United States Edition


Colocasia esculenta

'Taro' is a plant in the Colocasia genus with a scientific name of Colocasia esculenta.

All parts of the taro plant are edible if they are thoroughly steamed or boiled to first remove calcium oxalate crystals. The cooked leaves are used in Hawaiian luaus and the corms are mashed into poi. Prior to the mid-1800s, Colocasia was a staple food crop and the native Hawaiians cultivated hundreds of varieties. Beginning in the 20th century many new ornamental varieties have been developed.

Many ornamental varieties now exist and range in color from black to chartreuse.

A type of aquatic / vegetable, it mainly grows as an annual/perennial plant - which means it can have a varying lifetime - from 1 year to several. Taro is known for its clump-forming habit and growing to a height of approximately 91.44 cm (2.97 feet). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer.

Malaysia is believed to be where Taro originates from.

Taro is normally fairly low maintenance and is normally quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Taro have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Taro

  • Dappled Sun

    OR +
  • Partial Sun

  • Very High

This plant is best grown in a water or bog garden and for cultivation is normally grown in paddy fields.

May be grown as an annual or brought inside in colder areas.4

Taro likes a position of dappled sun / partial sun and remember to water very often. Use Zone 9 - Zone 11 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Ideally plant in sandy soil and try to keep the ph of your soil between the range of 5.5 and 6.5 as Taro likes to be in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Taro is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Taro to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Taro from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 1.24 feet (38.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 5.85 inches (15.0 cm).

Transplanting Taro

Ensure that temperatures are mild (minimum night temperatures should be around 25°C / 77°F) and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Taro is a tender plant.

Harvesting Taro

If collected from the wild be sure to collect this species and not a related one.2

Common Taro problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Taro plants:

Aphids and Red spider mites may attack taro grown indoors.

  • Aphids

    Also known as greenfly and blackfly, Aphids are a common sap-sucking garden pest.

  • Red Spider Mite

Taro Etymology

Botanical Name: esculent is an English word taken directly from Latin and means “edible”.3

Taro Folklore & Trivia

The Polynesians use taro to make poi.1

Taro was used by the Romans in much the same way the potato would later be used by Europeans.

Other names for Taro

Elephant ear, yautia

Colocasia antiquorum

Misspellings: Elephant Ears, Elephant's Ears, Tarrows,

Taro care instructions

How long does Taro take to grow?

These estimates for how long Taro takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!


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