How to Separate Elephant Ears

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Elephant Ears, or Colocasia esculenta, can grow into massive clumps of huge green leaves if left unattended. Although very attractive to some people, they can be considered invasive in certain parts of the country, particularly if there is an abundance of rain or if they are growing at the edge of a lake or river. To keep these Elephant Ears under control, it is possible to separate them and either transplant them or give them away. Elephant Ears grow from a tuber, which makes the job of separation rather easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Established Elephant Ears
  • Flowerpots
  • Small shears

Separating Elephant Ears

  • Dig up the whole clump of plants that you want to separate. If you grow them in a flowerpot, they will not proliferate as much but will still need to be separated at times. The separation should be done in the middle of the winter when most of the leaves have died away and the plant is nearly dormant.

  • Break up the tubers of the Elephant Ears with your hands. The tubers will be kind of tough, and you may need to pull them apart firmly. An alternative is to use a small pair of shears to separate them.

  • Look for growing buds to use for transplants or as gifts, as they will do the best. However, nearly all of the tubers will regrow if you put them in soil. Any tubers that you intend to actively grow should be planted about 4 to 6 inches deep in the ground. If planting in a flowerpot, place a small amount of soil, about 2 or 3 inches, below the tubers.

  • Pack the soil lightly around the tubers and give them a small amount of water on the first day, just enough to dampen the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant in a loamy soil, with partial shade and plenty of water, for optimal results. These plants are not particular about the composition of the soil they are planted in, the amount of sun or shade they receive or the amount of water they get.
  • Fertilization is not necessary, as Elephant Ears will grow rather rapidly on their own.

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