Elephant ear plant is a perennial herbaceous plant with a large corm on or just below the ground surface. Growing elephant ear plants is easy. The leaves are large to very large, 20–150 cm (7.9–59.1 in) long, with a sagittate shape. The elephant ear plant gets its name from the leaves, which are shaped like a large ear or shield. The plant reproduces mostly by means of rhizomes (tubers, corms). Both the leaves and tubers of taro plant are edible. The taro roots can be used in dishes like pancakes, cheesecake, pie, fries, taro ki sabji, Savoury taro, satoimo taro chips, etc. Taro leaves and their petioles are also edible but only after being cooked and can be harvested anytime, although they are less consumed than the corms.
Scientific Name: Colocasia esculenta
Common Name: Tarul, karkala ko ganu, elephant-ear, taro, cocoyam, dasheen, chembu, champadhumpa, shavige gadde, and eddoe, Elephant ear plant.
How to grow and maintain Elephant ear plant:
Most of these plants prefer rich, moist soil and can be grown in full sun, but they generally prefer partial shade.
Taro grows in well-drained and fertile soil, which is rich in organic matter. Soil should be slightly acidic to neutral with a pH level between 5.5 to 6.5. Avoid compacted and clay-rich soil.
Taro roots grow well when the temperature is 25-35°C.
Elephant ear plants are high water plants. The more water they get the greater they’ll grow. A few assortments will even thrive when planted in a pot and grown as a marginal pond plant. Containers will need to be watered daily during the summer. Plan on giving plants at least 2-3 inches of water per week.
Elephant ears are heavy eaters, as well as drinkers. Fertilize monthly with a general fertilizer of choice. Organic slow-release fertilizers will last longer, so choose something like bonemeal or bloodmeal when possible.
Propagation of taro is usually done by planting corms, suckers, or by division.
Taro corms thickened underground stems, also called roots, are ready for harvest in 7 to 12 months after planting. When leaves begin to turn yellow and corms start to push out of the soil. Corms should be dug up carefully without any damage. If you want to eat taro leaves, cut them as and when you need them. New leaves will emerge again. Clean the taro corms and store them in a cool, dry place.
Pests and diseases:
Aphids, red spider mites, taro beetle, taro leaf blight, and downy mildew may attack taro.