Go Big with the Elephant Ear Philodendron

The Elephant Ear Philodendron is a large-leafed plant that makes an impact in any room. Philodendron domesticum is also known as the spade leaf plant. Their large size makes them an excellent choice for a floor plant or anchor plant in a grouping. 

Go Big with the Elephant Ear Philodendron

Elephant Ear Philodendron Appearance

The Philodendron Elephant Ear features elongated, heart-shaped foliage with a glossy exterior. The plant grows to a height of between 3 and 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters). The large leaves reach a length of 22 inches (56 cm) long and 9 inches (23 cm) wide when mature. The green foliage is colored with an internal tint of pinkish-red. The plant may produce blooms, called spathes, but rarely when grown indoors.

Elephant Ear Philodendron Light Requirements

Provide the Philodendron Elephant Ear with bright, indirect light for optimal growth. Moderate lighting is also acceptable but avoid direct sunlight as scorched leaves is the result. For larger plants, rotate the plant regularly to ensure even sun exposure.

Elephant Ear Philodendron Water Needs

Elephant Ear Philodendron Water Needs
The Spruce

Keep the soil moist but never soggy. Water the plant, on average, once per week and follow this watering schedule from early spring to the end of fall. In winter, only water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feels dry. 

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements

The Elephant Ear plant prefers a well-draining, sandy soil mix. Create your own soil mix with two parts peat to one part perlite. Include some sand for added drainage if the soil is still slow-draining. Use a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once per month. Do not feed the plant in the winter when the plant is not in active growth. 

Temperature and Humidity Levels for Philodendron Elephant Ear

Keep temperatures for your plant between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26.6 degrees Celsius) during the day. At night, temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) are acceptable. Moderate humidity levels work well, with regular leaf misting to increase moisture for the plant. For dry climates, add a humidifier to the room or place a tray filled with pebbles and water under the plant’s pot. 

Propagate the Elephant Ear Plant

Propagate the Elephant Ear Plant
Promise Supply

Cuttings are the fastest way to propagate an Elephant Ear Philodendron. Choose a 4 to 5-inch long stem with at least two top leaves and two bottom leaves or nodes. Remove the two bottom leaves, if nodes aren’t exposed, and place the cutting in a jar with clean water. Ensure the bottom nodes are submerged. Set the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight in a warm location, changing the water every two to three days. Once the roots are 2 inches long, transplant the cutting to a small pot filled with the recommended soil mix.

To propagate the Elephant Ear plant by seed, sprinkle seeds on the surface of a seed starting mix. Sprinkle a thin layer of the starting mix on top of the seeds but don’t cover them completely. Mist the soil with a spray bottle to keep it moist and cover with plastic wrap. Keep the tray in a location with indirect but bright light. Seedlings appear in three to eight weeks. Once established, move the new plants to their own pot and care for them as a mature plant.

Elephant Ear Plant Pests and Diseases

The Philodendron Elephant Ear is not susceptible to many plant pests. Scale is the most common pest.  Brown soft scale is found on the underside of foliage. The mature females are light tan, yellow-green, or yellow-brown in color. Immature crawlers are yellow. Multiple treatments with an insecticidal soap often rid the plant of these pests.

Fungal leaf blight is a common elephant ear plant disease but is treatable if caught early. The fungus causes lesions on the foliage that may ooze fluid and turn purple or yellowish. Fuzzy growth on the leaves is another sign of the disease. To treat the fungus, remove affected leaves as soon as the fungus is detected.

The Philodendron Elephant Ear plant is prized for its showy foliage and tropical appearance. Its natural resistance to disease and pests makes it an easy plant to move outdoors in the summer. This Philodendron makes a beautiful addition to any home or office space. 

Philodendron Elephant Ear FAQ

Why are My Philodendron Elephant Ear’s Leaves Small and Pale?

Small, deformed, or pale leaves signify your plant needs more nutrients, light, or water. Move your plant to an area with more light, provide more water, or feed the plant with a balanced, houseplant fertilizer.

How Often Should I Repot My Elephant Ear Philodendron?

On average, repot your plant every two to three years or when the roots begin to grow out the pot’s drainage holes. This is a good time to refresh the soil and take cuttings for propagation.

Should I Clean My Elephant Ear’s Leaves?

Yes, remove dust to improve photosynthesis and leaf health by wiping leaves with a cloth dampened with clean water. Do not use commercial leaf shine products as they can damage leaves.

Should I Prune My Elephant Ear Philodendron?

Prune any yellow or dead leaves and stems to redirect the plant’s energy to healthy growth. 

Cindy McKie
About Cindy McKie
Cindy McKie provides helpful, easy-to-follow care guides for plant lovers of all experience levels. She has written for several online gardening publications and has self-published her own guide to growing herbs under the pen name Sophia Darby. When not writing about plants, she can be found in her gardens or reading a good book.

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