Plants - Perennials

Add drama to your garden with elephant ears

These bold foliage plants add an exotic touch to ponds, borders and containers

Perfect partners
Tropicanna Canna (Canna ‘Phaison’) Zone 7
Perian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), annual
‘Marguerite’ Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’), annual

Container planting tips
Canadian Gardening asked Pot Luck columnist Beckie Fox for inside advice on using elephant ears in containers.

CG: What are the opportunities/challenges of designing with
elephant ears?

BF: As they say, go big or go home. Here’s a chance to add drama to your potscape. Plant singly or use as a focal point in a mixed container. Short cultivars remind me of parasols.

CG: What kind of hardscaping (i.e., structures, paving, fencing; colours and materials) works well with these plants?

BF: Substantial, bold, contemporary-style containers in matte black, dark brown or burgundy set off their flamboyant foliage. White-veined cultivars look striking grown in a white pot.

CG: How would you integrate pots of elephant ears into the landscape? Where should they
be sited?

BF: They’re perfect in contemporary settings, such as on an expansive, tiered deck. Place them near a seating area, where you can appreciate the intricate ribbing and veining of the leaves. Alternatively, fill in a bare section of a perennial border by setting a pot of elephant ears behind mid-size perennials.

CG: Should you plant in groups?

BF: Not necessarily. Even one specimen has dramatic impact.

CG: Any caveats?

BF: These plants sucker, so use a sturdy pot that doesn’t split or crack easily. Their stems grow longer in shade.

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