Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Black Leaf Elephant Ear Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’




I just acquired this plant from the Mercer Sale a couple of weeks ago.

This is a hybrid Colocasia. It can reach 5′ tall with a 5′ spread. It can tolerate high moisture, so you can use it in damp areas of your yard or in swale gardens. It can be invasive so keep an eye on it.

It will also do ok in dry areas and not spread as much. I’m finding that like a Peace Lily it wilts when dry. Try not to let it dry out.  It prefers medium to damp soil. Not drought tolerant, you will need to keep it moist in the summer.

It will grow in full sun to part shade, doing best with some shade here in Houston.

It handles summer heat well, but died after the freezes last winter. Also you’ll need to keep it on the dry side in winter to keep the bulbs from rotting.

I tried planting one as a bulb last winter but the bulb turned to mush. The bulbs will rot in cold, wet locations. It is difficult to tell which end of the bulb is which on this plant. When in doubt with a bulb plant it on its side and it’ll send everything in the right direction.

This is a rapidly growing plant, start small it’ll get to full size in one or two seasons.

It does have spathe-like flowers but rarely blooms except in the wild.

It is also used as a root vegetable, like a potato in its native climates. It has been grown as a food source for over 10,000 years.   It was brought over to the US during the slave trade days as a food source for slaves.  Today it is not used much as a food source.

More information:
Floridata: Colocasia esculenta

See also:
Elephant Ears, African Mask