Friday, June 29, 2012

Lend Me An Ear -- An Elephant Ear

"Elephant Ear" is a member of the "Caladium" family and I've grown several plants with success over the years. As a perennial in our southern climate they can remain in ground, but need lots of mulch and will wither and die in the fall through winter, as their corms need a resting period during cool weather. Originally a swamp plant it is a moisture lover, and grows wild in tropic climates, such as Indonesia and other countries in southeast Asia. Then in the spring and summer this plant will come back and can grow three to six feet tall and four to five feet wide.

Prior to our last garden meeting, I had bought a few bulbs to plant close to the lake on the side of my house (as seen above). After almost everyone had left the meeting, two members, Cindy and Mike Christie surprised me and Deberah with a pot of "Elephant Ear" plants, they brought to give away.
"What a surprise!" and such a great addition to my little project, as you can see in the first photo.

I also bought "Canna" lily bulbs to plant in this tropical garden spot. This tuberous plant was introduced from "Tropical America" in 1570 and needs similar care like the "Elephant Ear."

Both need rich soil mixed with peat, sand, manure and a good dirt or potting soil. Fertilize with miloganite or a "Miricle Grow" product every month for best results. These tropical plants can take full or part shade depening on watering. They make a great pot plant addition to a patio or pool setting. If you want, add some coleus, begonias and impatients to the planter, if you have enough shade. Just remember to water, water and water to keep the plants happy.

Now, all I need to add is a banana tree to really get me in the tropical mood and maybe a lounge chair, flip flops and a tropical drink with an umbrella!

Thanks for lending me your ear and until next time......

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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