What Are Plants that Look like Elephant Ears for Your Garden?


It is often used as ornamental plant, having big and thin leaves. You can see mottled streaks or spots (with contrast colors) for the petiole stem. Another option is the Colocasia Gigantea which is also big and wide. If you are looking for plants that look like elephant ears, they can be your good option.


Xanthosoma genus has around 70 herbs species which are basically native to New World tropics – which is quite different from Colocasia and Alocasia. One of the signature styles are the arrowhead shape of the leaves. That’s why the genus are also called the arrowheads, distinguishing this one from Pacific and Asian taro types.

There are two main species that have big leaves, very similar to the elephant ear. They are the Xanthosoma Sagittifolium or the Arrowhead and Xanthosoma Maffafa or the Malanga. Malanga’s leaves can reach up to 2 feet (5 feet, max) in size. It has sap, which can cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Malanga can be eaten, but only after cooked thoroughly. The Arrowhead is even bigger and taller, able to reach 9 feet of height in general.

The Focus on the Leaves

The leaves are basically the main point that makes the plant visually catchy. After all, elephant ear isn’t exactly a flower plant. The big and wide leaves are the main attraction of the plant. The leaves have the most exciting features. Being a tropical foliage plant (with huge leaves), the leaves have attractive colors, patterns, and speckles. Elephant ear has sagittate shape, meaning that it has pointed arrowhead or heart.

The leaves are waxy and smooth. The leaves can also display colored veins that are often contrastive to the lush plant. The leaves can point downward or upward, depending on the species. Xanthosoma and Alocasia tend to point outward and upward, while Caladium and Colocasia have showy leaves pointing downward.

Unlike what people believe, the colors are various – not only green. There are purple, cream, red, pink, black, and of course, green. When you can combine the color with the heart (or arrow) shape, you can have yourself an exciting plant, regardless of the elephant ear type you have chosen. Rest assured that the plant can make your landscape look like a tropical heaven.

Final Words

As you can see, elephant ear isn’t the only plants with big leaves. There are some other options that include different genus or species. Now that you already know the alternative plants that look like elephant ears, you can have tons of different options for your gardening landscape.

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