How to Grow Amazon Elephant's Ear Indoors

Miss Chen
Hailing from Southeast Asia, Amazon elephant's ear is a popular tropical plant that is sometimes also referred to as African mask. It's a hybrid varietal that makes a striking and beautiful houseplant and is typically sold as such. It can be purchased, planted, and cared for year-round in an indoor environment.

Amazon elephant's ear is defined by its deep green leaves, which are accentuated by whitish or light green veins. The leaves are roughly serrated, and in some cases, the leaf color appears as an almost purple-green. The plant will grow quickly, reaching a mature height of up to 2 feet. Amazon elephant ear plants rarely bloom (especially indoors), and are grown primarily for their eye-catching foliage.

Botanical Name Alocasia x amazonica
Common Name Amazon elephant's ear, African mask
Plant Type Tropical
Mature Size 1–2 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Partial shade
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Spring, summer (rarely blooms)
Flower Color Green
Hardiness Zones 9–11 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Toxic to humans, dogs, and cats

Amazon Elephant's Ear Care
The good news is that growing Amazon elephant's ear is pretty easy. They like filtered sun or shade and rich, moist soil. Like most tropical plants, they thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity and crave plenty of water. These plants are best propagated by division during the spring. In a healthy specimen with multiple stems, corms can be dug up from the existing pot and repotted into smaller pots. Cut away dead and dying leaves for the best presentation.

Amazon elephant's ear plants require lots of bright, indirect light. They can survive in 80 percent shade but prefer about 60 percent shade, which will guarantee you the best growth and a rich, green shade on the leaves. Take care not to expose the plant to harsh direct rays of sunlight, which can bleach or scorch the leaves.

This plant prefers a fast-draining, well-aerated potting soil. An organic, loose soil that contains a good amount of peat moss is ideal. If your soil mixture is too heavy, you can lighten it with some sand or perlite.

Keep the soil moist but remember that Amazon elephant's ear plants do not like wet feet. If possible, water your plant in the morning from below (at the root zone) to keep the leaves from getting too wet. The plant needs a rest period in winter, so allow the soil to become almost dry between waterings during these months. However, if it dries completely, the plant may go dormant.

Temperature and Humidity
As a tropical plant, Amazon elephant's ear will go dormant or die if exposed to cold temperatures. It likes to be in a climate similar to its native Southeast Asia, with temperatures ranging between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the plant loves above-average humidity levels. You can start by housing your Amazon elephant's ear in a typically humid room in your home (like a bathroom), but you may also need to place the plant on a humidity tray with pebbles or invest in a small space a humidifier to put nearby.

Amazon elephant's ear tends to be a heavy feeder during its growing period and will respond well to applications of a diluted balanced fertilizer. Starting in spring, feed the plant every two weeks, stopping at the end of August, then beginning the cycle again at the start of the following spring. Occasionally, the plant's leaves will yellow—if this happens, try adding fertilizer with micronutrients, or sprinkle Epsom salts around the base of the plant once a month.

Is Amazon Elephant's Ear Toxic?
Elephant's ear is a mildly poisonous houseplant and should be kept away from any curious children or pets that may be tempted to eat or bite the plant. If a person or pet is poisoned by elephant's ear, call the proper poison control center or emergency services promptly. Most symptoms will disappear within several days to a week if treated properly.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Humans
Stomach cramps
Redness, pain, or burning of the eyes
Burning in the mouth or throat
Facial swelling (including tongue, mouth, and eyes)
Symptoms of Poisoning in Animals
Oral irritation
Pain and swelling of mouth, tongue, and lips
Excessive drooling
Difficulty swallowing

Potting and Repotting Amazon Elephant's Ear
When growing Amazon elephant's ear in a pot, choose a stable container with ample room to support the plant's growth. A well-grown plant may need yearly repotting. Keep in mind, however, that these plants like to be slightly under-potted for best foliage development.

Common Pests & Diseases
Amazon elephant's ear is typically not susceptible to diseases, but over-watering can lead to fungal infections. If you notice dark brown or black spots (often accompanied by a yellowish rim on the leaves), that's a good sign that a fungal infection is brewing. To treat, remove the damaged leaves, move the plant away from any other plants, and treat it with a fungicide spray. Misting it with a soapy water mixture every few weeks can also help to help deter pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids—and serve to keep your Amazon elephant's ear dust-free.
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