As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop, many of my tropical plants begin to head into their dormant or semi-dormant winter phase. The elephant ears (Colocasia and Alocasia), however, continue looking good right up to frost. This is especially true if they're planted in the garden where their roots have free run of the soil and access to as much water and nutrients as they can use.
One of the standouts in this year's garden has been Colocasia 'Mojito'! Now, I have to preface all of my praise-making by saying that I don't think I've ever met an "elephant ear" that I didn't like. They are probably my favorite group of tropical plants because they're tough, easy and anyone can grow them with great success. They also offer a tremendous variety of colors, sizes and shapes and will thrive in a wide range of growing conditions--some like it shady and dry while others like full sun in boggy soil. So no matter what your garden conditions are like, you can find an Alocasia or Colocasia to suit your needs.
But I digress... Colocasia 'Mojito' has been the standout in this year's garden. Nothing is off limits here--well, almost nothing. You won't find many, if any white flowers, but that's a topic for another post. 'Mojito' has stood head and shoulders (literally) above many other garden plants this year and the coloration of the leaves is bright, bold and maybe even a little daring! Just my kind of plant!
Grown in a large container, 'Mojito' topped out at about 4 feet with colorful leaves of medium size. But it was in the ground, with an unlimited root run, where 'Mojito' really thrived. (The same could be said for all elephant ears.) In the ground, 'Mojito' reached nearly 6 feet tall with leaves 2 feet in length and 18 inches wide, splashed, marbled and sprayed in a spectacular array of shades of green, chartreuse, purple and near black. It's neighbors in the garden were a large, dark-foliaged barberry, black coleus 'Othello' and burnt orange coleus 'Sedona', Buddleia 'Black Knight' and the golden form of Jewels of Opar (Talinum) alongside royal purple angelonia. The dizzying array of colors was showstopping throughout the summer!
Of course, there are many other varieties of elephant ears available and a quick Google search will introduce you to so many of them. Also, visit the Plant Delights Nursery website at http://www.plantdelights.com/. Tony and his crew carry a vast array of Colocasia and Alocasia and there are several other nurseries who specialize in them, also.