How to Prune Elephant Ears for Optimal Growth

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Elephant ears are a type of tropical plant with large, paddle-shaped leaves. They’re popular houseplants and can also be grown outdoors in warm climates. Proper pruning is essential for optimal growth and health of your elephant ear plant.

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Pruning Basics

Pruning is a basic horticultural practice that can help to optimize the growth and health of your plants. When you prune elephant ears, you are essentially cutting away dead or dying leaves and stems to encourage new growth. This process can also help to improve the overall appearance of your plant.Prune elephant ears in early spring before new growth begins.

Pruning tools

There are a few different tools you can use for pruning your elephant ears. For small plants, a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears will suffice. For larger plants, you will need a pruning saw or loppers.

When choosing a pruning saw or loppers, look for a model with a comfortable grip and sharp blades. This will make the job of pruning much easier and help you avoid injury.

Once you have the right tools, it’s time to get to work!

When to prune

Pruning is essential to the health and beauty of your elephant ear plant (Colocasia esculenta). Not only does it remove diseased, dying or damaged leaves, it also encourages the plant to produce new growth. The type of pruning you do and the time of year you do it depends on the kind of plant you have and your climate.

In general, pruning should be done in early spring before new growth begins. If you live in a warm climate where elephant ears can remain evergreen, then you can prune at any time of year except midsummer. In cooler climates, where the plants go dormant in winter, wait until all the leaves have died back before pruning.

How to prune elephant ears
Start by Sterilize your cutting tools in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to prevent the spread of disease. Then, simply cut off any damaged, diseased or dying leaves at the base with a sharp knife or pruning shears. You can also remove any yellowed or browned leaves to tidy up the plant and improve its appearance. Finally, cut back any long or leggy stems to encourage bushier growth.

How to prune

Pruning is an essential part of keeping your elephant ears healthy and looking their best. It not only helps to control the size and shape of the plant, but it also removes any damaged or diseased leaves, stems, or roots. Pruning also encourages new growth, which can help give your plant a fuller, more lush appearance.

There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning your elephant ears. First, always use clean, sharp pruning shears or knives to make clean cuts. second, try to prune in the early morning hours when the leaves are still wet from dew; this will help prevent infection and disease. third, be sure to remove any dead or dying leaves, stems, or roots from the plant; these can harbor pests and diseases that can harm your plant. Finally, don’t be afraid to prune back your plant significantly; elephant ears are very resilient and will quickly bounce back from even the most drastic pruning.

Now that you know the basics of how to prune elephant ears, it’s time to get started! Follow the steps below for best results.

1) Start by removing any dead or dying leaves, stems, or roots from the plant. These can harbor pests and diseases that can harm your plant.

2) Next, trim back any overgrown leaves or stems. Be sure to make clean cuts with sharp pruning shears or knives.

3) Finally, cut back any remaining leaves or stems by one-third to one-half. This will encourage new growth and help keep your plant looking its best.

Pruning Elephant Ears

Pruning elephant ears is important for their growth and health. It helps them to produce more leaves and look fuller. It also helps to reduce the chances of disease and pests.

Cutting back the leaves

If you want your elephant ear plant to look its best, you’ll need to prune it regularly. While the exact pruning schedule will vary depending on the type of plant and the climate you live in, most elephant ear plants will benefit from a trimming every few months.

To start, cut back any yellow or brown leaves. These leaves are no longer contributing to the plant’s photosynthesis process and are essentially dead weight. trimming them away will allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth.

Next, cut back any leaves that are significantly larger than the others. These leaves may be blocking sunlight from reaching the smaller leaves, or they may be preventing air circulation around the plant. Both of these conditions can lead to problems with mold or mildew, so it’s best to remove the oversized leaves before they cause problems.

Finally, cut away any damaged or diseased leaves. These leaves are not only unsightly, but they can also spread diseases to healthy parts of the plant. If you see any leaves that are discolored, wilted, or otherwise damaged, it’s best to remove them as soon as possible.

Trimming the stalk

Cut the elephant ear plant back to six to eight inches above the ground when new growth begins to fade in the fall. This will encourage new, healthy growth in the spring. If you live in a climate where winters are severe, you may need to provide some protection for your plant. Mulching around the base of the plant will help insulate it from cold temperatures.

After Pruning

After you have removed the dead leaves and flowers from your elephant ear plant, you will need to prune the stems. This will encourage new growth and help the plant to produce more leaves. You should prune the stems back to about 6 inches (15 cm) from the ground.


Fertilizing African violets is important, but too much fertilizer will actually damage the plants. African violet fertilizer should have a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and be low in salts. A common rule of thumb is to apply one-quarter the manufacturer’s recommended amount. For example, if the recommended amount of fertilizer is 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, use only 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Apply African violet fertilizer every other week during the growing season, and every four weeks during the winter months.


Watering is crucial for Elephant Ears. They require a lot of water and will not tolerate drought conditions. Water them deeply and regularly during their growing season, which is typically from spring to fall. Let the soil dry out slightly between watering to prevent root rot. Reduce watering in the winter when the plants are dormant.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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