Taro, is widely grown in the tropics for food. In Hawaii, Taro is usually grown in pond fields, known as loʻi where the cool, flowing water yields the best crop of edible corms. The edible tubers are used in Poi and the young shoots are blanched and used as a winter vegetable.
Although, native to tropical Asia and Polynesia, Colocasia has given us lots of pleasure all Summer. With its huge, velvet or glossy, dark green, heart-shaped leaves lined with darker veins, Taro adds real drama to our shade garden.
We grow them in containers with little thought given to eating the stems or beating their roots to a pulp to make something that taste like bland wallpaper paste. Taro really work well around a garden structure or up against a stone wall. We like to use them with banana trees and potted palms.
Tips of the Month
Taro is best grown in fertile, organically rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Full sun generally brings out the best leaf color. However, in the hot dry Summers the plants appear to do best in part shade. When growing plants in garden soils, provide regular moisture, especially during dry summer periods, and do not allow soils to dry out.
Plants may also be grown as pond marginals in up to 4-6 inches of standing water. These plants produce prodigious amounts of growth and appreciate weekly fertilization during the growing season.
Tubers may be left in the ground year-round in Zones 8-10. In Michigan, however, tubers should be planted in the ground in mid-spring dug up in fall after first frost and then overwintered in a cool dry place. We have had excellent luck planting taro in containers and just moving these in when Winter approaches along with our other houseplants. Plants grown in containers need to be re-potted on a yearly basis or at the end of the growing season.
Flower of the Month
Colocasia esculenta “Midnight“
It has the darkest leaves of any colocasia we have grown. Native to tropical Asia and Polynesia where it is considered an evergreen perennial tuberous herb. It enjoys part sun and in our garden has grown to over three feet tall. A very hardy plant but not hardy enough to withstand our Michigan Winters. A wonderful addition to the tropical garden we use it with Sago Palms and Musa velutina, the Pink Velvet Banana. It is also spectacular as a sturdy backdrop for perennials in the flower border. Excellent for water gardens when planted in a pot submerged in the pond.
Featured Web Site
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
They are a third generation bulb grower and hybridizers of daffodils in Gloucester, Virginia. They are launching a new specialty mail-order flower bulb business, via the internet, where we are offering selections of the bulbs, some old favorites and new introductions.
They are creating display gardens and hope to create an educational foundation in which we can help educate school groups, Master Gardener groups or the general public about the ways to incorporate and grow bulbs amongst other perennials, annuals and woody plants. They are excited about their ideas and dreams and we look forward to pursuing them and sharing our experience with you.