Alocasia macrorrhiza the ‘Giant Taro’ or ‘Elephant Ears’ from steamy jungles of South East Asia and widely planted elsewhere in the tropics or warm temperate zones is a well known sight for anyone who has travelled to warmer climes. With giant ‘Elephant ear’ like leaves often more than 2 metres long there are few plants that offer such an outrageously exotic appearance.
For us lovers of all things jungly, the Giant Taro is quite forgiving, ok it is tropical but for whatever reason it has evolved the ability to thrive in cooler climates too. It’s certainly not hardy here at Big Plant Nursery but given winter protection either by growing in a pot, lifting and bringing indoors during the freezing months, Alocasia macrorrhiza can be a wonderful feature outdoors during the summer. If you have a sheltered warm spot it’s worth a try, responding to regular feeds of seaweed fertilizer and/or planted in deep rich soil.
In winter if you can’t accommodate it in your living room, trust me you will want to, most of the foliage can be cut back and the rhizomatus trunk root can be stored in a cool dry place until temperatures are favourable.
These days the Giant Taro is often seen planted in mediterranean gardens, I’ve seen huge plants in Sicily for example, here the temperatures often drop down to 0° centigrade during winter nights but quickly rise to 15 or 16° during the day. So in essence, a fast growing pretty adaptable plant, not hardy but so worth growing. Obviously if you have a cool or shady conservatory, well lit room or spacious office I’d say that one of these is essential if like me you long for the warmth and splendour of the tropics.
P.s – I love this plant.