Originating in tropical Southeast Asia, this popular elephant's ear (Alocasia amazonica, part of the Alocasia genus) is a striking and beautiful houseplant, with deep green leaves accentuated by whitish or light green leaf veins. It's a hybrid that has become a fairly popular ornamental house plant and is one of the easiest to find and buy. The leaves are roughly serrated, and in some cases, the leaf color appears as an almost purple-green.
They are fleshy, truly tropical plants that grow from underground corms. It is a flowering houseplant that typically grows as an evergreen, which is defined as a plant that retains leaves throughout the year.
Please take caution!! This is one of the many poisonous houseplants you may have in your home, so keep away from children and pets that may eat or bite at the plant.
Here are tips on growing the Amazon elephant's ear:
- Light: Bright, indirect light. They can survive in 80 percent shade but prefer about 60 percent shade. Do not expose to strong, direct sunlight.
- Water: Like most alocasias, the Amazon elephant's ear likes wet feet. Keep the potting media moist at all times. A rest period should be allowed in winter by allowing the soil to become almost dry between waterings and stop fertilizing. If it dries completely it may go dormant, however, it will recuperate in a month or two, with good care.
- Temperature: This is a tropical plant that will go dormant or die if exposed to cold. Do not let temperature remain under 50º Fahrenheit. If the plant does go dormant, you may be able to dig up the corm and save it until warmer conditions are possible.
- Humidity: These plants like slightly higher humidity levels than many other plants. You may need to raise the humidity levels in a room artificially by placing the plant in a humidity tray with pebbles or use a humidifier.
- Soil: These plants like a fast-draining, well-aerated potting soil.
- Fertilizer: Feed with a diluted balanced fertilizer from spring every 2 weeks and stop at the end of August then start again at the beginning of spring.
Amazon elephant's ears are best propagated by division during repotting. In a very healthy specimen with multiple stems, corms can be dug up from the existing pot and repotted into smaller pots.
A well-grown plant may need yearly repotting. Keep in mind, however, that these plants like to be slightly underpotted for best foliage development.
Overall the Elephant's Ear is usually not prone to pests, but if they should appear, spray the plant with a soapy water mixture twice a day.
These are excellent houseplants. Amazon elephant ears are striking, and their dramatic two-tone leaf coloration is unique. However, they are truly tropical plants, which means they appreciate lots of warmth, humidity, and water. A large specimen may grow up to 3 feet, but most are smaller. Cut away dead and dying leaves for the best presentation, and keep an eye out for mites.