Black elephant ears

cynthianovakMarch 6, 2010

Hi all

You know the exotic elephant ears I'm talking about. They are in nurseries with the tropical plants. Have any of your planted these in your gardens? Do you have a source you are fond of AND is reasonable AND a nice size? I've looked at the watchdog but not sure lately if I'm looking at an add's promise of someone's exprience. I will go back and cross reference, but thought someone here might have already had experience.

thank you


Here is a link that might be useful: alocasia amazonica

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Oh, African Mask is gorgeous! I saw them once in a gardening magazine planted in a window box with red angel wing begonias. They were stunning. I have not grown them, though they tempt me every year. Since they are often sold as houseplants, I wonder about their winter hardiness. Don't know. You should check.

There are other black elephant ears that are winter hardy. Illustris is gorgeous (and invasive. be warned). Black Magic is gorgeous too and a clump former. They love plenty of nitrogen and water. These plants will get as large as they are allowed to. Planted in the ground, they get as big as the standard green elephant ears, but in pots, they will stay smaller.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 6:31PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

How big does Black Magic get? Thanks...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:44PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I just bought the black one that is a colocasia, at Home Depot. It's a tuber, not growing yet. It does not have those prominent veins that the Alocasia has. But at least it's easier to find. I was tempted by the ones in Brent and Becky's until I found out they are all shipped as plants and incur a special surcharge.

I hope Donna will come back on and tell us more...!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:11PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have been out rejoicing at spring....My garden is so gorgeous right now. Hundreds of daffodils blooming, snowflakes, and tulips just starting, quince and forsythia in full bloom, Japanese Magnolia (small, but lovely), Ogon Spirea is breathtaking, and then there are camellias....

Black Magic. In good soil amended with aged manure and with plenty of moisture, it can get five to six feet tall. The leaves are probably 2 to 3 feet long and half as wide. It is, of course, really a black purple. I love it for the "frosty" bloom on the leaves too. Very dramatic. I am going to put one in a large pot by my front door this year underplanted with white torenia. It will get morning sun, which is just about ideal for it here. In the pot, it will probably get about half the size. Still dramatic...

I also have Illustris, which gets equally as large in the ground. It is black with green veins, and is truly spectacular, but as I said, in an area where it's winter hardy, it's rampagious. It only gets to live in pots now. It took three years to dig out all its babies. They just kept coming and coming...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 6:59PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

I have grown Black Magic, Illustris, and the African Mask elephant years in pots for several years now. Then I have the common large rippled leaved green ones.

I know a lot of people here who grow Illustris in the ground, but it spreads like crazy. Certainly no problems with it being hardy.

Initially, Black Magic wasn't thought to be all that cold hardy, but more recently I kept seeing that it should be fine in zone 8 in the ground, so I planted it here and there in the yard last year... Just in time for all the snow we got here near the deep south. Doh! I'm hoping I didn't loose all of mine when the ground froze, but some clumps I have found are dead and rotting. :(

If any of it survived the good news is that Black Magic multiplies quite well, as I started with one tiny baby a friend gave me.

African Mask definitely has to come in in the winter and it's one of my favorite plants. It likes to be a bit crowded in it's pot and it's almost astonishing just how much top growth it manages to put on from a pot that isn't very big.

I bring it inside once the outside temps get into the low forties and it dies back over the winter but it is outside again now getting watered and leafs out later.

Hi there Donna. I guess we are neighbors. :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:06AM
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