Elephant ears gone foul?

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by Hibert, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Hibert

    Hibert Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    East Tennessee, United States
    Hello. I am new here and also new at outdoor plant growing.
    I have an elephant ear I put in the ground the first of June. It is sprouting leaves but something is wrong. The leaves are yellow with patches of darker green, and some of the little new leaves are black around the edges as well as yellow. The leaves also have a bunch of very small brown spots all over them. Help!! I want to take care of these and get them growing good. Any advice anyone could give me would be appreciated!
    Thanks!
    Hibert
     
  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    Sounds like they're staying too wet (what's the soil like.. lots of clay?), possibly being watered too often for the soil, and need some gritty gravelly stuff to help them drain faster. And at this point because you're seeing black edges, you need a fungicide drench and possibly a move to a better location (cutting back the black slimy roots you might find at the time).
     
  3. Hibert

    Hibert Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    East Tennessee, United States
    Thanks Rima.
    Yes, the plant is in a lot of clay. I put Miracle grow in the hole that I dug up to put it in, but clay everywhere else. I too wondered about the water issue. I know they like so much water though, I am not sure how often to water them. Up until 3 days ago, we were not getting any rain at all. The "ears" are in full sun, so I thought, water, water, water. We reach at least 90 degrees or above about every day.
    I was looking at them today, and I think I was wrong about the black edged little leaves. Those little leaves, I don't think they are leaves at all. They are on something I think the big leaves came out of. The big leaves look like mabee something is eating them. But, they are brown on the edges. It really might have a fungus. I will work with them. Definately cut back on the water too!
    Thanks again!
    Hibert
     
  4. chowntown

    chowntown Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Hibert,

    Those Colocasia would probably prefer a shady spot - they start to yellow and then turn brown which causes the plant to be stressed out and suseptible to dieseaes/bugs.
    Good luck with it though!

    -Eric
     
  5. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    I think something's actually rotting there and you might want to consider moving them altogether. Putting MG in the soil one time when planting won't cut the clay effect, nor will digging in a little more of something else, or just using a one-time drench. If the roots have gone bad, they need to come off and it needs to be replanted in a better environment all around.
     
  6. Hibert

    Hibert Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    East Tennessee, United States
    Wow! Thanks Eric and Rima. I was just all wrong about these plants. Well I was told wrong I guess is how to put it. My instructions for them was full sun and lots of water. Hmm. I do have a nice flower garden in front of my house with very black dirt. (We just moved here recently). I gave my neighbor some azealia(sp) bushes that were planted right on top of the foundation, and she commented on how good that soil was. I have planted several different plants in this soil and it is black as far as I have dug so far.
    Mabee the ears would like it there. This garden is huge and I do need some plants for the sizable shady area in that garden. I guess I will move them over there.
    Another thing mabee one of you could help me with. In this same garden, but in full sun, I have a bathroom window that is exposed to all the neighbors and traffic. Very uncouth! The window is right in the shower. Need I explain more?!!
    I am looking for a small tree or large shrub that will grow at least 9 or 10 feet tall to cover that window from everyone. It needs to be able to withstand full all day sun. I would also like something unique or something decorative that looks pretty. I thought about pompas grass. I think they are pretty. Is it doable to put a bush like that on top of your house?
    Well sorry to type such a long message. I have so many questions! Mabee by the time I have got all my knowledge together from you all, I will have a knock-out yard for the whole neighborhood to see!! We'll see!
    Thanks again!
    Hibert
     
  7. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Hibert--I started growing colocasias last summer, and really have enjoyed them. I have found them to love all the water and fertilizer they can be given...and I have grown them in full sun also...just never let them suffer for water!

    My one problem with them has been spider mites...a pest that I've never seen outdoors on anything in my garden before. The mites can reach high numbers on the undersides of the leaves before they are noticed, but cause the translucent sort of patches you might be getting. Have a look before you go moving the plant...
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,138
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    This sounds like a problem for a vet. Is the rest of the elephant OK, or is it just its ears that are sprouting leaves? Check for impacted earwax, and syringe if necessary. Also inspect the trunk carefully for blockage.
     
  9. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    Have you never seen how they grow them for food???? you would realise that they will take all the water you can give them!
    I have most of mine growing IN the pond, they are huge. They love full sun, heat and food. plant them in full manure, with loads of water.
    Don't put them in shade, that won't help them, Alocasia prefers a little shade, as it is an understory plant, colocasia or Taro or Elephants ear will not like it. This applies to all of the varieties of colocasia. (black, green and in between)
     
  10. Hibert

    Hibert Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    East Tennessee, United States
    ***UPDATE***
    Hi everyone! I have good news on my plant! I left it as it was in the heat and full sun. It is doing great! He has all kinds of new leaves that are absolutely huge! What I was told in the start was true. Lots of sun and water, water, water!! Thanks for all the replies you all sent.
    Hibert
     
  11. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    I'm glad that it worked out for you. Water, food ,and sun. Makes me feel good also.
     
  12. Debra Dunaway

    Debra Dunaway Active Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Interior BC, CANADA
    I grow mine also right IN the pond, but the absolute best place for them is in a ditch, sheltered and moist.
     
  13. Debra Dunaway

    Debra Dunaway Active Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Interior BC, CANADA
    Hee hee Michael, I like your reply the best! Cheers mate!
     
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Do you know for sure if this plant is an alocasia or a colocasia? Quite different plants. Colocasias don't normally get as large as many alocasias. But not all alocasias get real big either. You might try the database for Aroidia Research and see if you can ID the plant. A lot of colocasias get fair sized but also love a ton of water. I have them growing in a pond as well as on the edge. As a general rule colocasias will take quite a bit of sun but not alocasias will. Best thing to do is to try to find out for sure what you are growing and then give it what it wants. Likely the most popular of all the colocasias is Colocasia esculenta which can produce leaves that are almost black. It really loves sun and water but you'd still be better if you gave it very loose soil. Many alocasias simply hate clay.
     
  15. kbs

    kbs Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    wilson USA
    I am having the same trouble. I live in NC and just planted a new plant. It has been in the ground for 2 weeks and when I planted it ....it was very hearty and healthy. I broke up the soil and added miracle gro potting soil in with it. Watered it. It was fine until a few days ago. Now the edges are black and curling up. We water it daily. It gets full sun....90 and above. Help ....I dont want to lose it!!! Need help!
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    And the "full sun" may be the problem. As a group, Alocasia sp. prefer filtered light. Xanthosoma sp. will sometimes tolerate full sun but it is important you know the species in order to determine how to plant and care for that species. The big round "bulbs" you often buy at discount stores and home care stores are normally a Xanthosoma, but there is no guarantee what the species or genus might be. And they rarely tell you the species, they just call them "elephant ears"! I asked at our local store what the species was and was told it was an "elephant ear". That term does not mean anything! It is a truly bad term for plant lovers!

    Another important thing to consider. Most of these species come from tropical climates although some can be found in China where they will receive colder weather. In Arkansas many of the "bulb" types along with Alocasia odora will come back up year after year as long as we don't receive temps below 10 to 15 degrees or so. Below that, and they will most likely not survive the winter. As a result of being tropical, or semi-tropical, they need well draining soil. They don't like to sit in mud. If your soil is of a muddy consistence the excess water is simply working against you. Gardners know it as "wet feet".

    You did not specify what type of soil these were in but I'd attempt to move them to an area where they will receive filtered light and amend the soil with peat moss. A little Perlite™ added to the soil won't hurt either since it will absorb the excess soil and give it back as the plant needs the moisture. The peat will also hold moisture, which this group enjoys, but it will allow them to drain quickly.

    I'd certainly go back where you bought the plant and ask what the species may be? And don't settle for "elephant ear". Problem is, unless you bought these at a good nursery, you'll likely get a blank look. Most people who work in the garden centers at discount stores don't know a petunia from an Alocasia! (Sorry if you work at one of those places, but I ask questions all the time and rarely get a good answer.) "Elephant ear" means absolutely nothing other than the leaves grow large. And that could be thousands of species from a large number of genus!

    You can attempt doing a search for Alocasia or Xanthosoma species on the net but I just checked TROPICOS (a service of the Missouri Botanical Garden) and there are hundreds and hundreds of species of either! A check of the Aroidia Research site might reveal something or give you a clue: http://aroidiaresearch.org/

    I know people get tired of people like me harping on knowing the scientific name of your plants rather than only a common name, but if you do not know the species name there is very little you can do to learn how to care for that species correctly when a problem pops up. With the scientific name we can look up exactly where the plant originates, the type of soil and moisture it grows in naturally, how much sunlight it needs or does not need, what temperatures it will tolerate and a great deal more.
     
  17. kbs

    kbs Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    wilson USA
    Thanks!!! I am for sure not a master gardener.....but I do save my cards that come with plants....so here is the exact name!!! P Colocasia A Illustris !!! Zone 7 Full Sun H= 30" W=30". Astriking green-black Taro with bold tropical_____????? Useful as an aquatic or marginal plant. (4.1 qt. plant bucket)

    I dug the hole twice as wide and deep, mixed some potting soil with fertilizer in with some dirt. planted it and watered it. It was fine for a week. Now it is brown and the edges are curling up!! Let me know what you think!!! Thanks!!
     
  18. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Sounds like your tag was created by a hybridizer. That simply means the species is a cross between species.

    The base species is Colocasia esculenta. There are many variations of this species and it is known to readily change its own form. By the way, hybridizers love to sort of "make-up" their own names in order to grant themselves some protection.

    This is a stately but small relative of the Alocasia My guess is you have one that can grow either green or black leaves. The species loves to grow in or along the edge of a bog or pond so it tolerates a lot of water. In our Exotic Rainforest we grow C. esculenta near our waterfall where the roots can soak in the stream, as well as on both edges of the pond. The plant can reach a height of approximately 4 feet and the leaves have a velvety black, almost blue look if they are happy. They also have a slippery texture that causes rainwater to simply roll off.

    In Hawaii and other parts of Polynesia this species is known as Black Taro and is used as a food source. If you've ever been to a Hawaiian feast you've eaten it! The plant quickly evolves into natural hybrids and in Hawaii there are over 100 varieties. As a result you likely do not have the actual original form of the plant but it is still considered Colocasia esculenta. In the islands the leaves, stems and roots are all boiled and eaten. Often they wrap the leaves around pork and chicken. In the Caribbean one variation is known as "dasheen". The plant contains oxalate crystals just like many other plants including philodendrons. If you read many pet sites and child (s)care sites on the web you'll often find this plant is supposed to contain a "deadly poison". I always get a kick out of those claims since Polynesians eat them every day! I have an explanation on my website about the "deadly poison" (oxalate crystals) should you be interested in learning more.

    Now, for your problem. The plant can be grown in full sun but it actually prefers filtered sunlight. I grow them outdoors here in Zone 7 during the summer but they always die once we get a freeze. Most of mine are grown in a tropical atrium. They need a very loose soil mixture to prosper. Although it is perfectly fine to keep them wet, they will do better in a soil which contains a lot of peat moss, and I mean a lot! Think of the soil in a bog! That is exactly what they prefer. I don't know what kind of soil you have but if it has clay in it the plant just won't do well or prosper. Add a "bunch" of peat and Perliteâ„¢ to your soil mixture.

    Here's a link for more information:

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Colocasia esculenta large pc.html

    Generally, this one is easy to care for. I'm just not sure about the claim it will grow in Zone 7.

    .
     
  19. kbs

    kbs Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    wilson USA
    Thanks .....you really know your stuff!!! will it hurt if I dig it up and add peatmoss? I try whatever you tell me!!!
     
  20. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    "Know your stuff", well, I just like to read a lot! And I grow over 300 tropical species, some quite rare, in a tropical atrium. To be honest, most of what I know was taught to me by people who have studied this kind of thing all their lives. People like aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, aroid botanist Dr. Eduardo Gonçalves from Brazil, Julius Boos of the International Aroid Society (who I believe has a photographic memory), botanist Pete Boyce from SE Asia and a bunch of others. Among aroiders (and your plant is an aroid) there is a kinship which makes others want to pass along knowledge and information. That is all I try to do, simply help. I'm hardly an "expert". I just know how to fake it!

    As for digging it up, certainly. Do it! But if you have it in direct sunlight move it somewhere that will make it need to reach for the sun. With this species there is a tendency to stay smaller in full sun. In filtered light they will stretch and reach for the sunlight and when they do they become much more impressive. Colocasia esculenta , or at least some forms, is a beautiful plant species. But it can be fragile. And slugs will destroy the look of the plant by leaving a gooey trail on the leaves. They love to try to eat it, so put some slug bait out!

    I'd recommend you get some good peat and a bag of Perlite™, both are inexpensive. Dig your new hole in a lightly shaded area and put the plant with the dirt that clings to the roots in that hole. Then fill the hole with the new mix, avoid adding clay. I'd say 35% good potting soil, 35% peat, and 30% Perlite™ should just about do it! Keep it damp all the time. In Florida I used to grow the plant in a small stream in my backyard. The stream was artificial and had less than 1 inch of soil. The plant did great!

    You should soon begin to see the plant put off stolens, which most people would call runners. Those new stolens can be replanted and will soon grow a new plant. I started with one bunch bought at a Florida nursery in 1997 and now have bunches and bunches. We moved it half way across the country! I sometimes give it away! It can be prolific.

    You didn't say where in Zone 7 you live, but in my personal experience I would bring the plant indoors in a pot during the coldest portion of the winter. If you live in the lower parts of Zone 7 it might recover, but it will certainly go dormant once you receive a freeze. In upper Zone 7, like 7b where we are, I've never seen it survive a winter out doors, although the local home improvement stores sell it as a plant suitable for our area. I think that is simply wishful thinking on the part of the hybridizer. That does not mean it can't survive, but generally the plant is known to survive only light winters, not hard freezes.

    Hope that helps!
     
  21. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    I just reread this entire thread. And Michael F, I LOVED YOUR POST! Earwax? That is exactly the way I feel about using the name "Elephant ears". Poor elephant!
     
  22. kbs

    kbs Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    wilson USA
    Thank you so much....I will give it a shot!! By the way I live in NC! I just registered today and am learning how to do this "web stuff" on this site. You have been so kind to help with very thorough information!!! I will definately report in to you!! I hope I don't see any earwax!! LOL!!!
     
  23. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Along with all the other good people on UBC, glad to try to help!
     
  24. BunkyX

    BunkyX Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Titusville, Florida, USA
    Now you guys are confusing me! Thisnpicture is what I call an Elephant Ear. And it is quite invasive. I pull up dozens every time I do yard work.
    Gene
     

    Attached Files:

  25. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    And that is precisely the point. The species in your photo is a Xanthosoma sp. With only one photo, and no photo of the spathe and spadix, I can't guess which species. But Xanthosoma sp., Philodendron sp., Colocasia sp., Anthurium sp. and Alocasia sp. all get the common name "Elephant Ear". That could easily be 4000 to 5000 different plants!

    Read this link and you'll better understand:

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=28328

    By the way, many Xanthosoma sp. are used as a food source. The tuber can be boiled, fried, pureed, and cooking in many other ways. In Miami people buy them in the super market! You can find them in any big (or small) grocery store.
     

Share This Page