Common Disease Problems
Dasheen Mosaic Virus: The most characteristic sign of uneven light and dark patterns on leaves, or clearly defined ring spots. Growth may be stunted. This virus can be spread by aphids. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Control aphids.
Leaf Spots: This causes tan spotting on the foliage and causes plants to lose vigor. Burpee Recommends: Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Root Rots: A number of pathogens cause root rots. Burpee Recommends: Make sure your soil has excellent drainage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Mealybugs: Mealybugs are 1/8 to ¼ inch long flat wingless insects that secrete a white powder that forms a waxy shell that protects them. They form cottony looking masses on stems, branches and leaves. They suck the juices from leaves and stems causing weak plant growth. They also attract ants with the honeydew they excrete, and the honeydew can grow a black sooty mold on it as well. Burpee Recommends: Wash infected plant parts under the faucet and try to rub the bugs off. They may also be controlled by predator insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.
Root Maggots: Leaves wilt and growth is stunted. These maggots are white and feed on the roots. They leave brown tunnels in the root. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies to the area. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations which must be applied prior to planting.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Do elephant ears produce flowers? Yes, but elephant ear flowers are usually hidden by the colorful foliage. Many gardeners remove them to keep the strength in the plant.
Can I start elephant ears inside? Yes, elephant ears tend to emerge fairly late in spring, even early summer, when planted directly in the garden so many gardeners prefer to start them early indoors. Start them about 6 weeks before last frost. Plant one inch deep in pots large enough to accommodate the bulbs, use a good quality potting soil. Keep the soil barely moist but not wet. A heat mat can make them emerge more quickly.
My elephant ear plant lost a leaf should I be worried? No, it is normal for elephant ears to drop old leaves as they produce new ones.
Why haven’t my elephant ears emerged? I planted them four weeks ago. Elephant ear plants tend to emerge late because the soil must be thoroughly warm.
What kind of elephant ears are carried at Burpee seeds? We carry two types of elephant ears for sale: