Many gardeners often wonder about when to transplant elephant ears, especially when their plants are outgrowing. Transplanting is also a way to propagate them in your garden.
The plant has large, glossy green foliage, adding a unique look to the garden or indoor space. As its name indicates, they have large leaves that look like the ears of elephants.
Since it originated from Asia and Eastern Australia, this tropical plant loves warm weather and prefers to grow in high-moisture areas.
So, when is the best time to transplant elephant ears? Let’s find out right now!
When To Transplant Elephant Ears?
The best time to transplant elephant ears is spring or fall, from the middle to the end of the seasons.
If you proceed with transplantation during these periods, your plants will suffer from less stress and have better root establishment.
A well-timed transplantation is crucial for the growth and health of the plants. Depending on the living areas, the ideal transplanting time can be different.
In the area that experiences frosts, you should wait until the final frosts pass and start the process.
Late frosts can sometimes be a threat to the elephant ears. In this case, I suggest you cover them with several layers of newspaper or old sheets overnight so they can survive.
Or if you’ve dug the plants after the first light frost, you can store them in a cardboard box, add damp peat moss, keep them in a cool and dry place, and wait for the spring to come to continue with transplantation.
Bring them indoors to ward them off the attack of cold spells and frost. When the soil temperature is around 65°F, it may be possible to plant them outside.
Can You Transplant Elephant Ears In The Summer?
The answer is yes if you live in a region with no frost all year around. You can replant elephant ears anytime, but it’s better to do it when the plants are still small so you can handle them easily.
After transplanting, the plant will sprout from tubers in spring and quickly spread large clumps, with the condition of a proper location with indirect sunlight (grow lights for planting indoors) and well-draining soil.
In addition, the elephant ears are winter hardy, with the hardiness zones from 8 to 10.
They like sheltered and partially shaded spots and thrive well in medium moisture or wet soil with rich organic matter. So, make sure you provide them with these conditions for maximum growth.
How To Replant Elephant Ears?
Before you proceed with the elephant ears transplanting, you need to have the equipment:
- Gardening gloves: It’s a useful hand protection item when you work with plants and soil.
- Spade or shovel: Without these tools, you can’t dig holes or trenches to remove the plant.
- Cart or wheelbarrow: It helps transport the plant more easily.
- Pruning shear: You’ll need to trim off withering or damaged foliage.
- Watering can or hose: The process of replanting elephant ears will require watering.
- Mulch: It’s used for moisture retaining and protecting the plant from the weeds.
- Soil amendment: You should prepare peat moss or compost for soil quality improvement and nutrient supplies.
Select The Spot
The best place to plant elephant ears is a partially shaded and sheltered area. The spot should be wet and provide rich or medium constant moisture. Thus, growing them on the pond side is ideal.
The plant can withstand 8 hours of direct sunlight in this wet location. However, it should be in partial shade during the hottest hours of the day for optimal growth.
Furthermore, the elephant ears can be 8 feet tall and generate tubers 1-2 pounds of weight if growing in ideal conditions.
Thus, the planting place should be wide enough for the plant to reach its mature size.
Choose A Place For The Hole And Dig It
Select a place, and here’s how to dig up and replant elephant ears:
Use your spade or shovel to dig a hole. Remember, wide planting holes will benefit the plant’s establishment.
Therefore, I advise you to ensure the hole’s width is at least double the root ball’s. Plus, the hole should be slightly deeper than the root’s current depth.
Prepare The Soil
Improve the soil quality by adding a layer of 4 inches of peat moss or compost to the soil. Use a garden fork to mix this mixture 12 inches deep into the ground to help supply nutrients for healthy growth.
Prepare The Plant
The next step in how to transplant elephant ears is to remove the entire plant from another place. 10 to 12 inches is the ideal digging depth, so you’ll not negatively affect the roots.
You need to be careful while digging the root ball out of the ground; otherwise, you can damage the tubers.
You can separate the plant with your finger if you want to divide it into small sections for easy transplantation and later growth.
But you need to leave a small bulb (known as a corm) on each section. The replant elephant ear bulb ensures the plant will grow with division after transplanting.
If you see too many leaves causing difficulty in the obtaining process, I suggest you trim off some of them. Leaving only 2 leaves on top is ideal.
Lesser leaves will also promote growth later, but you also should see the condition of your plant. If you think it will get a shock from excessive pruning, there’s no need to do so.
Remove the excess soil and be ready for the next step.
Check The Hole’s Depth
Before the final establishment of the plant, carefully place it into the hole to check if it’s deep enough and make adjustments if needed.
Once the soil level is slightly higher than the root ball, it means it’s enough for settling.
According to my knowledge, the bigger the bulb, the deeper it will go into the ground. So, it’s better to plant the elephant ears from 4 to 6 inches deep.
In addition, most of the time, the plant will thrive at least 4 feet wide. Thus, ensure you leave them plenty of space for growth in the future.
Place The Plant
Ensure the plant stays straight at its original growing depth. You should hold it upright with one hand and scoop back the soil into the hole until it meets the level of the surrounding ground.
Use the flats of your hands to gently press the area around the root to ensure the plant stays firmly.
Tamping the soil around the base also helps eliminate air pockets and guarantee the connection of the ground and roots.
Water And Mulch
Since the elephant ears thrive in wet areas, it’s important to provide a proper amount of water. Watering also helps the plant establish its roots in the new ground better.
Once you see the water start to get dry, water it. Use a garden hose featuring a soft spray attachment to spray the water. When you see water puddles around, stop watering and wait about one hour.
The reason for waiting is that you should not leave the soil dry and must ensure the moisture and wetness level.
After waiting, test if the soil moisture level is good enough. Here is my trick to test it: push your fingers into the soil and feel. Should the soil be moist but not wet, you should water it again.
You may get confused for the first time if you’re a beginner. However, regular practice will make you more experienced in testing soil moisture.
Next, besides water, you should add a layer of mulch around the plant’s base, but remember not to smother the stem.
The purpose of applying mulch is to keep moisture and prevent weeds. There are different types you can use, yet you may want to consider coconut mulch.
In addition, I highly recommend you apply the all-purpose granular fertilizer according to the directions to the elephant ears to assist its growth.
Furthermore, you can consider using the root stimulator for the root to grow faster if you want.
Tips On Caring After Transplantation
After transplanting elephant ears, you should not let them freely grow. There are some elements you should pay attention to.
The soil around the stem should be moist but not soggy. Maintaining consistent moisture for a few weeks after replanting helps improve the root’s establishment.
You can supply soil nutrition and enhance the healthy growth of the plant by applying. You’d better choose a balanced and slow-release fertilizer type.
Look for dead or damaged leaves and trim them from your newly transplanted elephant ears. It’s an important technique to help the plant thrive and benefit new growth.
However, avoid excessive pruning and have a regular trimming schedule to avoid shocking the plant and undesired results.
Once your plant is well-established, you should keep an eye on its development. Watch out for negative signs of stress or diseases like yellow, withered leaves or fungal spots.
Get rid of the problem as soon as possible to ensure healthy growth. Seek help from reliable nursery shops or other professional gardeners to deal with the issue you’ve never faced before.
Can Elephant Ears Survive In Winter?
The plant originated from tropical climates, so it can not survive in winter, meaning it can’t withstand cold spells; thus, frost or freezing temperatures can negatively affect its growth.
If you live in colder climates, you can discard the plant when its growing season finishes or keep the tubers inside the house to replant next year.
How Long Does It Take Elephant Ears To Sprout?
It takes 3 to 8 weeks for the elephant ears to sprout, usually starting in warm spring. Warmer temperatures will encourage them to grow faster.
Thus, you can begin to plant them indoors and move them outdoors when the weather is warmer.
What To Do With Yellow Elephant Ears?
When you see elephant ear plants with yellow leaves, you should adjust the sunlight and water they receive.
The reasons can be too much sunlight but not enough water, or vice versa, too much water but lack of sunlight.
The Bottom Lines
Knowing when to transplant elephant ears is crucial, as the correct seasons can provide optimal plant growth conditions.
Middle to late spring or middle to late fall is the best time to plant elephant ears. If you live in tropical areas, you can do it any time of the year. Yet, I suggest you proceed when the plant is still small.
Besides choosing the period of transplantation, you need to select the proper spot to place the plan. It should offer partial shade and indirect sunlight during the hottest time of the day.
Follow my instructions above for the best result. Good luck!