I believe the first time I saw Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' was at the Independent Garden Center Show in the booth my Hort Couture Plants a couple of years ago. Since then I've seen it at the Mid-America Horticultural Trade Show and most recently being sold by the Duth bulb sellers at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. Perhaps it was the lighting, setting or maybe the growing conditions the plant had been endured, but I wasn't ever really impressed by 'Mojito.' Elephant ear plants are interesting and beautiful in their own right and I didn't really see what this new elephant ear plant had to offer to the average home gardener that grows these to provide a tropical flair to the garden.
In the summer the public planters and parks around Chicago are planted with many different cultivars of elephant ear plants and I've seen colocasias that were more interesting than this one. Just yesterday I was visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory and came across 'Mojito' and as soon as I spotted it my jaw hit the floor. Outside of a trade show setting it looks like a completely different plant. I guess growing in semi-tropical conditions and receiving optimal lighting makes a big difference in the coloring of the leaves. The deep purple flecks look almost black and the sickly green color I'd seen in this plant before looks a lot different. 'Mojito' seemed to glow as if radiated or splattered with an intergalactic goo in the late evening light. There's no photo trickery here, aside from some minor levels adjustments, this is what the plant looked like.
Elephant ear 'Mojito' captured with the camera on my cell phone to give you an idea of what it looks like when not photographed with a fancy camera. Even with the cheap digital camera on my phone the green color of the leaves is still rendered in that spooky green that made it pop among all the other tropical foliage plants in the conservatory.
I've seen Colocasia 'Mojito' in the pages of a couple of bulb catalogs and websites and I'd always scoffed at the coloring, thinking that it had to have been heavily edited. After seeing it yesterday I owe the plant growers an apology for thinking it was ugly and I owe the photographers who have captured this elephant ear for garden catalogs an apology for thinking they'd doctored the color in post processing. I'll have to hunt this crazy-colored plant and add it to my garden this year. Is Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' too weird for you? Would you buy this plant for your garden? If I remember correctly, 'Mojito' is suppose to be a sport of Colocasia 'Burgundy Stem.'