Project Taro - Colcasia Elephants Ear Plants - UK

Project Taro - Colcasia Elephants Ear Plants - Growing in the UK

I discovered Elephants Ears a few years back and have grown nursery plants and some from corms in my garden with fairly good results.

There is something very tropical looking about these plants with impressive sized leaves.

They will grow well in the warmer months here in the UK  - Generally its best to cut back and store the roots for winter somewhere warm or ensure they wont get too cold and rot.

I've planted them in pots, in the ground and submerged in ponds - they love water and do well in moist sunny areas. They are an ideal candidate for aquaponics.

Elephant Ears grow quickly and can reach an impressive size - even in just one season.

Here's one I made earlier - a black variety growing a few years back amongst nasturtiums in a pot - these are perfect plants for a tropical feel garden.

What surprises me about these plants in the number of varieties now available - some rarer ornamental strains fetching high prices! - however there is a cheap and cheerful option for growing these stunning architectural plants - as many types of Elephant ear are a staple food in some parts of the World these edible tubers can be purchased from Asian supermarkets very cheaply, just like we would buy potato's - and although intended for consumption these will usually grow with some success. You will require a bit of patience though and they can take a month or two to wake up and start growing.

'Black Coral' Taro

Around the World Elephants Ears seem to have endless names

Some Common Names for Elephant Ears are:




KALO (Hawaii)




They are an important food crop in many parts of the World, a tender herbaceous perennial in the Araceae (arum) family (Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma) NOTE : Not all are edible and most parts require cooking.

One of the most widely grown is C.esculenta, called Taro and many other common names. It has been cultivated in Asia and Polynesia for thousands of years, with over 200 cultivars selected for culinary or ornamental characteristics.

another pretty variety of Taro

So it can be a bit confusing when purchasing the corms for growing - different sized corms are available from golf ball size to much larger.

I recently visited a local vendor - below is what I bought.⬇⬇⬇

the Corms - 3 different types here -  Woh 😲 look at those bigguns!

They were not labelled so really have no idea if different species or just different sizes? But the larger bulbs are massive in size so thinking will become giant plants!

no its not a turnip, Well..I hope it isnt anyway!! - time will tell - these big boys were a bit more expensive


an Elephant Ear or Taro Bulb or tuber  - technically a Corm. Best sprouted early in the spring indoors and then put outside when it warms up -  to extend growing season in the UK

I'm attempting to sprout these with several methods - all indoors in a warm place.

The plan is that once they sprout they can go out - this usually takes 3 to 6 weeks so they should be ready by about May hopefully and I will document the results.

I have just put some in a sealed plastic bag with tiny bit of moisture, some I have placed submerged in a tray of water and others I've put into sphagnum moss or peat moss. They have been placed on top of my fish tank and in the airing cupboard so should be nice and cosy.

Lets see how many grow successfully - Wish me luck 🍀

to be continued...

If you have similar plantings to do then checkout our Rootscape potting media and other soil amendments here

Elephant Ears like a moisture retentive soil so the addition of our bog mix or something like sphagnum moss can help this - perhaps 50/50 with standard potting compost or our Rootscape Complete  - you will want to feed them with a good high potassium feed when they get going too. They like a sunny spot but dont let them dry out - in or near a pond is also good for these unusual beautiful exotic plants.

Taro Corms

part two update HERE