How to Care For California Elephant Ear Plant

California Elephant Ear is a beautiful plant that’s striking foliage. They make a great home plants, but you’ll have to ensure that you get the temperatures and watering correct to ensure they are the best they can.

After you’ve mastered these two requirements, the result is an stunning plants you have in your collection.

California Elephant Ear prefers direct, bright light and temperatures that range between 64 and 77 degF (18 up to 24degC). Make sure it is kept in a well-drained soil mix and water it when the soil’s top inch is dry, or approximately each two weeks. Keep a relative humidity more than 50% and fertilize it twice every year. It is susceptible to spider mites as well as thrips , and can go into dormancy when temperatures drop or there is a very limited light availability.

The majority of issues related to the indoor cultivation of these plants are connected to temperature and watering. After reading this article , you will not have any issues cultivating this plant at your own home.

What is California Elephant Ear look like?

After you’ve observed this plant, you will be able to recognize it again in the future. It is renowned for its large leaves that are rounded on top and pointed towards the bottom. Because of its shape of the leaves, it is often called”the” Africa guard plant.

California Elephant Ear Care Details

First Steps After Purchase

When you’ve bought plants, the very first step is to verify that it is placed in a big enough container, and if it has enough drainage capacity. The process of determining if the container is draining is simple. All you have to do is make sure that there’s an opening in the bottom of the pot that is large enough for you to insert the point of your finger in.

When the plant is spasming, or there are roots climbing on top of the drainage hole , it is possible that you need to repot it immediately. If you purchased the plant from a reputable source, neither is a problem.

If all goes well then all you have to do is make sure that the soil’s top is damp to the touch and locate a suitable spot for your plant to be placed in.

A spot close to a south-facing window, with plenty of light, but not too much direct sunlight is ideal. It is important to stay clear of drafts, and keep in mind that this plant grows big therefore you should allow it to grow the future as it expands.

Alocasia leaf

How to Care for California Elephant Ear Plant

Water Requirements

The most crucial aspect to be aware of when using the Cali Elephant Ear. They are native to the tropics and are used to humid conditions. It is important to keep the top layer of the soil moist to the point but not completely dry.

In a home in the summertime it could mean the watering of your garden every day or twice. It is possible to determine this by rubbing the soil’s top layer.

The water should be poured directly on top of the soil , and then let the water be completely drained. The excess water will then flow through the saucer underneath the pot.

It is possible to drain the plant after the draining stops to ensure that the plant doesn’t get wet feet , and to ensure that the water in the base doesn’t hinder the drainage process.

I prefer to use water that is captured instead of municipal water that is contaminated with chemicals. This is a huge difference to my plants in my home.

These chemicals won’t cause immediate problems, however, over time they accumulate in the soil and can become harmful to the health of the plant.

The cooler seasons of autumn and winter, you’ll be able to water less , but you will still need to keep the soil damp to the surface.


As a subtropical species The last thing a California Elephant Ear would like is to be exposed to frigid cold.

In an indoor setting it isn’t usually an issue, but a steady room temperature of 64 to the temperature of 77 degrees (18 25 – 25degC) is the ideal temperature.

The majority of homes fall within this temperature range, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to attain.

Rapid changes in temperature control devices are the kind of thing you should be on the lookout for.

Light Requirements

There are many varieties of Alocasia are cultivated outdoors in warmer climates which means they are lightweight and tolerant.

To make the most from your California Elephant Ear inside However, it is important to put your plant in a spot with plenty of sunlight but not direct sunlight. I have found that placing it near an east-facing window works for me.


Humidity is a crucial factor for almost every tropical house plant and because of its huge leaves, this is certainly an issue with California Elephant Ear.

It’s unlikely that the humidity inside your home is too high, but it is possible that it will be too low, particularly when you’re making use of central heating or air conditioning.

If you think that the humidity is low, you could purchase a humidity gauge and place it close to the plant. The ideal range is within the 60-70 percent range. If your reading falls lower than that, you’ll have to consider ways to raise that level.

It is possible to purchase an humidifier to control the humidity in the vicinity, but here are some tips you could test before you purchase.

The first step is to place your plant in a group with other plants since their transpiration together creates a microclimate which increases the humidity within the vicinity of the plant cluster.

A collection of plants could be very appealing in the house, but with something as massive as the California Elephant Ear might not be the most sensible arrangement.

Another alternative would be to fill up the saucer of your plant with pebbles, and then add water. This implies that the pot will be elevated above the water , but its feet won’t be submerged.

When the water evaporates the humidity rises and is usually enough for keeping your Cali Elephant Ear content.

Misting and Spraying

Another trick that is commonly used by plants that are experiencing low humidity is spraying their leaves with a an ethereal mist of water with the squeegee bottle. The leaves are cooled and increases the humidity.

There’s a bit of debate within the horticultural community regarding this issue, with some growers claiming it is temporary and can increase the chance of getting fungal diseases, while others believe that it’s the solution to the problem of low humidity.

Personally, I spray my large-leaved plants using untreated water and haven’t had any issues, however you’ll need to test and decide what is best for your needs.

If you decide to take the misting path , start it early in the morning to ensure that any excess moisture evaporates throughout the day, thereby making sure that the leaves don’t get damp overnight.

Soil Type for California Elephant Ear.

Since these plants prefer to remain damp, you have to choose the right potting mix. It should be high in organic matter, and consequently retains lots of moisture.

It is possible to purchase Alocasia potting soil at some gardening stores, however you can also enhance your regular soil by adding materials that hold water, such as coconut husk, bark and leaf mold.


If you come across plants that have lots of leaf material it is certain that it’s going to require plenty of food, and this is definitely the case with this plant. California Elephant Ear.

It is easy to accomplish by using an organic fertilizer in the form of a liquid. You need one that is rich in Nitrogen because that’s essential for the development of the plants that are green.

Find a mix that has the reading 20-10-20 in the label. anticipate feeding each week for three or four weeks during summer seasons.

When the weather cools down, the growth will slow down and you will be able to put off feeding until the next spring.

California Elephant Ear Propagation

In theory, it’s possible to grow seeds from these plants, however, unless you plan to live until you are two hundred years old, I would not consider that route. You want an unpotted tuber that you could put in a pot to develop your plant from that.

The tuber has a pointed tip and when you place it, you prefer the pointed end facing towards the upward direction.

It is necessary to have a large pot, and then you place the tuber into the soil, then cover it with a layer of 5 inches (12 cms).

I have the same potting mix that I will grow my plants, and simply plant it in that mix.

When buying tubers, be sure that they are sturdy and are not soggy or damp. The best moment to start planting them would be right towards the end of winter to reap the maximum benefits of the spring period of growth.

Certain growers plan to plant them around eight weeks or so prior to when the last frosts have gone. Make sure the soil is damp, but don’t let it become soggy.


I have to repot the California Elephant Ear more frequently than with any other home plants due to the simple fact that the plants grow so quickly that they become too large for their pots and consume all the nutrients.

I like doing this during the spring, but it is possible to do this until mid-summer when I’m not busy.

Repotting is fairly simple, but it is important to be careful not to cut off any of the leaf stems during the process. This is made simpler by making sure that the plant doesn’t become too root-bound.

Remove the plant from the pot and put it in an unsterile or new container that is two sizes larger than the one before it.

Make sure to use the same pot and plant to ensure that the depth of the plant isn’t any deeper than the container originally. Repot the plant and water it in, however, ensure that the excess water drains out.

Trimming and Pruning

There’s not much pruning required for the plants. If any leaves begin to appear shabby or damaged I cut them off at the soil level, from where they can be replaced quickly.

California Elephant Ear Problems and How to Fix Them


Healthy California Elephant Ear is likely to be resistant to attack by pests. The three most frequent causes are spider mites mealybugs and aphids.

The three species are all delicate creatures that sucking sap. Their key to success is to conceal to ensure that they are not noticed and reproduce quickly.

To prevent this from happening it is important to watch your plants closely, to immediately take action when you notice signs of infestation, and before serious damage is done.

Once they have been established, it becomes much more difficult to resolve the issue. Spider-mites appear almost indistinguishable for the untrained eye.

They are usually found in the lower parts of the plant, where they create small web-like structures that are usually the first indication you’ll notice evidence that they exist. They are apprehensive of dry conditions and are easily blown off by a blast of water.

Mealybugs appear like the appearance of a dusting of flour. They prefer to hide in leaf axles, which are difficult to spot.

Aphids can be a bit less sensitive to the location however they tend to favour the soft growth.

Both pests can be eliminated by using neem oil or an insecticide soap that can be purchased in nurseries and garden centers.

To keep out the three pests from ever happening as well as in order to maintain my Californian Elephant Ear looking clean I clean the leaves each once or twice a week with an ointment-soaked cloth vegetable soap.

It eliminates insects, eliminates dust accumulation, and requires me to watch my plants carefully, which is an option you wish to implement.


Fungal leaf spot are two of the most frequent diseases, and both result from excessive watering.

The fungal disease can take the form of brown or black bruises that look like blemishes on leaves, and root rot can be evident through the collapse and swelling of stems and leaves.

In both cases the initial action is to dry off the roots ball. If the plant does not show any signs of recovery, remove the plant from its pot and place it on a piece of paper.

If you notice that the soil has dried, look at the roots and remove any soft or mushy roots. Dust the plant with a fungal powder and then repot. The plant should be kept away from other plants during the recovery process.

California Elephant Ear Drooping

If your watering is right and your plant’s leaves drop, it’s likely that your plant is receiving too little or too much light. Examine the situation and relocate the plant to a better location.

California Elephant Ear Leaves Curling

This is usually the first indication of excessive watering If left unaddressed, the leaves and stems will fall over. Stop watering and make sure that the drainage is sufficient.

California Elephant Ear Turning Yellow

It could be that your plant isn’t being properly fed. Change the fertilizing method to the method I’ve provided.

If this happens in the fall it could mean that the plant is in a state of dormancy for winter. Remove the leaves that are yellow and new healthy shoots will appear in the spring.

Brown Spots on California Elephant Ear

It is usually an indication of low humidity. It is more frequent during winter as the capacity to carry moisture in the atmosphere is less.

If you’re putting the plant in a tray made of pebbles, make sure there is plenty of water available. I suggest that you also mist the plant each morning.

Brown Leaf Margins

It is quite different from the spots that appear on the inside leaves. If the edges turn dark and crisp, it’s likely the plant is receiving too much sunlight and in the end, it is sunburned.

Moving it to a more shaded location and making sure there is enough water in the soil will solve this issue.


Different varieties of this plant are consumed in all parts of the tropical tropics, but they must be properly cooked before being eaten.

The plant is a source of Oxalic acid, which if consumed raw may be toxic. It could cause harm to cats, dogs and even humans. The good thing is that you’ll need to eat lots of leaves in order to be sick.

General Care Tips

  • The correct way to water is to do it correctly. Making sure the soil is moist but not completely wet is the most important aspect you can learn in this post. Many other problems will result from a miscalculation.
  • Bright light, but not direct sunlight.
  • Make use of a potting mix that is water-retentive
  • Maintain a high humidity
  • Feeding more frequently than smaller house plants.
  • Repot every year to ensure a happy plant
  • A close eye can alert you to issues in the early stages, be they diseases, pests, improper irrigation, or any of the other problems we have examined.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)