Colocasia Black Magic: Black Elephant Ear Plant

The Colocasia Black Magic is one of the “new breed” of black elephant ear plants.

The culture of Black Magic elephant ear, as well as most newer introductions, is similar to the well known and popular, elephant ear – Colocasia esculenta.

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Dark red-black leaves of Colocasia esculenta Black Magic

Colocasia “Black Magic” Facts

  • Origin: Asia
  • Family: Araceae
  • Botanical Name: Colocasia esculenta Black Magic – [KOLL-oh-kay-zhuh] [es-kew-LEN-tuh]
  • Common Name: Black Elephant Ears, Alocasia Black Magic, Black Magic Colocasia
  • Plant Type: evergreen perennial bulb
  • Size: 3′ – 6′ foot in height and width
  • Leaves: attractive enormous heart shaped elephant leaves, black dark purple leaves with a “smokey” cast
  • Flowers: yellow-green spathe and spadix
  • Bloom: Not showy
  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 8 – 12
  • Exposure: Plant Sun or Shade? Best in part shade but will handle full sun.
  • Soil: well draining garden soil
  • Water: loves water, Keep soil moist but not wet
  • Fertilizer: Loves regular fertilization especially regular liquid food! More food, faster growth rate and bigger plants
  • Propagation: Dividing bulbs
  • Pests & Problems: generally pest free, aphids whitefly and spider mites at times

Colocasia New Looks and Style in Black!

The large green leaved giant, grown around the world for food, is also used as an ornamental in the landscape.

It is known as the “black elephant ear plant” or taro. Colocasia esculenta Black Magic brings the same durable, easy to grow, shapely form foliage plant, combined with new looks and style for the tropical landscape.

For those who love bold tropical effects,”Black Colocasia esculenta” gives plenty to get excited about.

The black elephant ear is seductive like its cousin the Alocasia (African mask plant). It grows best when planted in a rich soil with warm temperatures and lots of light. A single large pot of black elephant ears makes an unmistakable tropical effect.

Black Elephant Ear Plant: Spectacular Specimens Ebony-Red Stems

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This swamp plant can wick up moisture. When planted in a container, in full or partial it can reach a height of 3′ to 6′ feet quickly filling large containers.

Black Magic Colocasia displays its spectacular dark black deep purple leaves sitting atop ebony-red strong stems. This makes it a striking potted plant for the patio.

It also makes for an outstanding specimen when used as an ornamental in a shallow pool or as one of the pond plants.

These tropical plants make an interesting display. Try planting in a watering trough with 6″ inches of standing water. Keep the trough slightly buried, surrounded by small landscaping stone.

In locations like St. Louis known to for hot summers, Black Colocasia plants do best in partial shade, particularly afternoon shade. There it soon showcases it’s dark giant leaves.

As translucence-light passes through the leaves, the plants create an almost radiant glow. Visual delight is their primary “duty,” not the lily-like flowers.

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Colocasia Black Magic Care In Northern Locations

When growing the black elephant ears in northern and mid-western locations, plant in the ground around mid-April (mid-spring).

In the fall at first frost, dig the elephant ears bulbs of this frost tender perennial. Overwinter in a bed of dry peat moss or wood shavings (plastic storage boxes work great). Keep the tubers in a cool place where temperatures do not go below 45° degrees Fahrenheit.

There the elephant ear bulbs are somewhat like canna lily plants. Provide a slow-release fertilizer.

Newer Colocasia Varieties For Landscape

Here is a partial list of some of the new and exciting Colocasia cultivars available from places like PlantDelights.com for your landscape.

  • Colocasia ‘Blackwater’
  • Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’
  • ‘Big Dipper’
  • ‘Black Runner’
  • ‘Coal Miner’
  • ‘Diamond Head’
  • ‘Elena’ PPAF
  • ‘Hawaiian Eye’ PP 19,884
  • ‘Hilo Bay’ PP 20,108
  • ‘Jack’s Giant’
  • ‘Kona Coffee’
  • ‘Lemonade’
  • ‘Lime Aide’
  • ‘Nancy’s Revenge’
  • ‘Pineapple Princess’ PP 20,982
  • ‘Rhubarb’
  • ‘Ruffles’
  • Colocasia affinis

Colocasia Bikini Tini

Grows in full sun or shade. Its strong black stem, reaches heights of 5′ to 7′ feet. Bluish-gray, think leaves leaves, forming cups showing the dark purple veins and petioles.

Cups fill with water when it rains. Once established Bikini Tini is very drought tolerant. Tubers or corms can overwinter in the garden as USDA zone 6.

Colocasia Black Beauty Elephant Ear

Stunning mutation of Colocasia ‘Illustris’, reaching a height of 4′ ft, making them a good houseplant. More intense black leaf coloring. Some green veins removed.

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Colocasia Black Coral Elephant Ear

Deep glossy jet black foliage, heavy corrugation, electric blue veins reaching 48″ inches at maturity. Disease resistant, clumping habit, interesting stems and foliage.

A welcome addition and a show stopper in any garden or landscape.

Colocasia Blue Hawaii

Perfect for small landscapes and gardens. Medium green leaves, 12″ inches long, dramatic purple veins reaching 30 inches tall.

On the back of leaf, veins look cranberry instead of purple.

Colocasia Illustris

The sister plant to “Black Magic”, combining purple and bright green foliage.

Striking foliage with leaves standing 4 feet create an enchanting color combination in partial shade. Grows well in the shallow edges of water in a pond or pool and thrives in moist soil locations.

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Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ PP 21,995

Wild and crazy just like the Cuban drink, Colocasia ‘Mojito’ (pronounced “Mo-he-toe”), medium green leaves reaching 3′ feet and pasted throughout with dark purple flecks.

Excellent choice for a combo planting with Black magic out on a deck for summer conversation.

Elephant Ears In the Landscape

It was just a few years ago, many a home gardener would never have considered planting a Colocasia esculenta in their garden.

These perennial plants were considered cheap, unsophisticated plants. One worthy of planting only in a tin can.

Now you can find elephant ears used in high-end gardens where there is a need for a wide leafed plant and new looks.

1 – In colder climates instead of being used as a perennial, it can be used as a shrub as a backdrop during the summer.

Colocasias are a “Top Pick” for use in containers.

2 – One interesting way to use these new elephant ear plants is by planting different varieties together.

Plant different varieties such as “Black Magic”, Black Coral, Colocasia Illustris, Colocasia Mojito, in one large decorative planter.

Purple stems, velvety leaves, green and black leaves all combining into a unique look.

3 – Use Colocasia of all kinds – green with black splotches, tender black (dark purple) with USDA hardiness Zone 8 in sunny northern gardens.

Dressing up shaded borders, along with other heat-loving plants woven into bedding schemes.

Colocasias like the Black Magic Alocasia plant offer the homeowner an easy way to add lush, bright tropical looks to their landscape year after year.

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