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Elephant Ear Leaf Problems – Fix Brown, Yellowing, All Diseases

If you are searching for Elephant Ear Leaf Problems so before that let me tell you Elephant Ear plant is a perennial plant grown widely as food crops. This plant gets its nickname from heart shaped big sized leaves & Now Cultivators have made its variegated variety including purple, green and white. Its Included in Colocasia genus which has many other species. Taro, Dasheen is another name of this gigantic leafy plant. With huge leaves come with other problem like edge browning , dying and much more. Today will discuss on Elephant Ear leaf problems that every owner should know so they will do proper care for the plant. Lets know common problems why Why elephant ear plant dying?

Elephant Ear leaf problems – The Most common plant problem in indoor elephant ear plants is Leaf blight, it’s a fungal disease that causes tan spots due to constant moisture. Other Problems with the leaf are bacterial leaf spots , leaf scorch, spider mites and Phyllosticta leaf spot. To Fix this leaves spots diseases and pests you need to carefully spray fungicide or Will discuss various other ways to get rid of these problems. These plants get fungal disease due to wet conditions and sometimes warm climates have caused these problems.

Elephant Ear Leaf Problems
Elephant Ear Leaf Problems

Fungal Leaf blight

Fungal leaf blight is the most common problem occurring in elephant ear plants and signs include lesions that damage leaves and turn it into yellow or purplish. Fungal Blight increases leaf spots in neighboring leaves. Phytophthora colocasiae is a fungus that causes leaf blight. It is a serious fungal disease that makes round lesions on the leaf and makes a fluid shape that turns yellow when it dries also , In some cases dark purple spots that do spread on the leaves and increase its size from time to time. Also You may notice a white thing covering those fungus infections after that. After that leave will die back and fall. It can also reach to the bottom if not resolved. Using a Fungicide made from copper can get rid of this Phytophthora Leaf Blight. It should be sprayed every week in the rainy season or other days you can pour in every 2 weeks. It can be used after you detect any such problem.

Also Experts believe that you need to pour water on roots not in leaves it will help the plant to not get any of this issue in the first place.

Copper Fungicide – Buy Now

How do you treat fungal leaf blight?

Fungal leaf blight diseases can be treated with Baking soda which contains bicarbonate soda that can be sprayed and best part is this is organic treatment and safe for the elephant ear plant.


  1. Taking 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 4 liters of water, this teaspoon would be 2.5-3 ml to be exact.
  2. Spraying it into the leaves would work.
  3. Make sure to remove all the leaves that already have leaf spots.
  4. As you may encounter the fungus spreading to other plants quickly so cutting off such leaves would prevent the larger damage.

Quicker Solution: Find leaves and Prune it as soon as you find fungal leaf blight lesions.

Spider mites

The tiny spider hides behind the leaves and makes many side webs to disappear immediately if anything happens. They are creepy little bugs. What you can do is use insecticidal soaps or Neel oil to prevent them from coming back. You can also try excess water on Colocasia leaves to do that but it’s not recommended as this creates another fungal problem on the leaf.

Phyllosticta Leaf Spot

Phyllosticta leaf spot elephant ear is a problem that is a minor plant disease. It creates small lesions on the leaves, making the leaf discolor and drop. You can prevent this issue by adequate watering and if your elephant plant is already caught in this disease then try pruning off that leaf so the disease doesn’t spread.

Elephant Ear Leaf Problems include leaf spot, Pythium rot and leaf blight are more problematic than this Phyllosticta Leaf Spot as this is not a major issue that made the plant die. 

Elephant ear diseases : Bacterial leaf spot

This bacteria causes spots which in brown in color on the leaf and you can easily notice the dots there. Same way it can be solved with fungicide having copper. The best time to use is when you detect this problem so it can be solved in early days. You can change the location else it will also cause other plants to have this same type of bacterial infection.

Colocasia elephant ear plant
Colocasia elephant ear plant

Thrips : Bugs on elephant ear plant

If the leaves are distorted having spots , yellowing areas , black spots it is all signs of thrips. Colocasia generally feed on fungal spores on leaves and it can be found if your landscape plant becomes tall. They like warm or cool places to survive. when they eat may also transmit disease that can affect the plant. You can use Insecticidal soap , Neem oil also works. For Higher infestation you can directly use any pesticide to control its population.

Did you know thrips are one such pest that is common in gardens and outdoor grasses. These thrips like to have a taste of juices filled inside the fruits or plants and leave spots, leaves may become dried, pale, change color to brown and die back.

Not only elephant ear, if you want to get rid of thrips, first remove the grasses, weeds grown outside. This way you may prevent them from staying too long in the garden or lawn.

Also If you check all your houseplant and regularly monitor them about pests then it could save your plant from getting any damage with that you would be focusing on the watering schedule.

Although I have already suggested the pesticide for thrips in elephant ear plant, you can also take home predatory thrips that eat the eggs of those tiny insects and larvae. It may help to reduce the numbers of thrips in the garden.

Thrips many times sitting on plant’s leaves and flower in that case pruning would be the best option you can have and cut off those stems/leaves that are diseased or damaged. Most people who have healthy plant gardens do pruning very often to keep the new growth coming and older ones should be eliminated.

Pythium Rot : Elephant ear plant diseases

This one is Last Problem that will discuss and it is one of dangerous diseases among every other leaf problem as this affects the whole elephant ear plant , it is caused a parasite called Pythium and it’s not fungus but it does act as fungus like spreading on wet layer of soil as this one loves watered area more. This is sometimes called the water rot problem as this one likes an irrigated environment. If this disease happens to your plant then it results in down on its overall growth and the plant feels wet and quickly dies due to rotting on the root section or on the ground layer. You should check your water as this may be contaminated , make sure to give clear water to plants and avoid any Pythium rot problem. Newly seedling can be affected in early stages also.

If you want to buy this plant below are links to buy it.

Buy Elephant Ear plant From ETSY(recommended)

Buy Elephant Ear plant from Amazon

Why do elephant ear bulbs rot?

Elephant ear bulb starts to root rot due to overwatering that results in yellowing ear plant leaves. Some people try to store bulbs for the next warm season to avoid any damage from winter frost. When taking out the bulb or tuber a small mistake leads to root rotting. 

Carefully take out the bulb by digging 30-35cm away from the shoot source, that way you can easily lift the plant and its bulb without damaging any of the rooting.

“Elephant ear bulbs” are commonly used by people to denote the tuber of elephant ear plants. This is also used to propagate elephant ear plant. Many people think that it will grow again every year without damage but it’s not true, we don’t know when there is too much freeze outside of our house that can actually damage the bulbs.

How do you save a dying elephant ear plant?

Saving a dying elephant ear plant can be complicated but once you see signs like leaves turning pale and dried and it doesn’t look good then remove those foliage and take out the bulb/tuber and find a storage to store it in warm temperature. It will help the tuber to sustain and grow in next spring, you just need to wrap the elephant ear bulb inside the sphagnum moss, as it will get a warmer place then it could live for longer. 

Elephant ear plant holes in leaves

Most common reason for elephant ear plant with holes in the leaves is due to insects like squash bugs, beetles, sawfly caterpillars, slugs, cutworms, aphids, grasshoppers. Holes on the edges or inside the leaves can be insect problems that can be solved by spraying insecticide.

Elephant leaves that are already damaged with holes can’t be reversed but you can treat this with horticultural oil.

You can also use bonide and monterey so can’t compare it depends how much you want to use it. For Heavy insect infestation you need 1 gallon otherwise go for 32 oz.

Most common reason for Elephant ear plant with holes is due to slugs as they feed the foliage at night, that’s why they often have no trace. larger slugs try to make bigger holes but smaller ones create lines, catchy choppy holes inside the leaves that you can clearly see. Elephant ear plant holes causing slugs can be removed using insect spray. I would recommend you use this Garden Safe Slug & snail bait  for slug problem which is so helpful and easy to use.

Elephant ear Turning white

White spots on elephant ears – Most common reason for an elephant ear turning white is due to chlorosis, meaning when a plant can’t produce its normal green color due to lack of chlorophyll it results in leaves turning white, yellowish. When your ear plant is not getting enough sunlight to make food then it will change color. To fix white leaves just make sure your elephant plant is getting enough sunlight by moving its place to a more bright light area indoors or check if sunlight is getting blocked or shaded by other houseplants or by a tree.

All Seasons Horticultural Oil/Insecticide

Horticultural Oil Concentrate Insecticide


Why is my elephant ear dying?

Major reason for elephant ear dying is root rot and you might yellowing of leaves and fall. To prevent this if you grow this on a small pot change that, secondly repot it and cut the roots which are rotted. You can spray water and don’t need to pour plenty of water as this creates soggy soil. You can also use fertilizer that could be all purpose and spray on every 13-15 days. Also Try this solution – Make sure soil dries to the top about 1 inch left then do watering and see the result.

Why are the leaves on my elephant ear plant turning yellow?

There are 2-3 answers to the leaves problem but the most common reason for elephant ear plants to turn yellow is because of either overwater and no sufficient bright light. Try to give them less water and change the location to more bright light, use of plant food can solve this problem it has nutrient deficiency. Or If it is in dormant season then don’t worry it will grow back next time.

How often do you water elephant ears?

They mostly grow in moist soil , so elephant ears do need water every 3 days but make sure to check its soil and don’t make it too soggy. They also need heavy feeding of fertilizer so giving them all purpose fertilizer can help them grow more beautiful and encourages its overall strength.

Can elephant ears grow indoors?

Yes you can grow them indoors , elephant ears plant need bright indirect sunlight and big containers so their roots can spread. As the plant will become big so it needs a large pot. They need less water inside than outdoors , so don’t put too much water on them.

What is the best fertilizer for elephant ears?

They can be feeded with 20-10-20 fertilizer which is best for elephant ears plant and this gives them more power and nutrients that they need to grow more darker green leaves. This is liquid solution that can be poured every month or in twice per month.

Wrap Up

I Hope you get the solution by reading all the problems I provided on “Elephant Ear Leaf Problems”, If you want to see other posts please check below.

Also Read :

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Japanese blood grass – How to Grow & Care (Imperata cylindrica) – Guide

Amelia Clark

I am Amelia Clark, An experienced gardener with 6 years expertise and this is my blog talk about plants and flowers. See more about me.

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