Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris' is also known by the common names; taro and elephant ear.
Elephant ear plants have been used in cultivation for many thousands of years are likely to be native to South-East Asia. They are widely used in tropical plantings due to their stunning big bold leaves that are iconically jungle in effect. Colocasia esculenta are herbaceous perennials that grow at a tremendous rate through the growing season, constantly sending out new foliage creating an impressive tropical display.
The most important thing to know when growing Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris' is that they love to be spoilt with water and nutrients, keep the colocasia well-watered and feed plenty. In simple terms the more water and food - the bigger the Colocasia. Colocasias grow very well as a marginal plant around ponds and water features, and are perfectly happy grown in shallow water. The elephant ear will be happy in full sun but will tolerate fairly shady situations too.
The Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris' with it's dark foliage creates a fantastic contrast amongst other jungle plants such as the Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) or a Ginger Lilly (Hedychium coronarium). For a foliage plant in tropical planting areas or for a touch of tropical around ponds and water features few are more effective than the colocasia esculenta.
Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris' will die back around the time of the first frosts. At this time the plant can be cut back and the bulbs lifted and stored dry for winter. Or if the soil is well-drained the colocasia can be cut down and mulched over, which should adequately protect the bulb for winter. Alternatively pot them up prior to the weather turning cold and over-winter them indoors as an indoor plant.
Fertilizer is essential for Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris' to get the very best from the plant, as is the case with most jungle plants. Click on Foliar Feed for our own formulated fertilizer, perfect for encouraging healthy strong foliage.
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