Plant of the Month: May 2015

Colocasia esculenta  ‘Morning Dew’ photos courtesy of Jenny Wegley.

Colocasia esculenta ‘Morning Dew’ photos courtesy of Jenny Wegley.

by Jenny Wegley

Colocasia esculenta ‘Morning Dew’

Latin name: Colocasia esculenta ‘Morning Dew’
Common name: Elephant ear
Flowers: n/a
Mature size: 48” tall
Hardiness: Perennial Zones 7b – 10b
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or Plant Delights Nursery

My philosophy is that it is not truly a Texas garden without the use of tropical plants spotting your landscape during the summer months. Over the past few years we have continued to increase the number of tropicals that we use throughout the display gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. They add an element of interest with bold colors, shapes and textures — not to mention that they are very low maintenance and last from spring until frost. Wide arrays of them are even perennials!

PM_May15_ColocasiaStemA few years back we decided to conduct an elephant ear trial to ensure we were showcasing the best the industry had to offer. We planted more than 40 varieties and were excited about the results. Colocasia ‘Morning Dew’, bred by Dr. John Cho in Hawaii, was one of the standouts in the trial garden. ‘Morning Dew’ is striking from a distance, featuring shades of green varying from very light to hunter green. This coloration is not limited to just the large leaves of ‘Morning Dew’, but is also displayed in the stems, perhaps the most interesting and attractive feature of this perennial Colocasia.

One of the struggles with elephant ears has been that they tend to lean heavily or flop onto other plant material. Colocasia ‘Morning Dew’ sports an impressive compact habit, standing at 48 inches tall. Strong stems support the large variegated leaves, not allowing them to fall onto neighboring plants. This makes ‘Morning Dew’ ideal to place in a container with other plant products. The leaf coloring makes for easy combinations with just about any other material. Make sure that you pair it with plants that need moderate water, just like it does. We suggest pairing it with reds, deep pinks or lavender purple; pentas would be a perfect accent. Add a touch of sweet potato vine for a trailing effect, and you have the perfect Texas tropical container.


If you have not tried giving your garden a twist of the tropics, give it a go this summer. Mild-mannered and low-maintenance Colocasia ‘Morning Dew’ is a great addition to any Texas garden. Planted in the landscape or in a container, this perennial elephant ear can be enjoyed for years.

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Posted by Jenny Wegley
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