The Colocasia Black Magic is one of the “new breed” of black elephant ears.
The culture of Black Magic, as well as most newer introductions, is very similar to the well known and popular, elephant ear – Colocasia esculenta.
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
- Plant Type: evergreen perennial bulb
- Size: 3′ – 6′ foot in height and width
- Leaves: heart shaped elephant leaves, black-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 fertilizer 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 Magic!
The large green leaved giant, grown around the world for food, but also used as an ornamental in the landscape.
Known as the “black elephant ears plant” or taro, Colocasia esculenta Black Magic brings the same easy to grow, durable foliage plant, combined with new looks and style for the tropical landscape.
There is plenty to get excited about with “Colocasia esculenta Black Magic”, especially for those who love bold tropical effects.
The black elephant ear is seductive like its cousin the Alocasia (African mask plant), does best when planted in a rich soil with warm temperatures and lots of light. An unmistakable tropical effect can be made from a single large pot of black elephant ears.
Spectacular Specimens Ebony-Red Stems
When planted in a container, in full or partial shade where this swamp plant can wick up moisture, it can reach a height of 3′ to 6′ feet and quickly fill large containers.
It makes a striking potted plant for the patio where the Black Magic displays its spectacular dark black purple leaves sitting atop ebony-red stems.
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 can also make an interesting display planted in a simple metal watering trough in 6″ inches of standing water, slightly buried, surrounded by small landscaping stone.
In areas and locations like St. Louis known to have some hot summers, Colocasia esculenta Black Magic plants do best where it can have partial shade, particularly afternoon shade. Where it will soon showcase 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.
Growing Colocasia In Northern Locations
When growing the black elephant ears in northern and mid-western locations, plant in the ground around mid-April (mid-spring).
At first frost, dig tubers and overwinter in a bed of dry peat moss or wood shaving (plastic storage boxes work great), 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’
- ‘Lime Aide’
- ‘Nancy’s Revenge’
- ‘Pineapple Princess’ PP 20,982
- 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 feet, making them a good houseplant. More intense black leaf coloring. Some green veins removed.
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.
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.
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 a cheap, unsophisticated plant. 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 northern 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.
Instead, take different varieties such as “Black Magic”, Black Coral, Colocasia Illustris, Colocasia Mojito, and plant them in one large decorative pottery planter.
Purple stems, velvety leaves, green and black leaves all combining into a unique look.
3 – Colocasia of all kinds – green with black splotches, tender black (dark purple) with hardiness of USDA Zone 8 winter can be used in sunny northern gardens.
Dressing up shaded borders, along with other heat-loving plants woven into bedding schemes.
Colocasias offer the homeowner an easy way to add lush, bright tropical looks to their landscape year after year.