Alocasia Species, Upright Elephant Ear, Elephant's Ear, Giant Taro, Wild Taro

Alocasia macrorrhizos

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Alocasia (a-loh-KAY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: macrorrhizos (mak-roh-RY-zos) (Info)
Synonym:Alocasia crassifolia
Synonym:Alocasia indica
Synonym:Alocasia macrorrhiza
Synonym:Alocasia plumbea
Synonym:Colocasia indica



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


Grown for foliage




This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Montevallo, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Glendale, Arizona

Brentwood, California

Calabasas, California

Hayward, California

Oceanside, California

Perris, California

Temecula, California

Van Nuys, California

Big Pine Key, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Seffner, Florida

Sun City Center, Florida

Titusville, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Agana Heights, Guam

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Tiline, Kentucky

Denham Springs, Louisiana

Geismar, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Luling, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana(2 reports)

New Orleans, Louisiana(2 reports)

Plain Dealing, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Clinton, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Toomsuba, Mississippi

Springfield, Missouri

Levittown, New York

Poughkeepsie, New York

Staten Island, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Huntersville, North Carolina

Lake Toxaway, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Conneaut, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma(2 reports)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Beaufort, South Carolina(2 reports)

Bluffton, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina(2 reports)

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Inman, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina(2 reports)

Moncks Corner, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Henderson, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Coppell, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Hempstead, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

Mansfield, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Jonesville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 21, 2017, piscesxander from Sacramento, CA wrote:

This is a lovely fast grower but it really doesn't live up to the hype unless you live in at least zone 10 or take very strong winter precautions. Even then I couldn't imagine how difficult this one would be for people in zones below 9. I have 3 in pots and one in the ground and all of them are iffy at best in zone 9b. If you love certain plants and are willing to wrap them in christmas lights that you run all night thru the winter, and run out and throw citrus blankets around the entire thing down to the ground whenever it's gonna get cold because you always monitor the weather this baby might do well. Right now it's being sold thru many garden mail order regulars in the borneo giant variety but it's a tempermental plant that won't ever reach it's potential outside of southern califor... read more


On Nov 6, 2015, Craig_R_Jackson from Cypress, TX wrote:

Cypress, Texas. Planted this 2 ft plant in May. Five months later with alternating days watering, it is now seven feet tall. Almost no precipitation fell during that period. During September it stopped producing new leaves and the smaller ones turned yellow, but has now started growing again and is green since we've had a lot of rain in the last four weeks. It is a very nice plant but ONLY in zone 10b. I see it has been rated zone 8b here. There's no way this is a zone 8b plant. It died during winter here in zone 9a. Did not grow back from roots. It was perfectly healthy until the cold weather, yet the temperature didn't get below freezing the entire winter. South Florida is a good place for this plant.


On Jun 12, 2013, joraines from Inman, SC wrote:

Bought this plant this past spring in a warmer zone in our state and brought it to the Upstate, zone 7b, and planted it in the muddy margins beside our very long goldfish pond with some Black Kow in the planting hole. It gets partial shade and very late day setting sun and has thrived and put out new growth. I don't dig up the other elephant ears I have though it is recommended for our zone and they come back fine and have spread. I am debating leaving this one in the ground as well. Was glad to read of another gardener who does the same in the same zone and has it come back.


On Oct 11, 2010, braun06 from Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a cool plant. It takes a daily heavy watering and weekly fertilizing to grow well. I saved the bulbs at the base of the leaves and place them in my basement in a dry place over winter. The bulbs however rotted in storage. To successfully store the bulbs, dry them before storage in the sunlight outside over a couple days when temps are above 45 degrees.


On Oct 28, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have moved mine a couple of time to find the right spot. There was no tuber, only a large mass of very large roots. The leaves point skyward, unlike other elephant ears. I protect the trunk with a blanket and a trash can during freezes.


On Apr 10, 2009, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Fast growing large glossy green upright leaves once it sprouts, easily reach 8-10 feet with right conditions in one season. In areas of freezing temps, before first freeze I suggest digging up the bulbs, break off the smaller ones, let dry and store in the garage or attic over winter. If tops survive and come back, may flower in second year.

If the tops freeze, the main bulb becomes the mother bulb the following spring, no flowering. Tried mulching them in the ground, but could never prevent losing the tops in my area. Grows best in cooler soil with very wet roots, like a bog, drainage or heavily watered.


On Jun 27, 2007, Kamille from Luling, LA wrote:

I was given an Elephant Ear plant a few weeks ago, and don't know why but the leaves keep turning yellow. It's one leaf at a time. I'm not sure if I am in area 9a or 9b. (Some sites even have me as 8b.) Anyway, it gets lots of water but I am unsure of the sun needs..maybe the sun is too hot here in the New Orleans area for full sun. In spite of this, it is growing and multiplying very fast! It's a beautiful plant and as my yard is full sun, I am hoping to grow it in the southern and western half of my house to help provide shade.


On Mar 16, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

This might be the most misidentified plant on Dave's Garden. I think less than half the photos are of A.macrorrhizos- not sure what the others are.
A staple of the tropical type garden.Hardy to mid 20's,loves much watering and fertilizer.In the bay area can take full sun but might be a little yellowed. Develops a trunk up to at least 4'..stake if you want taller because at that height they may snap under there own weight.

Editor's Note

We make every effort to safeguard against incorrect images in PlantFile. Here is the peer-review process that should be followed in any situation involving potentially misidentified images.

The questionable image should be first brought to the photographer's attention for input and discussion. That can b... read more


On Mar 16, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've planted this huge Elephant Ears in a semi-shade south facing front door. Here in zone 7b, SE USA. It thrives and appeared to get bigger last two years. This are planted outside (not in pot), survived the teen's F. temp this winter, and it's poking new growths off the ground. Love this plant.


On Jun 12, 2006, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had this plant about 3-4 years and every year it surprised me with it amazing growth. This is the first year it had seed and I almost missed them becuase the growth was so thick before I cleared it out. I am really please with this plant and put it in a 5 gallon pot to take it with me when I move.
This plant had more blooms on it this year than I remember in the past. I guess it is getting enough water and fertilizer.


On Jun 18, 2005, FLtropics from Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

2 of these plants are growing successfully in full sun in my garden along the southeast coast of Florida. I water it once a week if necessary in the summer and twice a week in dry months. I use palm fertilizer on it 3 times a year.


On Feb 28, 2005, BettyR from Finchville, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I live in Finchville, Ky just 25 miles from Louisville, Ky and a friend several years ago gave us an Elephant Ear Plant. We actually started a new plant from it two years ago by cutting it and putting rootone on it, got two plants; one which we shared. I have the plant in a pot on our glassed in front porch which has baseboard heating, ceiling fans with lights, and a humidifier. This is where I also grow my orchids and other plants. I noticed yesterday that there is what looks like a bloom starting. After reading your comments on the forum, I am convinced. I noticed that several people mentioned how it dies back. Mine has never died back in the 4 or more years I have had it.


On Sep 30, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Upright Elephant Ear or Wild Taro or Giant Taro is a very attractive species great for decoration uses in fish or koi ponds, lakes, and other waterfrontages. It is also excellent if you want a green, tall mass of elephant-ear-shaped leaves as landscaping around houses outside. If you have room or a large pot, a very tropical backdrop as a houseplant. Very lush and easy to grow. Likes moist and wet areas and soil. May spread quickly outside and become invasive if not kept under control, which is needed if you don't want it taking over surroundings and native wetlands or vegetation. Overall, a very tropical foilage planting great anywhere, either indoors or oudoors - where you have space, of course, and if you can control its spread by pulling out the root and underground bulb outdoors.<... read more


On Aug 22, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love the look of Elephant Ears, which serve as perennials here in the southern tip of Illinois. They definitely add a 'tropical' look to any garden!


On Nov 29, 2003, amorning1 from Islamorada, FL wrote:

The 2 most common types are Plumbea nigra (black/purple stems) And Plumbea Zebrina (striped stems) Both however have the same leaf as shown in Henry's picture. There some neat tissue cultures out there with reddish stems. I have added a pic of P. Zebrina.


On Sep 7, 2003, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

There are many "elephant ear" look alikes. One way to tell Colocasia from Alocasia, Xanthosoma, and others is that Colocasia is peltate (the leaf petiole attaches to the leaf blade in the center, not at an edge like all of the others). Sorry I can't offer more help on distinguishing the others. Here in Missouri, the Lowe's, Walmarts, etc all carry Colocasia bulbs.


On Sep 6, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

All my relatives in South Louisiana had this plant in their yards, and my Mother grew it too as it was cheap to buy the readily available, large, ridged, brown tubers. Every Spring in the Deep South you can find bins or baskets of these tubers for sale for a few dollars in garden centers of stores like Home Depot, Lowe's, WalMart, K-mart--even the grocery stores. This particular Elephant Ears is a clumper, staying where you put it, and over time the plants become quite large. The plant is native to Tropical Asia, and is evergreen down to about 29F degrees.

It will freeze to the ground here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, but comes back reliably, getting taller, with larger leaves, every year it is in the ground. It grows larger near water, and has naturalized here in ... read more


On Aug 11, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Bright red-colored seeds are located at the tip of the Spathe and are covered within a conical shroud. The shroud then peels off to expose the mature seeds. And then the birds and other critters are attracted by the bright red color. Eventually they disperse the seeds for future generations of the Alocasia macrorrhiza.
All Colocasias, Alocasias and Xanthosomas have leaves
pointing downwards excepting Alocasia macrorrhiza.
The leaves of the A macrorrhiza always point up and hence
the name, Upright Elephant Ear.


On Apr 22, 2003, PlanterRik from Birmingham, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

There are many aroids that are similar in appearance. The photograph posted by easter is a Xanthosoma sagittifolia (not A. macrorrhiza). I don't know what the one is in kennedy's pictures, but it's not A. macrorrhiza. I'd love to know -- I'd love to have one! The leaves look like Remusatia vivipara, but not the growth habit. I can't comment on the inflorescense.

Editor's Note

The photos referred to in this comment have either been moved or removed. All error reports should be directed to the PF admin team via the red "Report an error" link, rather than submitted like this comment. That will ensure the PF administrators are aware of the error report and can correct it; it also avoids confusion once the error is corrected.


On Sep 1, 2002, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

An Elephant Ear with large fan like leaves, growing in an up-right direction. An attractive tropical plant, may be potted.


On Aug 30, 2001, JJsgarden from Northern Piedmont, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Alocasias are tender tropical plants which grow from rhizomes. They are commonly known as Elephant Ears or African Masks and are grown for their beautiful leaves, which are large and either heart or spade shaped. The leaves are beautifully colored and/or variegated in shades ranging from purple, green, blueish-green, bronze and red. They prefer partial shade, well-drained soil, high humidity and frequent watering. Some varieties can be grown in or near ponds.

When grown in containers outdoors, water freely when in active growth and in the fall, decrease the water when the leaves begin to fade. Bring inside when outside temperatures are around 60F and once they seemed to have died back or slowed growth for the winter, lightly water only once in a while. In the spri... read more