Elephant ear: houseplant of the month for September
Looking for something exotic and impressive? Elephant ear transforms every interior into an Asiatic oasis with a hint of mystery.
Theatrical, a touch mysterious and undoubtedly a personality: you can’t easily overlook Elephant ear (Alocasia). It’s an elegant plant that stands out immediately thanks to the large, heart-shaped leaves which can be 20 to 90 cm long and can have fantastic veins and markings. There’s a species with spots on stems, one with long wavy coloured leaves and a compact variety for those who don’t have much space but still want to bring a little piece of Asia into their home.
Yin & Yang
Elephant ear’s large size combined with the heart-shaped leaves make it a plant that has both a masculine and feminine appearance. It thereby fits perfectly into the current interiors trend in which balance plays a leading role. Not too much decoration, a few features, a balance between natural and artificial materials, plants as the essential linking element. If you follow this style, you should place a green giant like elephant ear in a pot with soft colours or a cute pattern to achieve the desired style effect.
The more leaf surface a plant has, the more oxygen it can produce. That makes elephant ear with its enormous leaves a top O2 producer that contributes to a pleasant indoor climate.
Caring for elephant ear
- Elephant ear likes a light and spacious position, so that it can properly unfurl its leaves.
- Don’t allow the soil to dry out – Elephant ear is a thirsty plant that likes slightly damp soil.
- Give it some plant food twice a month in the summer. Once a month is enough in winter.
- Elephant ear loves to be popped under the shower or summer rainfall for a rinse from time to time.
- As an inhabitant of the tropical rainforest, it likes damp air: placing the cachepot in an attractive bowl of water that evaporates around it is great for the elephant ear, and also looks good.
- When the bottom leaf becomes less attractive, cut it off 4 cm from the base. This encourages the growth of new leaves.
Elephant ear is a member of the Araceae family and is native to tropical and subtropical Asia and eastern Australia. There are 79 known species. Fossil remains indicate that it was already growing on earth in prehistoric times. The leaves are often used as an alternative umbrella during a downpour: both people and animals like to shelter under them, and the starch-rich rhizomes are also eaten.
Elephant ear trivia
- A flowering Elephant ear – when a flower spike appears – is often a sign that the plant is not doing well. To save the plant’s energy, it’s best to remove the flower.
- The plant has been a popular houseplant since the 1950s, and can live as long as you do with the right care.
- In Asia the plant is known as ‘the great protector’, and indoors Elephant ear also has a very reassuring and calming appearance thanks to the large leaves.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 31 August 2017