Elephant ear plants, known as Colocasia and Alocasia, lend an exotic appeal to landscapes and indoor spaces. The large flapping leaves are showier than the flowers.
Elephant ear plants fill up vertical space in the garden with large leaves shaped like an arrow. Leaves come in shades of green and purple.
The elephant ear plant rarely flowers, according to the University of Florida. When flowers are produced, green-yellow spathes appear in summer. The flower stem is shorter than the leaf stalk and is usually overshadowed by the showy leaves.
Alocasia and Colocasia
One way to differentiate plants from Alocasia and Colocasia genera is by their fruit. Species of Alocasia produce fruits that are orange or red and have no scent. Fruits of Colocasia are not brightly colored but have a strong odor.
Elephant ear plants do not tolerate drought or salinity. Colocasia species prefer wetter conditions than species of Alocasia, and are commonly planted near water gardens. The rhizome of Alocasia is prone to rot if conditions are too moist.