How Fast Do Elephant Ears Grow? (And How to Make it Grow Faster)

How fast do elephant ears grow is a common question I get. And a follow up to that is how big does the plant get.

Both questions are closely related.

And they usually affect someone’s decision whether to get the plant or not.

After all, most elephant ear plants will get quite big. So, you do need enough space for it.

So how fast do elephant ears grow? Outdoors, elephant ears can reach as high as 8 feet tall. They can grow about 3 to 4 feet per year. And most of the growth happens during the warm months.

Indoors, when kept in pots, elephant ear plants won’t grow as big. They’ll also grow about 1 to 2 feet per year.

Note that the plants will reach their full height in 2 or 3 years depending on its living conditions, how much light, water and nutrients it gets.

How Fast Do Elephant Ears Grow?

Elephant ear plants grow to about 3 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide in a pot or indoors. Outdoors, the plant can reach up to 8 feet high.

However, the actual size will vary depending on the actual species of the plant.

I’ve also noticed that the environment that the plant grows in affects its size and growth rate.

For example, in less light, elephant ears tend to end up smaller than their counterparts n brighter locations.

Similarly, the same in true in colder climates.

Elephant ears don’t grow as big or as fast in low temperatures compared to those living in tropical and subtropical weather.

That said, elephant ears take about 2-3 years to reach their full size.

This is somewhat similar to a few other popular houseplants that take about 24 to 36 months to mature.

On the other hand, if you’ve just propagated a new elephant ears, it will take about 3 weeks for new roots to develop.

As far as sprouting goes, elephant ears will sprout between 3 to 8 weeks since they’re planted.

To make it sprout faster, try to keep the plant in a well-lit location with warm weather. This is why you’ll usually see elephant ears sprout when the warmer climate arrives around spring.

To optimize this, you can take your plant outside during the warmer months of spring and summer. Just make sure to take it back insides when the weather gets colder come autumn.

When it comes to how fast do elephant ears grow, the answer varies as well.

Elephant ears can grow 3 to 5 feet in height per year when kept outdoors and grown in the ground. When potted in a container, the plant usually grows about 1 to 2 feet per year.

The difference in size and growth rate when kept in the ground and in a pot varies because of the limited size that the plant has when kept in containers.

Additionally, the limited amount of soil in the pot affects how much moisture and nutrients that plant gets it order to sustain its growth.


How Fast Do Elephant Ears Grow Based on Variety

As I’ve mentioned in the previous section, elephant ears size and growth rates will differ based on the variety.

To explain, there are four different plants that are usually considered as elephant ears. This is because of the size of their leaves. These include:

  • Caladium
  • Colocasia
  • Alocasia
  • Xanthosoma

All of these are often considered as elephant ear plants.

Although, the most popular of them are the Alocasia and Colocasia as far as genus are concerned.

I mention this because the size of the plant will vary significantly depending on which genus you get.

Here’s what I mean.

  • Caladium – grows to between 6 inches to 3 feet tall. Its spread can reach up to 2 feet wide.
  • Colocasia – can grow from between 3 to 10 feet high and attain a spread of 2 to 10 feet wide.
  • Alocasia – will grow to between 2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet in width.
  • Xanthosoma – reaches 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 4 feet wide.

As you can see, the size varies quite a bit depending on what kind of elephant ear plant you get.

Of course, in addition to that, whether you grow the plant indoors in a pot or outdoors in the ground will likewise affect how fast your elephant ears will grow and how big it will get.


Factors That Affect How Fast Do Elephant Ears Grow

Now that you know how fast elephant ears grow and how big they can get in terms of height and width, it is time to take a closer look at the different factors that affect these things.

Below, I’ll list the different factors that affect how fast elephant ears grow.

For each, I’ll also discuss each factors effects and why it influences overall growth rate and size.


Elephant ears need plenty of light to grow.

Good lighting, preferably natural sunlight, will allow it to achieve proper photosynthesis.

And in doing so, this allows the plant to grow to its fullest.

Photosynthesis is important because the plant uses the light collected by its leaves to create food. The food it creates comes in the form of sugars which the plant then uses as energy to sustain growth and development.

That said, it is always important to check how much light your elephant ears plant needs.

That’s because some varieties need direct sunlight or full sun, while others prefer indirect light or partial shade.

As such, if you give a specific elephant ear plant long hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis when it can only tolerate indirect or filtered light, the excess intensity will damage its leaves.

You’ll see scorched or burned leaves after a while.

On the other hand, if you provide an elephant ears with indirect light when it needs full sun or direct sunlight, it won’t grow properly.

What you’ll end up with is a smaller plant with fewer leaves and smaller foliage as well.

Therefore, while light is very important, it is even more essential to check what kind of intensity and duration your specific elephant ears plant needs.


How Much Nutrients / Fertilizer It Gets

In addition to good lighting, elephant ears are also heavy feeders.

By that I mean that they need plenty of nutrients in order to grow optimally.

Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure you fertilize the plant.

This will allow it to grow fast and reach its full size potential. Just as importantly, providing it with sufficient nutrients will allow it to develop its large leaves.

Lack of nutrients or not giving it nutrients will result in a slow growth plant or one that will develop deficiencies.

It will have fewer leaves and the leaves it does produce will be smaller as well.

However, you also want to be careful about overfeeding your elephant ears.

While fertilizer is an important factor in influencing how fast your elephant ears grows, excess fertilizer will eventually damage the roots and the leaves.

You’ll see leaf discoloration and well as fertilizer burn occur if you feed it too much.

This makes overfeeding more harmful as it not only slows down the growth of the plant but also causes it to sustain damage.



Elephant ears are big drinkers as well. Again, this is to support its size and foliage development.

As such, it needs to be watered 2 to 3 times a week. And you do not want to go more than 2 weeks without watering the plant.

The plant wants and needs consistently moist soil.

So, in order to allow your elephant ears to grow faster, it is important to supply it with enough moisture.

Underwatering or not giving it enough water is not a good idea since it needs the moisture to sustain growth.

Additionally, like other plants, it absorbs nutrients through water.

When there is lack of water, the plant’s leaves will start drying out. Similarly, if you let it get dehydrated, you’ll see the roots become dry, brittle and easy break.

These are all no-no’s if you want your elephant ears to grow faster.

However, you also want to avoid overwatering.

While it may be tempting to give the plant more water to help quench its thirst, too much moisture is likewise harmful.


Watering the plant too much or too often causes the soil to end up wet.

Overwatered soil means that the roots end up in lots of moisture.

When there is too much, the roots can either suffocate or end up experiencing fungal problems. Diseases like dark, damp environments.

And this is what happens when the soil stays wet for long periods of time.

As such, it is important not to let the soil completely dry out. But at the same time, don’t let the plant end up in very wet, soggy soil either.


Kind of Soil Used

Elephant ears will thrive in soil that rich in organic matter content. Just as importantly, use soil with pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0. This will allow the plant to absorb as much nutrients as it can.

Another important thing that the soil needs to do is retain enough water to keep the plant happy.

But it should also provide sufficient drainage to avoid overwatering and waterlogging.

The latter is especially true when the plant is kept in the pot.

Make sure that both the soil and pot have sufficient drainage to avoid overwatering problems.


Living Conditions and Environment

In addition to giving your elephant ear plant sufficient lighting, it will grow best if you’re able to closely simulate its native environment.

Elephant ears come from tropical rainforests.

As such, in addition to light, the plant has specific temperature and humidity requirements.

It will thrive and grow the fastest when kept in moderate to warm temperatures. Avoid the cold as it has low tolerance to low temperatures.

Additionally, because of the regular rains that occur in the rainforests, elephant ears also grow at their best in high humidity.

This means you want to keep it away from air that’s dry or anywhere with low humidity.



Pests are always a headache for plant owners.

And like all plants, elephant ears can experience pests at any time. Although, it becomes more prone to them when it is not getting the proper requirements or is experiencing some kind of stress.

Mealybugs and aphids are the most common pests that will come and attack your elephant ear.

Unfortunately, these are sap sucking creatures.

As such, they will rob the plant of moisture and nutrients, both of which the plant needs to sustain fast growth.

Not only does this damage the leaves and cause discoloration, holes, patches and spots, it will also slow down overall growth.

What’s worse is that these pests populate very quickly.

Once they turn into an infestation, they can quickly damage the plant cause its leaves to curl, droop and more.



Like pests, diseases are another factor that can affect elephant ear growth rate.

Diseases slow down its growth and can even stunt growth if the problem becomes more serious.

The most common ones you’ll see are bacterial and fungal diseases. These will actually negatively affect your plant’s growth more than pests will.

Additionally, it is also harder to get rid of diseases compared to pests.


How to Make Elephant Ears Grow Faster

Elephant ears grow faster when you give it the requirements it needs and its ideal conditions.

Note that some people try to force the plant to grow faster by giving it more than it needs. And while this works in the very short term, it causes more problems in the medium to long term.

Therefore, I do not recommend trying this.

The headaches that come afterwards are not worth the small, incremental growth.

Often, the plant will lose all the growth as the side effects and damages are more serious.


Give it Plenty of Light

One of the most important things to help your elephant ears grow faster is to give it sufficient light.

Here, natural sunlight is ideal.

And plenty of light is best.

Therefore, placing your elephant ear somewhere that’s well-lit is a must if you want it to grow bigger and faster.

That said, always check to make sure how much light and intensity the plant needs.

This will depend on the variety of elephant ears you have.

For example, Alocasia plants prefer bright, indirect or filtered light. Don’t leave them in direct sunlight or full sun. You’ll end up burning the leaves.

In contrast, Colocasia plants thrive direct light indoors or full sun outdoors.

Thus, they want to bathe under the direct rays of the sun to grow their best.

For Caladiums and Xanthosoma elephant ears, partial shade outdoors is ideal while medium to bright indirect light indoors is best.

Again, full sun or more  than 3 hours of direct sunlight will cause their leaves to burn.


Use Artificial Light If Needed

In case you live in an apartment or your home’s windows are not ideally positioned to take it lots of light, then don’t despair.

You can use artificial lights instead.

Elephant ears do well in this kind of light. Thus, you have another option to natural sunshine.

Similarly, it is a good idea to use artificial lights to keep the plant happy and healthy during the winter when there isn’t much sunlight.


Feed the Plant

Because elephant ears need sufficient nutrients to grow, it is a good idea to provide them with fertilizer.

Proper feeding allows your elephant ears to grow faster and taller as well.

It also lets them produce large, lush foliage.

But keep in mind that you should not feed the plant all year. That’s because they rest during the colder months.

As such, giving them fertilizer then increases the risk of overfeeding.

Instead, they’ll grow the fastest during the warmer months. During spring and summer, the plant goes through its growing season.

And this is when you want to ensure that it receives enough sunlight, water and fertilizer to support that growth.


Use the Right Sized Pot

Many people choose their pots based on looks. While it is important that for your plant to look good, what’s even more important is you get the right kind of pot with the right size.

The size of the container you keep the plant in will affect how fast your elephant ears grows.

If you select an overly small pot, the roots will end up overcrowded.

This limits how much they can grow. Additionally, when they fill up the pot, there will be less soil left because the roots take up most of the space.

Not only do the roots not have space to grow, but because there is fewer soil, it will hold less water and nutrients.

As a result, your elephant ear plant will grow slower.

Similarly, avoid choosing an overly large container. This is what’s called overpotting.

When you do, the excess space in the pot encourages two things.

It increases the risk of overwatering since it can hold lots of water when you water the soil. And the soil stays wet much longer.

Second, it encourages more growth for the roots than the leaves.

That’s not what you want with elephant ears since the leaves are what make the plant attractive.

Therefore, choose a pot with ideal size.

To simplify things, pick a container that is 2-3 inches larger than the plant’s root system.


Prune It

Pruning especially early on also helps your elephant ear grow faster.

While it may sound ironic to trim if you want it to grow bigger, this is what works for plants.

That’s because pruning or pinching actually encourages new growth. As such, when you trim a spart elephant ear early on, it will allow it to get bushy faster.

This will allow the plant to fill out and grow faster.


Repot or Transplant at the Optimal Time

In addition to using the right kind of pot, you’ll also want to repot the plant when the time if right.

Once the plant is outgrowing its container, it is a sign that it is time to repot.

Repotting gives the plant more space to grow, but not too much that it increases the risk of overwatering.

Again, choose a pot that is 2 inches larger than the current one.

Do your repotting or transplanting in spring when the elephant ear is growing.

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