Colocasias are widely grown throughout the tropics and are commonly known as ‘Taro’. They make an important addition of carbohydrate staple to many diets. Colocasia antiquorum ‘Black Leaf Illustris’, often just known as Colocasia Illustris, is a particularly attractive form with giant elephant ear leaves which are attractively coloured in shades of light-dark green and blue-black.
Although tropical in origin, colocasias do remarkably well outside in UK gardens throughout the warmer months; some even tolerating year-round cultivation outside in particularly well protected areas. We think colocasias are essential if you like exotic or jungly plants. Don’t be put off by the fact that they aren’t fully hardy as they can be easily over-wintered by either lifting the corms after the first frosts and storing them in soil, in a damp and frost free environment or alternatively they can be grown in a container and placed in a frost free location for the winter.
Given dappled shade, lots of water and fertiliser, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t achieve leaves in excess of 50cm long and heights of up to 1.5m.