Colocasia are a close relative to the Alocasia and are the more commonly referred to "Elephant Ears". These big beauties are native to southeastern Asia and can grow leaves up to 5' in length. Through hybridization and cultivation, Colocasia now come in a vast number of colors and patterns. Those that have the room for multiple varieties can really put on a show!
Colocasia do best in a well lit, bright area, with a few hours of direct sunlight throughout the day. The ideal temperature for Colocasia growth is 65-90 degrees F, while they don't tend to do well in temps below 50 for more than a few days.
For watering, Colocasia prefer and do best when they are kept evenly moist at all times. Never allow them to fully dry out, as you will quickly see wilting, leaf browning and shriveling. Once an Colocasia leaf starts to droop, bend or brown, there is usually very little hope in saving it. An evenly moist soil is best, and a planter with drainage is a great option so that excess water does not pool at the the bottom of the pot, causing root issues. Check the soil every 3-4 days and water as needed. If the top inch or so of the soil is dry, your Colocasia could most likely use a drink. We find it best to check with your finger, as opposed to relying on a moisture meter. They can often times be quite inaccurate.
While it is not completely necessary, you can use a general purpose, high quality fertilizer from Spring through Fall. We recommend diluting the fertilizer to about 50% strength. Fish Head Farms soil conditioner is a great option to use year round to provide essential nutrients and promote strong, healthy growth.
A loose, well draining soil or soilless mix is ideal. A peat based mixture with lots of perlite, vermiculite or sand will do the trick. For a pre-mixed formula, we find that a Cactus/Succulent blend is perfect!
Colocasias are moderate growers, especially once they are established. We recommend repotting every year, but only if they are noticeably pot bound. Even then, you only want to move up 2" or so in pot sizes to reduce stress. This should be done in the Spring or early Summer months. If you have just recently purchased your plant, do not repot it for at least 6 months.
Average household humidity levels are not generally enough for Colocasia. Tanks, Terrariums and Domes provide fantastic humidity levels. Just be careful with your watering, as the soil will take much longer to dry out and could potentially cause root issues. Humidifiers near and around your Colocasia collection is generally the best way to go about raising the relative humidity and will prevent leaf browning, shriveling and dying off.
The most common pest issues for Colocasia include Mealy Bugs and Red Spider Mites, however, Thrip and even Scale Bugs can cause issues. It is always best practice to isolate any new plants you bring in to your home for a few weeks to watch for little pests. For help and tips on prevention and treatment of pests, see our At Home Pest Recipes here!
If you have any more questions, or need further assistance, please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email!