Colocasia Illustris staying small in size

syordano(6b)May 13, 2013

This is my fist time planting elephant ears in large containers on my patio (in a very moist mix of potting soil and composted manure). I have planted a Colocasia Illustris (Imperial Taro, not a dwarf) and a Colocasia Black Magic. The Illustris was planted from a small independent offshoot, about 8" tall, and the Black Magic was planted from a bulb.

The Black Magic is only 2-3 weeks old, but has now developed a very strong root system, and is growing at a very rapid rate. The Illustris offshoot on the other hand was planted over a month ago, and has remained at 8" tall, with leaves no larger 4". It is sending new leaves as the old ones die out, but they are not expanding in size. For reference, both plants are planted in the same conditions with partial sun, and temperatures currently ranging 50 at night to 80 by day.

Is there a difference in the growth rate between an elephant ear that was planted as an offshoot, and one that was planted as a bulb? It just seems to me like the bulb has more strength due to stored reserves... Should I just continue to wait on the Colocasia Illustris to start growing once the weather is consistently hot? Any tips would be appreciated from those of you who have grown elephant ears from both bulbs and offshoots.

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I'd agree with you on the older tuber having a lot of stored reserves which help it grow larger quicker. My illustris send out offshoots like crazy and tend to take over. The offshoots do take a while to get some size. They're mostly shaded but in bright light. My Black Magic are in full sun and grow slower. I think they're in too much water. I'm going to try some in very damp soil but still full sun to see how they go.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:15PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I don't know how much variation there is in the preferences of different Colocasias, but C. esculenta makes much bigger leaves in shade vs. sun. The more water the better here, but there's no mud here, it's sandy soil, always drained. A small bulb can only make small leaves, even if it was harvested from a large bulb making large leaves. It will take a few years until the bulb matures in size, then it will make larger leaves - assuming there's potential for size increase in the species you have. I put lots of compost around these, often.

If you have the space to do so and the interest, your bulb would likely enlarge much more quickly in the ground. Then if not hardy, you can remove it when frost zaps the leaves and store it cool and dry, dormant, or pot it up to grow on through winter in a pot.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 4:01PM
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