Big Leaves!

(page 2)

Colocasia esculenta is a perennial marginal or bog plant with its root crown at water or soil level. It is ideal for the pool edge, or in moist ground or even in a large pot. It benefits from a semi-shaded spot and should be planted in a rich, light, free - draining soil or compost, allowing 60cm between plants. Water plentifully in warm weather and less so during cooler months. It should be fed with a liquid fertiliser weekly during the summer. Grown indoors in winter, and kept moist, it does very well as a houseplant.

Propagation can be by cutting off the top part of the tuber (as Taro roots from the area between the stem and the top of the tuber) or by the cormels. They can also be propagated from seed - if you can find any!

I got my three tubers from Sainsbury's under the name of 'Eddoes' at the end of April last year. They were just beginning to sprout. When buying from a supermarket or ethnic grocers look for fresh-looking tubers. With or without sprouts, they should not look old. I planted them in March in 15cm pots, applying gentle bottom heat of 1 5c. When leaves appeared I increased the watering. The pot size needs to be increased to keep pace with the amazing speed of the root growth until they are in the largest pots you have or are planted out at the end of May or beginning of June. Of the three, one produced a single spike 75cm high with leaves 45cm long. The others produced multiple growths and after dividing the main tubers I now have nine potted specimens. They range from 45cm to 60cm high and the leaves are between 25cm and 30cm, and one of them has produced two offsets. The largest plant has produced six offsets from the base.

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