder giving the plant a grey look. The leaves are hairless and have a glossy look. The plant grows well in subtropical and tropical areas. The Elephant ear grows in clumps and spreads developing tubers or offsets. The plant grows well in acidic or mildly acidic, wet soil. The flowers of the plants are sterile and do not produce seeds.

Growing conditions Elephant Ear Black Magic

The plant requires moist soil and partial shade to grow well. Excessive cold can damage the plant.

  • It is vital to plant them in areas where they will be protected from strong winds.
  • It will require regular watering when planted in normal garden soil.
  • Avoid dry out periods between watering.
  • You need to space the plants at a distance of 36 to 48 inches to ensure proper growth. The soil pH preferred is between 5.6 and 6.5.
  • The plant requires rich organic soil with lots of composted nutrients.

Propagation Elephant Ear Black Magic

You can divide the tubers or collect the offsets or use the separated new plants to start new clump. During the growing season, new leaves are continuously produced by the plants as the old leaves die off. The plant grows well during the hot season and slows down leaf production as the day length decreases. The tubers grow above the soil over time and hence it needs to be re-planted at the ideal depth of 4 inches every few years.

How to plant Elephant Ear ?

Position the Elephant Ear plants in lightly shaded areas and place the plants in the soil in such a way that the base of the plant is in level with the soil bed. Plant the bulbs at a depth of 4 to 8 inches with the roots of the tubers pointing downwards. Water the plants generously after planting. Within 3-8 weeks, the plant will show top growth. The speed of growth will depend on the amount of moisture and warmth present in the soil. The plant will go to the dormant state after the growth period. The next growing season will start within a few months.

Maintenance

Black Magic plants require less maintenance. However, they are heavy feeders and may require fertiliser applications during the growing season. The best preferred fertiliser is half strength 20-20- 20 fertiliser. Apply fertiliser within a gap of three weeks.

Common problems 

The most common diseases and pests that affect Elephant Ear plants are soft rot, bacterial blight, and dasheen mosaic caused by viruses, aphid attacks, spider mites and white flies.

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