Getting Rid of Elephant Ears?

Category Bulbs
Elephant ears, a member of the caladium family, are large showy leafed plants. They grow from bulbs and thrive in warm tropical zones. They can also be difficult to get rid of. This is a page about getting rid of elephant ears.


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How can I get rid of some elephant ears? Twelve years ago when we first moved into this house I planted one bulb on each side of our front steps. Three years later I dug them up because they had gotten too full and split them into 3 plants from each bulb and transplanted them.

Three years later I dug up all 6 plants and split each of them into 3 plants each, making 18 plants! Some I gave away, some I transplanted again. I kept 6 of the 18. Three years ago I did all this again! And guess what, I have elephant ears still coming up in all of the original places where I planted or transplanted them. I just can't get them to quit coming up! I've even tried weed killer but it doesn't seem to phase them!


Hardiness Zone: 7b

By Cricket from Parkton, NC


June 9, 20090 found this helpful

Dig down at least two feet and sift all the dirt through a screen. Take all the bulbs you find and list them on Freecycle or donate them to a local youth service or church to use as a fundraiser, or to a child or adult day program. Do this twice a year, in spring and fall, for three years or until no more elephant ears pop up in the spring. That should finally rid you of them.

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June 12, 20090 found this helpful

I DID DIG THEM UP! THREE TIMES! And yes, I went down MORE than 2 feet all 3 times. How do I kill off the ones I have!

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June 12, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, Cricketnc, I did a quick google search on your problem and it sounds like they are nearly impossible to get rid of once established. One site recommended pulling up every single shoot that you see, every couple of weeks and then digging up the bulbs, like you already have. It is a several year process.


I did see a recommendation for a product called Killex that was supposed to get rid of them for one person. Round up was ineffective. I steer clear of chemicals in my yard so, personally, I'd just keep digging them up and hopefully you will get rid of enough eventually.

Or, you could try planting another invasive species that you would rather have and see if you can squeeze them out. Of course, you may have the same problem with the new plant in a couple of years.

Have you tried asking a Master Gardener in your area for advice? I see them at the local nurseries from time to time.

Good luck! I have a similar problem with a tiny peppermint plan that I planted when I moved it. It now grows up through my patio cracks and is in several parts of my yard. Glad I like mint!

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June 12, 20090 found this helpful

Hi Jess, Thank you for your response. As you could see, you are the only one who actually addressed the question I asked.


I guess I'm stuck with these elephant ears. I think I'll just let them grow. It's not that I don't like them, I had simply decided I wanted them in a different spot! OH well!
I had even tried putting a planter on top of them. 4 years later when I moved it, guess what I found poking thru the dirt underneath! Stubborn beggars they are!

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