Though many gardeners grow Elephant Ears for wide, dark green leaves, their flowers also never disappoint.
The blooms of the Elephant Ear are hidden behind the vast, elegant foliage.
Have you ever thought of getting on blossoms with all possible benefits? Learn about how you can grow the flowers first!
Table of Contents Show
- What does an Elephant Ear Flower Look Like?
- How Often do Elephant Ears Flower?
- Pollination of Elephant Ear Flower
- How to Make an Elephant Ear Plant Flower?
- What to do with Elephant Ear Flower?
- Are Elephant Ear Flowers Poisonous?
- From Editorial Team
What does an Elephant Ear Flower Look Like?
Elephant Ear flowers resemble that of Canna Lilies. Here are some details regarding the flower.
|Structure||Inflorescence with a rod-like spadix and a colorful spathe that surrounds the spadix
Spadix contains cluster of small flowers
|Size||Spadix: Up to 10 inches tall
Spathe: Proportional to the size of spadix
|Color||White, yellow or light-green colored spadix with creamy white, yellow colored spathe|
|Fragrance||Fragrant enough to attract bees and other pollinators|
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans and pets|
|Lifespan||From few days to 2-3 months|
|Fruits||Globular green or yellow berries containing several seeds.|
|Blooming Season||Late spring to early fall|
Common types of Elephant Ears include Caladium, Colocasia, Alocasia and Xanthosoma.
How Often do Elephant Ears Flower?
Elephant Ears bloom more often outdoors than indoors, with indoor plants rarely.
Elephant Ears bloom late spring to early fall when they are mature enough, which can take 4 to 5 months.
The plant is perennial, but we cannot say the same about the flower. If they bloom in the current year, they may not bloom again next year.
Pollination of Elephant Ear Flower
Elephant Ears flower is not typically a ‘flower’ but an inflorescence with a spadix and a spathe surrounding the spadix.
Most blooms on aroids are females as soon as they open and release pollens the following day.
You would want to know how the released pollen is used for reproduction. Look below to get your query solved.
1. Natural Pollination
After the flower opens up, the spadix of the Elephant Ear heats up, releasing an odor that attracts small bugs and insects.
The insects gather around the flower and bathe themselves in the pollen. They then move to another spadix of another Elephant Ear and do the same.
But here is a catch, after the Elephant Ear’s flower anthesis process, the plant follows deceptive pollination by sending false signals to the insects.
The poor attracted insects, then reach the spadix with high hopes only to get trapped by the flower’s spathe.
The flower releases the insects after it releases the pollens.
When the pollen is transferred to another plant, the spadix is enclosed, and fruits form on the plant.
The colorful fruits in this plant are pivotal in attracting different birds and bats to carry on the pollination process.
Other than that, there is no evidence to support that the wind plays a role in the plant’s pollination.
2. Hand Pollination
While letting the plant perform things naturally is better, people sometimes like to force pollination.
You may have to be careful while performing hand pollination, as one wrong step can lead to failure.
- Get a scalpel, gloves, mask, and other equipment and sterilize them properly.
- The best time to collect the pollen is early morning when the flower is fresh and full of moisture.
- Take a small cotton ball or an artist’s paintbrush and dab it on the spadix to collect the pollen.
- Gather the pollen on a plate or white sheet of paper. Shield it from even a tiny whiff of air.
- Cut a portion of the spathe that is covering the female flower.
Make sure not to cut the female flower while cutting the spathe.
- Dab the pollen on the spathe until there is no collected pollen left.
How to Make an Elephant Ear Plant Flower?
If you live in the USDA zones 9-11, you will have a higher chance of seeing your Elephant Ear bloom.
However, the flowering depends on the Elephant Ear care, so follow the steps below.
- Elephant Ears prefer bright, full sun, with at least 6 hours daily. You can place them outside, keeping in mind the sun’s intensity. Avoid mid-day sun (127000 lumens).
- Keep the plant in moist soil that has a rich amount of humus. Do not let the soil dry out completely.
- Being a tropical plant, Elephant Ears prefer good moisture. Maintain humidity above 50% almost all the time.
- In the plant’s native area, they enjoy high temperatures (65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you make them feel at home.
- Remember, your Elephant Ear hates frost conditions. So, protect them from extreme cold conditions in the winter season to ensure blooms.
- Water the plant almost daily during the summer and cut back on watering during the winter.
- Fertilize your Elephant Ears every 2-3 weeks with liquid phosphorus-rich fertilizer to promote flower blooming.
What to do with Elephant Ear Flower?
Elephant Ear flowers are not something you would use to decorate your home.
The spadix and spathe do not have anything you want to brag about to your friends, so cutting them won’t be hard for you.
Also, blooms of Elephant Ears suck up the nutrients directed toward the plant’s foliage.
If you have high hopes of germinating the obtained seeds, you can keep the flowers and let them dry.
They will develop into beautiful red or orange berries. In this form, the flower gets charming.
Elephant Ear flower seeds are only viable for a short time, so harvest and plant the seeds as soon as possible.
How to Trim Elephant Ear Flowers?
It would be best if you cut the flowers early in the morning when the plant is fresh and won’t take any damage from the trimming.
- Get pruning shears and gloves ready for the procedure.
- Grab the inflorescence gently, revealing its base.
- Cut the flower at its base, which is connected to the plant. You can completely deadhead the flower as there is less chance of it flowering again.
Do all the above processes with great caution, or you may damage the beautiful huge leaves of your plant.
Are Elephant Ear Flowers Poisonous?
According to the ASPCA, Elephant Ears are toxic to your cats, dogs, and horses as they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
If any of your pets consume the leaves of Elephant Ear, they will show symptoms like,
- Vomiting (not in horses)
- Oral irritation
- Swelling in the lips, tongue, mouth
- Pain in the oral area
- Problem in swallowing
The bloodstream of humans and pets cannot absorb insoluble calcium oxalates and thus scar whatever path they take.
In humans, insoluble calcium oxalate crystals can cause pain in the abdomen, reduce our blood pressure, vomiting, etc.
Call the following numbers if you, your kids, and your pets ever consume the Elephant Ear leaves.
- American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) at (888) 222-1222
- ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435
From Editorial Team
Harvest Elephant Ear flower seeds after they are dry.
After the Elephant Ear flower fades, the berries are formed, and seeds thereafter.
Elephant Ear seeds are tiny in size and may take months to mature, and the pods hung to the plant throughout that time.
To collect the seeds, you need the pod to dry up completely. After that, the seeds are pretty easy to retrieve.