Translucent looking leaves

Asked May 31, 2020, 11:51 AM EDT

Why are the elephant ears looking Translucent and loosing their color

Fairfield County Connecticut

1 Response


There are a few different types of plants that are referred to by the common name elephant ears. I am assuming that the plant you are referring to is a plant in the Colocasia genus. These plants are tropical plants native of Asia and are grown from tubers. In Connecticut they are not hardy, but can be grown as annuals outdoors in gardens or in pots. Colocasias generally have heart shaped leaves with stems that attach underneath in the middle of the leaf. There are many different varieties of Colocasias and they are available in dwarf, medium, and giant sizes. Leaf colors can vary and can be green, black, or variegated with a combination of leaf colors.

Colocasia can be grown in sun or part shade. They prefer bright light but filtered sunlight might be optimal. Where they are native, they grow in swampy and wet areas, thus they need lots of water if grown in gardens or pots. Soil should be moist. They are also heavy feeders, so fertilizing frequently is recommended.

I am not sure if you are growing your elephant ears in pots or in the garden and whether they are located in sun or shade. If the leaves are becoming translucent or white, that is most likely a cultural problem which means you need to evaluate the plant’s environment and how it is maintained. It could be that the plant is getting too much sun. Some of the variegated varieties are bred to have whitish areas on the leaves. These areas do not contain chlorophyll so they are more sensitive to direct sunlight. Also, be sure to make sure that the plant is getting adequate water and fertilization. The plant does continue to put out on new growth during the season. Old damaged leaves can be removed.