Elephant ears make me smile

Published 8:03 pm Saturday, April 16, 2016

Every once in a while I plant something that makes me smile.  Two years ago I invested thirty dollars into three giant elephant ear bulbs. The plan was to drop them into a large bed of mondograss flanking my garage wall — hoping for a bold statement against a big blank space. That first summer my elephant ears were large, but it was the second summer that blew me away. The heart shaped foliage was huge, and they reached above the eave. They made my little courtyard a tropical retreat.

Elephant ears grow from tubers. They love sun to part shade, water and fertilizer. Most elephant ears are perennials and will come back every summer. Mine are already at the knee-high height and hopefully are targeting my eave line.

Grow elephant ears in a mass planting for a big show of texture and color, or use one as a specimen for a striking accent. They thrive in pots and will work well in water gardens if placed in submerged containers.   They combine well with the flashy foliage of other tropicals such as bananas, cannas and crinums.

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I’m looking forward to watching mine grow this summer. That thirty dollar investment was a bargain for all the smiles brought to my face. Elephant ear bulbs are available at our local garden centers — buy yourself some smiles too.


Rebecca Bates is director of the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service. To contact her, call 601-835-3460.