Growing Elephant Ears as Houseplants: Care Instructions From the Experts at Botanica Floral + Home

September 23, 2022

Just a quick glance at Pinterest will show you elephant ear houseplants are all the rage. 

And what's not to love? 

Elephant ears’ uniquely gigantic heart-shaped leaves (hence the name, elephant ears) range from green to purple to white variegated hues. 

Elephant ears belong to two related groups of plants, Colocasia and Alocasia. Both types can be grown in the garden or as houseplants, though colocasias are more often planted outdoors and alocasias are a bit more common as houseplants.

This distinctive plant makes quite a statement in any room — especially when it’s well-cared for. 

If you're the proud owner of an elephant ear indoor plant (or would like to be) our guide tells you everything you need to know about helping this fun, tropical plant thrive in an indoor environment.

elephant ear indoor plants

Table of Contents


Can Elephant Ears Survive Indoors?

Yes! While they are generally outdoor plants, you can grow elephant ears as houseplants. 

If you plan to grow elephant ears as indoor plants, place them in a sunroom or another area that gets plenty of light.

For tips on growing elephant ears and other houseplants, contact the professionals at Botanica Floral + Home!


How To Care for an Elephant Ear Plant Indoors: FAQs Answered

How Much Light Do Elephant Ears Need Indoors?

If you care for elephant ears indoors, provide your plant with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. A south or west window is usually best. 

If the lighting is too harsh, it may burn the leaves of your plant. If you notice your plant’s leaves are beginning to look singed or if the color appears bleached, they may be getting sunburned. Try adding a sheer curtain to your window or moving your plant to a spot with a little less light.

elephant ear as houseplants

How Often Do You Water Elephant Ears Indoors?

Elephant ear indoor plants need to be watered anywhere from every few days to once a week.

How often you water your indoor elephant ear plant will depend on several factors, including the:

  • Indoor temperature 
  • Humidity level
  • Size of your plant
  • Type of pot it is in

Elephant ears are native to tropical regions and are accustomed to large amounts of water. They grow best in soil that stays consistently moist, but not soggy. 

Test the soil with your finger before watering, and make sure to keep the leaves dry by only watering the buds and roots. 

To boost the humidity level surrounding your plant, set the pot in a saucer of water elevated by a few pebbles. This will also keep the roots from sitting directly in water and prevent rotting.

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What Kind of Soil Does Your Indoor Elephant Ear Need?

The best soil for growing elephant ears as houseplants is a combination of standard organic potting mix that’s blended 50/50 with compost.

What Size Container Should You Use for Indoor Elephant Ear?

Generally, you want a pot that is one to two sizes larger than the elephant ear plant’s root ball. 

Elephant ear varieties such as Alocasia can do well in smaller pots while varieties like Xanthosoma prefer larger pots.

How Often Should You Repot Your Indoor Elephant Ear?

Elephant ear indoor plants need to be repotted every two years or so. This will keep the roots from outgrowing the pot and refresh the soil to give the plant new nutrients.

You may also repot your indoor elephant ear if you would like it to grow larger. In that case, you would find a new pot that is around two inches larger than its current home. 

Should You Fertilize Your Indoor Elephant Ear Plant?

Fertilize your indoor elephant ear houseplant every two weeks with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer

Stop fertilizing in winter to give your plant a chance to rest. You’ll also want to cut back on watering during this time to allow the soil to dry out slightly.

If you have questions about elephant ear plant care indoors, the professional team at Botanica Floral + Home is ready to help! We specialize in all things floral and can give you tips on how to select the best plants or flowers for your needs or how to help the ones you already have thrive.

care for elephant ears indoors

How Fast Do Elephant Ears Grow Indoors?

Elephant ears are fast-growing tropical plants. 

During the active growing season, they usually produce one new leaf each month. 

Why Are My Indoor Elephant Ears Dying?

There are many reasons why your elephant ear plant may be dying, including:

  • The wrong surrounding temperature
  • Too much sun or a lack of light
  • Not enough or too much water
  • Lack of nutrients 
  • Not enough space in the pot

If you notice your indoor elephant ear houseplant is dying during the winter months, it may actually just be getting ready for winter slumber, or dormancy.

What to Expect From Dormancy

In the winter, you can expect your elephant ear indoor plant to begin preparing for dormancy, similar to how a bear hibernates for the winter. 

You may notice your plant’s leaves starting to turn brown and falling off or the plant not looking quite as perky as usual. 

When this happens, stop watering your plant until you see new shoots appear in spring. 

Even if your plant doesn’t appear to be going dormant, you should still cut back (but not completely stop) watering throughout the winter months.

For More Tips on Elephant Ear Plant Care Indoors, Visit Botanica Floral + Home

Whether you’re looking for an elephant ear plant, another live plant, or a unique fresh floral arrangement, Botanica Floral + Home is ready to meet your needs. 

At Botanica Floral + Home, helping you choose beautiful flowers and plants is one of our favorite things to do. 

Contact us today or stop by our retail shop in The Pearl District for flowers, plants, home decor, and more!

Click here to shop our floral delivery Portland/Vancouver Metro area today!