Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 9 Professionals
Common Name: taro
Type: Bulb
Family: Araceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in fertile, humusy, organically rich, medium to wet soils in part shade or filtered sun. When growing plants in garden soils, provide regular moisture, especially during dry summer periods, and do not allow soils to dry out. Plants may also be grown as pond marginals in up to 6" of standing water. Plants produce prodigious amounts of growth and appreciate regular fertilization during the growing season. Site plants in locations protected form strong winds. Tubers may be left in the ground year-round in USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, however, tubers should be planted in the ground in mid-spring (after April 20), dug up in fall after first frost and then overwintered in a cool dry location (set in dry peat or wood shavings) where temperatures do not dip below 45 degrees F, in somewhat the same manner as done for cannas.

Full sun generally brings out the best leaf color for this cultivar. However, in the hot summers of the St. Louis area, plants appear to do best in part shade, particularly with some light afternoon shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Colocasia esculenta, commonly called elephant's ear, is a tuberous, stemless, frost-tender perennial of the arum family (see also calla lily and jack-in-the-pulpit) which typically grows 3-6' tall and as wide. For gardeners, it is primarily grown as a foliage plant with huge, heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped, conspicuously-veined, downward-pointing, peltate leaves (to 2' long) on long, stout, succulent stems. As the common name suggests, each leaf purportedly resembles an elephant's ear. Calla lily-like flowers with yellowish-white spathes and spadixes are infrequently produced and usually hidden by the foliage when they do occur. This species is also commercially grown as a food crop in Hawaii (poi is made from the tubers) where it is commonly called taro.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kolokasia used for the root of Nelumbo nucifera.

Specific epithet means edible or good to eat.

'Black Magic' features unusual purplish-black leaves. It is a tuberous, stemless, frost-tender perennial of the arum family (see also calla lily and jack-in-the-pulpit) which typically grows 3-6' tall and as wide. It is primarily a foliage plant with huge, heart-shaped, conspicuously-veined, downward-pointing, peltate leaves (to 2' long) on long petioles.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Lends a large tropical look to gardens, water margins and large containers. Excellent as a specimen or in groups.