If you’re searching for the wow factor on your garden, develop a taro plant (Colocasia esculenta). Also called dasheen and elephant ear, taro can produce leaves that are two to three feet wide and long. This tropical plant is ideal for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, where it could remain in the garden year-round. There’s no need for winter storage like taros. Properly caring for your taro plant can allow it to develop to a big and healthy plant.
Water taro regularly — one to 3 time a week — with 1 inch of water. If the taro dies back to the ground in the winter, water after every two or three weeks until it starts to grow again in spring. Taro thrives in soil that’s well-draining, especially in a moist environment. To help preserve moisture, add two or three inches of mulch around the base of these plants.
Fertilize monthly from spring till early fall such as 20-20-20 or 10-10-10. Spread the fertilizer evenly being careful not to let it touch the foliage. If it does, immediately wash it off with water. Fertilize with the rates recommended by the maker and water it afterward with 1 inch of water.
Prune dead or damaged leaves necessary, cutting them. Cut on a plant into the floor after the first frost, once the foliage turns yellow. In warmer climates, taros are evergreens and you don’t have to cut them back.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, like leaves or straw, once you cut back the foliage to the floor in the fall in USDA plant hardiness zone 8. Mulch helps if winter is colder than normal, protect the roots.
Before they start to grow, Split taro roots in late winter or early spring. Dig up the tubers then yank them apart or separate them. Each section needs to have a bud. Replant the tubers with all the buds facing up, spacing them 3 to 6 feet apart.