All Ears

“All Ears”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Saturday through Monday, we had some very unusual weather.  A cool front made it to the Gulf Coast, and while the temperatures were still in the high 80’s, the air was very dry.  Dew points were much lower than normal which made being outside pleasant, and I was able to work in the garden for a change.  Usually the middle of summer means just running out of the air conditioning long enough to water a few thing, but this weekend I was able to cut back shrubs and vines and plant others that have been in containers too long.  With the lower dew points, it was warm outside but not the sweat drenching atmosphere that is so common. 

Another thing that occupied my time was my daughter’s minor surgery on Monday.  Everything went fine, but it sure is tiring just sitting around a hospital.

But to get back to the garden.  One of the plants that is doing very well this summer is one of my alocasias, Metallica.  I have this growing in a large container with chartruese-colored hostas at its base.  Even though it does die back every winter, it is a wonderful plant to have.  In the large container, it is a focal point for a section of the back garden.


Metallica Elephant Ears (redu)


The shiny leaves gives rise to the “metallica” name.  Its botanical name is Alocasia plumbea “metallica”.  This plant, like all elephant ears, does best in moist soil.  The leaves have a quilted texture and can get quite large.  My plant does not get as large because it is in a container, and I don’t think my garden has enough room for a full sized plant anyway.  While these can get to be almost five feet tall in optimum conditions, mine is only about three feet tall, but with it being in a container, the whole thing stands about five feet.  Besides the shiny or reflective leaves, the color, too, is striking.  The back sides of the leaves are a darker olive-purple and when the wind blows, the under side of the leaves make a nice contrast with the top sides.


Metallica Opening Leaf (redu)


Another nice quality of this plant is the colored stems they have.  The stems are a red-purple color, and because mine is in a large pot and the plant is therefore elevated, you can really see these stems with the reflective leaves on top. 


Metallica Red Stems (redu)


Elephant ears really lend a tropical feel to a garden and look good with the cannas and gingers.  I have mine nestled in among holly ferns, pinecone ginger and hidden ginger.  That area of the garden reminds me of a tropical jungle which with our normal summer temperatures seems so appropriate.



  1. donna said,

    July 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Back in the early spring I had the thought to plant an elephant ear with my grandson, but then never got around to it. Nice to see yours. I like the colored stems, too.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:17 pm

      Donna, I have a list of plants I wanted to add to the garden this year, but never got around to it. I’m glad to hear I am not the only one whose plans don’t get fulfilled. There is always next year, right?

  2. Randy said,

    July 22, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Everything always looks so healthy and lush in your garden!

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks, Randy. Our high heat and humidity helps keep the semitropicals and tropical going strong.

  3. Jake said,

    July 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I have never seen any on these; I love Elephant Ears’ though.


    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:20 pm

      Jake, there is a nursery near us that stocks a variety of elephant ears, and I am gradually adding them to the garden. Growers are coming out with more and more of these plants every year which is great.

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