Elephant Ear Plant Growth Rate: What Factors Affect It?

Many factors influence elephant ear plant growth rate, and it’s important to know what these are if you want your plant to thrive.

These factors include whether your elephant ear is grown indoors or outdoors, how much sunlight it receives, how often it is fertilized, and much more. Other factors like what type of elephant ear plant you have also play a significant role, and you can expect the growth rate to vary from less than 1 foot per year to 5 feet per year.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ten most influential factors for elephant ear plant growth rate, how to optimize them, and things to watch out for to keep your plant as healthy as possible.

Let’s get into it.

10 Factors That Affect Elephant Ear Plant Growth Rate

Here’s a list of the ten most important factors that affect elephant ear plant growth rate.

1. Indoor Vs. Outdoor

When growing elephant ear plants, you’ll find that outdoor conditions typically offer better opportunities for growth if you live in an area where they can grow outside (USDA zones 9 to 11 are ideal for elephant ears).

Large elephant ear plant leaves in the wild
Outdoor elephant ears grow unrestricted

If planted into the ground, there aren’t any restrictions on the roots, and if the environment is suited for their growth, then they will continuously grow at a reasonable rate.

Indoor elephant ear plants can still grow quickly, but not as fast as outdoor ones.

2. Sunlight

Elephant ear plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. They can tolerate direct sunlight, but the leaves can be prone to sun scorch if the light is too intense or the air is dry, leading to irregular spots on the leaves.

A lack of sunlight can also affect growth as it is needed for photosynthesis.

3. Watering Schedule

The watering schedule is also very influential in the overall growth rate of elephant ear plants.

Elephant ear plants thrive in moist soil and can grow in water if the conditions are right.

However, they can still be prone to overwatering, particularly if they are potted with standing water in the soil. If overwatered, the overall growth rate will slow as the roots suffocate and eventually rot and die.

On the other hand, underwatering can also dramatically slow the growth rate, as water plays a vital role in transporting nutrients.

4. Fertilizing

Fertilizers play a big role in how fast elephant ear plants grow, especially if the soil mix lacks nutrients.

Nutrients like nitrogen, for example, are responsible for leaf development, while others like potassium boost plants’ overall function and health.

5. Soil Quality

The soil quality – how well it drains and how much nutrients it contains – is vital for elephant ear plant growth rate.

If the soil doesn’t drain well, your elephant ear will quickly become overwatered, leading to rotten roots and stunted growth. If it drains too quickly, the soil will become underwatered, which also slows growth down.

Growth will also be affected if the soil doesn’t contain enough nutrients.

Elephant ears thrive in well-draining, moist soil with a balanced pH level. Investing in high-quality soil with a mix of nutrients will encourage faster growth.

6. Humidity

Elephant ear plants are tropical, and as such, they prefer high humidity levels. Humidity needs to be at least 50%, with an ideal level of 60 to 70%.

Monitor your plant’s environment to ensure humidity levels are always optimal. If necessary, use a humidifier for indoor plants to mimic the outdoor conditions they crave.

7. Temperature

Temperature plays a significant role in your elephant ear plant’s growth rate.

They thrive in warm climates, between 65-85°F (18-29°C) during the day and no lower than 60°F (15°C) at nigh.t

8. Age

As your elephant ear plant matures, its growth rate may fluctuate.

Younger plants typically grow faster than their older counterparts. However, providing the best possible care will help ensure steady, healthy growth even as the plant ages.

9. Season

Due to their tropical nature, elephant ear plants grow faster during the warmer months.

Spring and summer are the plant’s primary growing seasons, while growth may slow during colder months even in well-maintained indoor environments. Check out our guide for elephant ear winter care here.

10. Pests/Disease

Pests and diseases can negatively impact your plant’s growth rate.

Regularly inspect your elephant ear plant for signs of infestations or disease and address any issues promptly through appropriate treatment and prevention methods. You can find more details about these treatments in our guide here.

Do Different Types Of Elephant Ears Grow Faster Than Others?

Yes, different types of elephant ears have varying growth rates.

The four main types of plants categorized as elephant ears are Colocasia, Caladium, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma.


Colocasias grow quickly and are native to swamp-like environments in Asia.

They can reach impressive heights of 10 feet tall with large leaves.


Caladiums are common elephant ear plants growing in nurseries.

Caladiums grow slowly and are commonly grown as foliage plants, reaching 2 feet tall.


There are around 90 accepted species of alocasia, and these are native to Asia and Australia.

These are often grown as houseplants, and certain types like Alocasia macrorhiza reach impressive heights of 15 feet tall with 4-foot-long leaves inside.

Alocasias grow pretty quickly when given tropical conditions.


Xanthosomas are slow growers and have pointed leaves with distinctive white veins.

Xanthosomas typically reach a few feet tall and are often grown inside as houseplants.

How To Make An Elephant Ear Plant Grow Quicker

You’ve probably figured by now that getting an elephant ear plant to grow quickly results from optimizing the growing conditions.

Here’s a quick recap of how to achieve this:

  • Temperature – Aim for temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) during the day and no lower than 60°F (15°C) at night.
  • Humidity – Keep the humidity level above 50%, with 60-70% preferred.
  • Sunlight – Bright, indirect sunlight is best.
  • Soil – Well-draining soil is best, with plenty of organic material to increase nutrient availability.
  • Watering Schedule – Water when the top inch of soil dries out, keeping the soil moist but not overwatered.
  • Fertilizing – Fertilize once per month during the growing season with a balanced complete fertilizer.
  • Indoor Vs. Outdoor – If you live in the right climate for your elephant ear plant to grow outside, then this is ideal for it to grow as quickly as possible. USDA zones 9 to 11 work well for these plants.

Aside from these factors, it’s important to regularly inspect your elephant ear plant for any signs of disease or pests, as these can quickly slow down growth and, in severe cases, kill your plant.

If you notice any irregular spots, mold, or signs of tiny insects on the leaves or stems, you need to act quickly to deal with the issue.

In Summary

Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea of the factors contributing to the elephant ear plant growth rate.

It’s important to remember that growth rate isn’t everything – if your plant is happy, that is the main thing. Elephant ears can be perfectly healthy in less-than-ideal conditions (to a certain extent); they will just grow slower than those in more suitable climates.

Want to learn more about elephant ear plants? Check out some of our recent articles below:

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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