Colocasia Black Magic: Black Elephant Ears Plant

colocasia black magic potted in the landscape

The Colocasia Black Magic, is one of the “new breed” of black elephant ears.

Since black magic is related, culture of the plant as well as newer introductions is very similar to the well known and popular, elephant ear – Colocasia esculenta.

Pronounced KOLL-oh-kay-zhuh.

The large green leaved giant, grown around the world for food, but also used as an ornamental in the landscape.

New Looks and Style in Black

Known as the “black elephant ears plant.” Colocasia esculenta Black Magic brings the same easy to grow, durable plant, combined with new looks and style for the tropical landscape.

There is plenty to get excited about with “Black Magic”, especially for those who love bold tropical effects.

It’s seductive, does best when planted in a rich soil with warm temperatures and lots of light. An unmistakable tropical effect can be made from a single large pot of black elephant ears.

Spectacular Specimens Ebony-Red Stems

When planted in a container, in full or partial shade where this swamp plant can wick up moisture, it can reach a height of 3 to 6 feet and quickly fill large containers.

It displays its spectacular dark black-purple elephant ears sitting atop ebony-red stems. Making for an outstanding specimen when used as an ornamental in a shallow pool or pond.

colocasia black magic planted in the landscape

It can also make an interesting display planted in a simple metal watering trough in 6 inches of standing water, slightly buried, surrounded by small landscaping stone.

In areas and locations like St. Louis known to have some hot summers, Colocasia Black Magic does best where it can have partial shade, particularly afternoon shade. Where it will soon showcase it’s dark giant leaves.

As translucence-light passes through the leaves, the plants create an almost radiant glow. Visual delight is their primary “duty,” not flowers.

Growing Black Magic In Northern Locations

When growing the black elephant ears in northern and mid-western locations, plant in the ground around mid April (mid-spring).

At first frost, dug tubers and overwinter in a bed of dry peat or wood shaving (plastic storage boxes work great), in a cool place where temperatures do not go below 45 degrees. There the tubers somewhat like cannas.

Newer Colocasia Varieties For Landscape

Here is a partial list of some of the new and exciting Colocasias available from places like PlantDelights.com for your landscape.

  • Colocasia ‘Blackwater’
  • Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Big Dipper’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Runner’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Coal Miner’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Diamond Head’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Elena’ PPAF
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Hawaiian Eye’ PP 19,884
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Hilo Bay’ PP 20,108
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Jack’s Giant’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Kona Coffee’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Lemonade’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Lime Aide’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Nancy’s Revenge’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Pineapple Princess’ PP 20,982
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Rhubarb’
  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Ruffles’

Colocasia Bikini Tini

Grows in full sun or shade. Its strong stems, reach heights of 5 to 7 feet. Bluish-gray, think leaves leaves, forming cups showing the dark purple veins and petioles.

Cups fill with water when it rains. Once established Bikini Tini is very drought tolerant. Tubers can overwinter in the garden as USDA zone 6.

Colocasia Black Beauty

Stunning mutation of Colocasia ‘Illustris’, reaching a height of 4 feet. More intense black leaf coloring. Some green veins removed.

Colocasia Black Coral
colocasia black coral

Deep glossy jet black foliage, heavy corrugation, electric blue veins reaching 48 inches at maturity. Disease resistant, clumping habit, interesting stems and foliage.

Welcome addition and show stopper in any garden or landscape.

Colocasia Blue Hawaii

Perfect for small landscapes and gardens. Medium green leaves, 12 inches long, dramatic purple veins reaching 30 inches tall.

On back of leaf, veins look cranberry instead of purple.

Colocasia Illustris

The sister plant to “Black Magic”, combining purple and bright green foliage.

Striking foliage with leaves standing 4 feet create an enchanting color combination in partial shade. Grows well in the shallow edges of water in a pond or pool and thrives in moist locations.
colocasia mojito
Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ PP 21,995

Wild and crazy just like the Cuban drink, Colocasia ‘Mojito’ (pronounced “Mo-he-toe”), medium green leaves reaching 3 feet and pasted throughout with dark purple flecks.

Excellent choice for a combo planting with Black magic out on a deck for summer conversation.

Elephant Ears In the Landscape

It was just a few years ago, many a home gardener would never have considered planting a Colocasia in their garden. They were considered a cheap, unsophisticated plant. One worthy of planting only in a tin can.

Now you can find elephant ears used in high end gardens where there is a need for a wide leafed plant and new looks.

1 – In northern climates instead of being used as a perennial it can be used as a shrub as a backdrop during the summer.

Colocasias are a “Top Pick” for use in containers.

2 – One interesting way to use these new elephant ear plants is by planting different varieties together.

Instead, take different varieties such as “Black Magic”, Black Coral, Colocasia Illustris, Colocasia Mojito, and plant them in one large decorative pottery planter.


Purple stems, velvety leaves, green and black leaves all combining into a unique look.

3 – Colocasia of all kinds – hardy green with black splotches, tender black (dark purple) that live through USDA Zone 8 winters can be used in sunny northern gardens.

Dressing up shaded borders, along with other heat-loving plants woven into bedding schemes.

Colocasias offer the homeowner an easy way to add lush, bright tropical looks to their landscape year after year.

Image: in Landscape Anika Malone | Black Coral & Mojito Butlers Foliage

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