Additional Plant Care
Elephant ear plants can be propagated through division. To do this, carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently shake off the excess soil. Look for natural separations in the rhizome, or underground stem, and use a clean, sharp knife to cut through them. Each section should have at least one leaf and a healthy portion of the rhizome. Dust the cuts with rooting hormone powder to encourage growth, then plant each division in a pot with fresh, well-draining soil. Water thoroughly and keep in a bright, humid location, such as a west or east-facing window, protecting the new plants from direct sunlight until they become established.
The Elephant ear is a tropical plant species that is toxic to both humans and animals. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause skin irritation, swelling, and itching if touched. If ingested, the crystals can cause pain, swelling, and burning of the mouth and throat, and may lead to difficulty swallowing or breathing. It is important to keep Alocasia calidora out of reach of children and pets and to handle it with care when pruning or repotting.
To repot an Elephant ear plant, choose a new pot that is only slightly bigger than the old one. Fill the new pot with fresh potting soil and make a hole in the middle that is deep enough for the root ball. Carefully take the plant out of its pot, being careful not to hurt the roots. Loosen any roots that are tangled and cut off any roots that are dead or sick. Place the plant in the new pot, making sure the top of the root ball is even with the top of the potting soil. Fill in any holes around the roots with more soil and gently press down to secure the plant. Water it well and place it where it will get bright, indirect light.
Elephant Ear plants can get quite big, and their leaves are very large. By cutting them back, you can control their size and shape. When new growth comes out in the spring is the best time to prune. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to cut the stem just above a node or a leaf, leaving a small stub. You can also cut off the old or yellowing leaves at the base. To keep the plant from getting hurt, don't take off more than a third of it at a time. It's also important to wear gloves and stay away from the sap, which can irritate the skin.
To fertilize an Elephant ear plant, it is best to use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilize the plant every two weeks from spring to early fall, when it is growing. Dilute the fertilizer according to the instructions on the packaging and water the plant with the solution. Be careful not to give the plant too much fertilizer. This can hurt the roots and cause the leaves to burn. Additionally, it is recommended to water the plant with plain water before and after fertilizing to prevent fertilizer buildup in the soil.
The Elephant ear likes well-drained soil that holds some water but not too much. The best way to make light, airy soil that drains well is to mix peat moss, perlite, and regular potting soil together. Adding sand or coarse gravel can help drainage even more. It is important to keep the soil moist, but not too wet, because too much water can cause the roots to rot.