Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Elephant Ears aka African Mask( Alocasia Frydek / micholitziana )

This plant is entirely too cool. I’ve been lusting after one for a long time and found one at the Jerry’s Jungle plant sale.

The correct botanical name is Alocasia micholitziana, but it is often labeled as Alocasia Frydek.

This is a rain forest plant so find a good boggy spot to plant it in, it needs lots of water to do well. But it will rot if left in standing water. So you want wet but not standing water in the spot you plant it.

It is not drought tolerant dying back to the ground in drought, sometimes it will come back when the weather changes, but not always.

It is a tropical plant going dormant when temperatures dip below 55’F and it MUST be protected from frost! If there are no freezes it will come back in the spring. Dig the bulb up and bring it indoors if the weather is going to get into the 30s. Store it in a cool, dark location then replant it in the spring. ( I’m told they winter over in the ground just fine in Houston. )

I did not protect my plant and it died back to the ground for the winter. Late March it started to re-appear. This winter we had several hard freezes and it didn’t show up again until very late May.

You must also protect this plant from the wind. So find a safe nook or spot along a fence to plant it.

Plant in shade to part shade, it will not be happy in the sun.

If you can keep this plant happy it can reach 2′ to 4′ in height with a 5′ spread. It likes shade so plant it under something or some where it will be some protection from the sun.

This plant is native to the Philippines not Africa where they are an important food crop. The starch from these plants is combined with coconut milk in several dishes. Take care because improper cooking can result in illness. If you wish to try cooking, do a bit more research first.

See also:
Black Leaf Elephant Ear