Most gardeners keep Elephant Ear plants because of their beautiful leaves, but did you know they also bloom? Regardless of the type of Elephant Ear you’re growing, you can still coax these tropical diva plants to bloom.
Elephant ear plants are slow to bloom and must have their needs met before they bloom. Depending on the genus, they bloom seasonally. To produce flowers, they must be kept warm and well-fed. Good lighting and watering are also important.
The unique flowers of Elephant Ear plants, which are aroids, are referred to as inflorescence. A thin rod called a spadix is covered in tiny flowers, and a pale modified leaf protects it.
Most cultivars produce flowers in light shades, such as white, cream, or even very light greens and yellows. They’re remarkable structures that look nothing like a lily or a rose, and they’re quite a feat for any gardener.
When Do Elephant Ear Plants Bloom?
Your Elephant Ear plant is a member of a diverse group of plants from all over the world. They cover three distinct genera, each with its growth habits and blooming seasons.
Knowing what variety you’re growing will help you understand when and how long your plant will flower.
Although flowering of any Elephant Ear is extremely unlikely, you can increase your odds by planting a known bloomer. It will also tell you when to expect flowers.
Alocasia Elephant Ear Flowers
Elephant ear plants are not known for their flowers because they don’t bloom very often, especially the smaller types usually grown indoors.
You shouldn’t be shocked if you never see a flower. Those typically bloom earlier in the year, from spring to summer.
In an alocasia, the flowers bloom right where the new leaves emerge. They are very light in tone, with colors ranging from white to green. Most of the blossoms only last a week or so.
Colocasia Elephant Ear Flowers
Colocasias, especially the larger types like coco yam and taro, are slightly more likely to flower than Alocasias (Colocasia esculenta).
The end of summer and the beginning of fall are their prime flowering times.
One to three flowers per stem are possible on the plants that do flower, and their colors can range from white to green to purple if you’re lucky.
Colocasia flowers, like those of the Alocasia, only last for a short time. Watch for color changes.
Some growers say that just before their Colocasias flower, an oval of the same color as the veins appears in the middle of the leaf. You’ll find the flowers beneath the lush leaves, near the plant’s base.
Xanthosoma Elephant Ear Flowers
Because it can only survive in USDA Hardiness Zone 10, Xanthosoma is rarely grown.
However, southern growers are increasingly drawn to the lime green Lime Zinger cultivar (Xanthosoma aurea) for its relatively low maintenance and striking appearance.
Though Xanthosomas don’t usually bloom, when they do, they do so quickly. Their blossoms only last a couple of days and can be pollinated and die within a day.
Furthermore, it is common for them to produce a small number of flowers, with some species only producing one flower at a time.
|Elephant Ear Species||When does it bloom?||How long does it take to bloom?|
|Colocasia||Late summer and fall||5-7 days|
|Alocasia||Spring and summer||5-7 days|
|Xanthosoma||Spring and summer||3-4 days|
Why is my elephant ear plant flowering?
If you notice flowers on your Elephant Ear plant, congratulate yourself! They will only bloom if they are correctly cared for.
Those flowers are a source of pride for me. It indicates that the plant is content, well-nourished, well-watered, and in an ideal location with adequate humidity and light.
Why is Your Elephant Ear Not Blooming
Don’t be too disappointed if your Elephant Ear plant never blooms! Some cultivars simply do not bloom consistently indoors.
Most dwarf Alocasia varieties, such as the well-known Alocasia Polly (A. amazonica) and Black Velvet (A. reginula), will never flower indoors.
You can increase your chances by providing the Elephant Ear plant with everything it requires to flower. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why an Elephant Ear plant may refuse to bloom.
Not Getting Enough Light
Elephant Ear plants thrive in low-light conditions. After all, they are rainforest plants adapted to the low light of the forest understory.
Flowering, on the other hand, is a high-energy activity. A plant that receives insufficient light in its growing environment simply lacks the strength to produce those complex blooms.
Getting Too Much Light
On the other hand, your Elephant Ear plant will be stressed and struggle if you give it too much of its needs to thrive in the rainforest.
Plants can only focus on staying alive when exposed to extreme amounts of light. If its blossoms might be scorched by the sun, it will refrain from opening its petals.
A plant that only blooms at certain times of year needs stable temperatures to know when it’s time to flower.
The right time of year is required for the plant to receive the complex hormonal signals that tell it to bloom.
No such signals will be transmitted if the temperature where it is being grown fluctuates from summer to winter and back again in a single day.
Extreme temperature swings, such as when the temperature drops to near freezing or rises to scorching levels before returning to normal, can be highly stressful to the Elephant Ear plant.
Frost damage can occur during particularly cold spells, while dehydration and leaf damage can occur during particularly hot spells.
The Elephant Ear plant’s inflorescence development calls for a substantial mineral contribution from the surrounding soil.
It is crucial that nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with other nutrients like trace minerals, are in high supply.
Your Elephant Ear won’t be able to produce blossoms if you plant it in nutrient-deficient soil or neglect to fertilize it at all.
An Elephant Ear plant’s overall health depends on its roots, and a sickly plant will not flower. Your roots must be disease-free and have plenty of space to spread.
An Elephant Ear plant that is root-bound will be unable to access the nutrients and water required to form an inflorescence. One with root rot has other problems; it will be more concerned with surviving!
Humidity promotes the growth of Elephant Ear plants. They lose too much water through their spectacular leaves when their growing environment is too dry.
Once they are thirsty, they will focus on staying alive instead of flowering.
While Elephant Ear plants prefer moist soils, soggy or sodden growing medium hinders the roots and makes survival difficult.
Too much water in the medium drowns the roots of the plant. They begin to die and can no longer draw moisture or nutrients from the soil.
A thirsty plant can’t keep its leaves in good condition, let alone construct complex structures like an inflorescence. The Elephant Ear’s priority is maintaining its leaves until it receives stable watering.
Out of Season
The wrong season is the most common cause of an Elephant Ear plant failing to bloom. No blossoms will be seen during the winter; autumn blooming may also be unlikely depending on the variety.
How to Ensure Elephant Ear Bloom to Their Full Potential
Elephant Ear plants require regular fertilization to keep their leaves, let alone bloom. They’re voracious feeders – that luscious foliage isn’t cheap! Even dwarf varieties will require frequent feeding to perform optimally.
I recommend adding a dilute dose of balanced liquid fertilizer to your watering can once a week during the growing season.
This will provide the long-term nutrition these demanding divas require while not overburdening their roots. (Check out the Amazon prices here)
Elephant Ear plants are tropicals that require warmth before blooming. To get the most out of them, keep your growing environment between 64 and 77°F (18 and 25°C). Keep them consistently warm, and they’ll bloom in response to the hot weather.
Place your Elephant Ear in a warmer part of your growing area. Avoid drafty corridors and air conditioning vent flow. Avoid putting it too close to the window glass, as it can become quite cold overnight.
High atmospheric humidity is also beneficial to Elephant Ear Plants. While this varies depending on the variety of Elephant Ear plants, aim for 60% or higher atmospheric humidity.
This can be difficult if your growing environment is a home or office with robust climate control. Heating and cooling systems remove moisture from the air, leaving it very dry.
Most growers will benefit from the purchase of an electric humidifier. (Check out the Amazon prices here) These ingenious machines emit a steady stream of moist air, and when placed near your Elephant Ear plant, they make all the difference.
You can always make your DIY humidifier if you don’t want to spend money. It only takes a few flat stones in a shallow dish of water.
When placed near an Elephant Ear plant, the dish’s constant evaporation will add a constant, gentle humidity to the air.
Ensure Good Light Levels
The Elephant Ear plant will not be able to produce enough energy to maintain its leaves, let alone grow flowers, if not given enough good light.
While it varies slightly between cultivars, most Elephant Ear plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Six to eight hours is ideal.
South or southeast-facing aspect is ideal because it provides consistent light throughout the day.
Elephant Ear plants require light, airy soil that drains well while remaining moist when grown indoors. It’s a difficult balance to strike!
A mixture of two parts of good quality potting soil, one part perlite, one part orchid mix, and one part of either coco coir or peat moss is recommended.
Perlite and orchid mix improve drainage and structure, while coco coir or moss retains the ideal amount of moisture.
Of course, having soils that drain well is useless if your pot has no drainage. Ensure your Elephant Ear plant is in a pot with enough holes for water to drain.
Three is my minimum, evenly spaced at the pot’s base. This provides a path for the water flowing through the growing medium and keeps it from stagnating at the bottom of the pot.
The older leaves at the Elephant Ear base are prone to becoming shabby and frail. They become a drain on the system of the plant and must be pruned.
When they are gone, the Elephant Ear can focus its energy on new growth, particularly flowers.
The best time to prune an Elephant Ear plant is in the late fall, but you can prune whenever the lower leaves become ragged. Cut them free at the plant’s base with sharp scissors or shears.
In general, allow the top inch or so of the Elephant Ear plant’s growing medium to completely dry out between waterings. You can be even more frugal in the winter, allowing the top two inches to dry out.
The time it takes for the soil to dry depends on several factors, including:
The Elephant Ear plant grows rapidly during the summer growing season, necessitating more frequent watering.
Warmer weather also causes the growing medium in the pot to dry out faster, leaving less for the plant.
The Elephant Ear goes into dormancy in the winter, effectively sleeping through the cold season. They’ll require far less water, and whatever you give them will stay in the soil for much longer.
Size of the Elephant Ear Plant
A small Elephant Ear plant will require less water overall than its larger cousins. A small Alocasia Polly plant and a massive California Elephant plant will require vastly different amounts of water.
Give your dainty darlings small amounts of water and your massive majesties much more.
Type of Elephant Ear Plant
Elephant Ears from the Colocasia genus prefer wetter soils than other groups. Colocasia can even be grown in shallow ponds as a feature, with their roots completely submerged!
While I would not recommend planting your indoor Colocasia underwater, it is essential to understand the type of Elephant Ear you are growing.
While Elephant Ear plants aren’t usually picky about the type of water they receive, it’s essential to be precise if you want flowers.
I’d recommend sticking to filtered, distilled, or rainwater. These water sources do not contain chlorine, fluoride, or other additives commonly found in municipal water supplies.
They are also much softer, with fewer mineral salts that can accumulate in the soil and cause problems.
Do Elephant Ears Rebloom?
An Elephant Ear flower is not a terminal flower. There’s no reason why your plant shouldn’t flower again if you take good care of it and meet its needs.
After all, you’ve already shown that you can take care of it well enough that it blooms when you do. Maintain your efforts, and you’ll see more blooms in the coming seasons.
Can You Stop Elephant Ear from Flowering?
Many people keep Elephant Ear plants rather than the rare blossoms for their lush leaves. It is common for an Elephant Ear plant to lose its leaves during flowering.
It requires a lot of energy; the plant will let older leaves die to tend to its blooms.
If you don’t want to deal with flowers, the simplest solution is to simply remove the spathes as they appear. Trim them away with clean shears or scissors, just as you would a spent leaf.
The Elephant Ear plant will understand and return its attention to its leaves.
Tips to Encourage Flowers in Elephant Ear Plants
- Maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity level.
- Water according to the Elephant Ear cultivar and the season.
- Regularly fertilize.
- Grow the Elephant Ear plant in a pot with plenty of drainages and free-draining soil.
- As the leaves mature, prune them.
- Make sure the Elephant Ear plant gets plenty of bright, indirect light.