Elephant ear plants have become quite popular because of how big and fun they are. Planting these plants in your garden area will be great when you’re looking to add a bold, green plant to the mix.
It’s also nice that they’re fairly easy to care for. You might have been recommended elephant ear plants specifically because they aren’t too hard to manage.
This is why it’s especially disconcerting when you notice that your elephant ear isn’t doing too well. If your elephant ear plant seems to be dying, then you must be wondering what is going on.
Continue reading to get information about elephant ear plants and what can cause them to die. This should allow you to figure out what is wrong in your situation so that you can attempt to correct things.
1 – You Could Be Watering the Plant Wrong
One of the first things that you should consider is whether or not you’re watering the plant wrong. All plants need to be watered so that they can survive, but you need to do it the right way or the plant could experience various problems.
You could kill an elephant ear plant by watering it too much or watering it too little. Learning how to tell when the plant needs to be watered is crucial when you want it to thrive.
It’s always best to check the soil to see how it feels before watering the plant. When the soil feels as though it’s getting a bit dry, it’s going to be time to water it.
Elephant ear plants are quite large on average, and this means that they need a lot of water to grow. You aren’t supposed to allow the soil to completely dry out when you’re caring for an elephant ear plant.
This doesn’t mean that you should water the plant until the soil is soggy, though. If you water it too much, then you could kill the plant by causing it to rot.
Too much water causes root rot issues and it can also make it so that fungal problems will occur. Always be careful about how you’re watering your plants.
2 – Sunlight Issues
Sunlight issues can lead to elephant ear plants dying, too. This could be because the plant got too much sun, but it could also be that the plant didn’t get enough sunlight.
If you’re noticing that the leaves of the plant are starting to turn brown, then there’s a chance that the sun is too harsh for it. Too much sunlight can wind up scorching the plant when the sun is especially harsh.
Those who live in very hot areas of the world might have issues with this. Full sun might not be a good idea for these plants if you’re noticing scorching issues.
Conversely, elephant ear plants won’t like it when they don’t get enough sun either. When a plant isn’t getting enough light, you might notice that its leaves will start to turn yellow.
For the most part, elephant ear plants do well with indirect sunlight and can be placed in partial shade. Some of the elephant ear varieties want more sun, though.
For instance, light green plants seem to be more sun-tolerant. You’ll have to be more careful not to give too much sun to plants that have darker green leaves.
3 – Growing Elephant Ear Plants in Different Zones
You might be growing an elephant ear plant in a zone where it isn’t able to thrive outdoors. If you want your elephant ear plant to be evergreen, then you’ll need to grow it in USDA hardiness zones 10 or 11.
When you grow the plant in USDA hardiness zones 8 and 9, it is going to die back in the winter. A tuber should appear when the weather becomes warm again, and this means that the plant isn’t truly dead.
Growing these plants outdoors in zones 1 through 7 will not be good. The winters will be far too cold for these plants and they won’t be able to survive.
If you live somewhere in USDA zones 1 through 7, then you’ll want to take the elephant ear plants indoors when it starts getting cold. Otherwise, you’re never going to have a good experience.
4 – The Environment Lacks Humidity
You might not be aware of how much elephant ear plants like humidity. If you live in a dry part of North America, then your plants just might not like the climate.
Even if you’re keeping the plant out of the cold, it’s still not going to be good for it to be in an environment that’s too dry. You’ll want to increase the humidity levels to help it thrive.
There are a few different ways to increase the humidity for an indoor elephant ear plant. You could try regularly misting it with water to perk it up.
Gently misting the leaves of the plant should help you to get good results. Since this might be tough to do often enough, it’d probably be easier to just buy a humidifier.
Using a small humidifier during the day will allow you to keep the plant humid enough.
Even something as simple as placing a bowl of water near the plant can make a difference. You could also try moving the elephant ear plant to a location in your house that’s more humid such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
5 – The Plant Isn’t Getting Enough Nutrients
Is it possible that the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients? When you plant an elephant ear plant in a container, you’ll need to find ways to replenish the nutrients in the soil.
This means that you should be fertilizing the plant every so often. Failing to do so could leave your plant in soil that doesn’t have the nutrients that are necessary to keep the plant alive.
If you see that the elephant ear plant is yellowing or looking shabby, then you could be dealing with a nutrient issue. Try adding nutrients to the soil to see if it can turn things around.
Indoor elephant ear plants should be fertilized twice per month. Outdoor plants can benefit from fertilization as well, but you won’t need to use fertilizer nearly as often.
6 – The Plant Could Be Crowded
Sometimes the issue is as simple as the plant being too crowded. When you have many things close to the elephant ear plant, it’s going to have to compete for nutrients and to be able to spread its roots.
You should be planting things about four feet away from the elephant ear plant. If you have a garden that is much more crowded than that, then this could be the answer to what’s wrong with your elephant ear plant.
Try transplanting the elephant ear plant to a spot that is less crowded. It might help the plant to do much better, and it’ll start looking beautiful once more.
When you’re planting these plants in containers, it’s very easy to encounter crowding issues. The plant might outgrow its container and you will need to transplant it into an appropriate one.
Planters that are too small won’t hold enough nutrients to keep the elephant ear plant alive. Consider whether you need to move the plant to a new container so that it can do better.
Now that you know more about what can go wrong, it should be possible to fix things. Just consider which of the above situations might apply to your plant so that you can make good choices.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.