Coffee Cups Cause Trouble Again

I featured this particular elephant ear last year.

At that time it was planted beside one of the fish ponds.

I was thrilled with its placement until its cupped leaves filled up with

caterpillar poop from the oaks above.

Thus the post entitled “Coffee Cups Caterpillar Crapper.

https://floweralley.org/2017/08/19/coffee-cups-caterpillar-crapper/

Later in the season, the leaves filled up with tiny acorns, then falling leaves.

I considered the oak tree above to be the issue,

so this year I moved it to the front of the house.

Today’s heavy rains from hurricane Michael filled the cups with water.

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The plant fell over onto its Mojito elephant ear neighbor,

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which flopped over onto the giant Frydek elephant ear cluster.

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We had ourselves an elephant ear avalanche.

Colocasia leaves are supposed to tip and dump water,

not hold it until the whole plant flops over.

This domino disaster has ruined my prized  Mojito.

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Where can this plant go where it won’t cause any more trouble?

Hmmmmmm?

Coffee Cup Colocasia compost.

FLOWER

My Five Ears

I have five different Elephant Ears.

I lost my favorite this winter, but found a replacement at the Tropical Nursery in North Myrtle Beach. https://floweralley.org/2018/07/02/an-oasis-at-the-beach/

I got my first big green one decades ago ‘Caladium Esculentum.’ (name on tag?)

I love how these hold water and tip over when they get full.

Then I added some black ears. These get bigger with more water.

Next came my favorite Colocasia, ‘Mojito.’

Then the Coffee Cups.

I loved these until the caterpillars rained down poop into the cups. https://floweralley.org/2017/08/19/coffee-cups-caterpillar-crapper/

Now I have a new one, ‘Frydek’/ Alocasia micholitzana.

This one looks nothing like the label, so I do not trust this name. The leaf shape is the same, but the coloration is different.  This may be due to a difference in the amount of sunlight.

Five different ears with similar shape and different coloration.

I hope you appreciate my cutting my ears off for you.

FLOW van Gogh

 

Cover Your Ears

Well actually, by now it is really cover your tubers.

Elephant ear leaves got bitten off by the first freeze.

Now, it is time to protect the mama tuber and her baby sidekicks(pups).

I sometimes dig some up to store inside my workshop, but since it is all ready full I am risking losing some of my Colocasia collection.

I did bring in some baby Coffee Cup /Colocasia escuelenta shoots earlier.

I only have one bunch of Mojitos now, so I covered them really well.

Be sure to not only mulch around the stems, but also between the stems.

There have been years when I did not mulch at all.

What usually happens is the big mama turns to pink mush, but some of the deeper baby tubers survive. These take years to get as big as they were previously.

Don’t forget your bananas. They should be in a ring of mulch also.

Cover your ears. Here comes winter.

FLOWER

 

Creepy Coffee Cups

Just when you think you know a plant, it morphs on you.

The Coffee Cups/West Indian Kale/Colocasia escuelenta was unhappy.

I moved it.  It loved the new spot beside the small pond.  More sun, more water…

I loved it there too, until the leaves turned into “Coffee Cup Caterpillar Crappers.”

Then the Yellow Jackets started using the leaves as their levy. They hold water you see.

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Then came the creepers. Long skinny purple arms reaching out in all directions.

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One even grew down into the fish pond.

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Since when do elephant ears have runners?

Oh well.

I love them for their swirly venation

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and their purple stems and ribsIMG_4885

and how water beads up on the leaves

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and how the curled up new leaves look like closed umbrellasIMG_4887

and the heart-shape of the leaves

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and that the baby leaves have a blue hue.

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I just love this plant, despite all its quirks.

I am glad, because it looks like I will have many more.

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FLOWER

Coffee Cups Caterpillar Crapper

This is NOT how I intended this to turn out.

I have been very pleased with the new placement of Colocasia escuelenta/ Coffee cups/ West Indian Kale near the small fish pond.

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I intended to write a post about moving plants until you and the plant are both happy.

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Well, now there is a third party involved.

The oak tree above is full of munching little caterpillars.

If you look up, you see naked limbs.

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If you look down, you see feces.  Now the water in the cups has the color of coffee. Yuck!

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So thus the name of the post, in honor of Thomas Crapper of Chelsea. The owner of an early lavatory manufacturer in London.

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My OCD self keeps flushing the leaves with water.  No pun intended.

FLOW

 

Art on Every Leaf

I love all Elephant Ears/ Colocasias.

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I have many varieties.

 

My favorite is Mojito.

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Every leaf is a different mosaic of blacks and greens.

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No two leaves are alike.

 

 

Even the tiny leaves have beautiful patterns.

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They thrive in shade or partial sun. They love water.

So lovely. So easy.

Mix it up with a Mojito.

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FLOWER

I’m All Ears

Is there an elephant in the garden room?

An elephant ear that is.

There are many reasons why I love these plants.

I love how their leaves catch the breeze.Little ones dancing

It looks like a party with each leaf doing its own dance.

I love how the midrib of the leaf channels water down below,

like a good tropical plant should.

Sharing the rain drops.

non-variegated leaf pattern

Each leaf has a different color pattern,

even the non-variegated kind.

mosaic mojito leaf
Mojito
differing pattern
Patterns like a mosaic or hieroglyphics.
Venation
Marvelous venation.

Their venation is an architectural marvel.

The huge leaf stands out from the stem

like an

umbrella on its handle.

Now that you love them, too.

Let me bend your ear and tell you their secrets.

Their Latin name is Colocasia esculenta.

They grow from Taro corms, not bulbs.

They like water and will even do well

in the shallow edge of a pond.

They must be dug in the fall after the stem freezes and bends over.

If you leave them out for the winter, the parent will turn to pink mush.

Pups may survive and grow from the dead parent corm.

These will come up in June or July.

Friends, Romans, countrymen…

Follow the Flower!