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Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito'

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.

Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' Elephant ear plant

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.

Colocasia 'Mojito' Elephant ear plant.

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.'


  1. That's a great Colocasia. I'm trying to imagine some companions for it, but finding most of my ideas ending up completely garish. Don't think that'll stop me from getting on this year, though.

  2. I brought in my elephant ears over winter, right in their container, and grew them as houseplants & have noticed similar color differences due to growing conditions. Here's my 'Illustris' outside: and inside: Even accounting for my awful overuse of the flash, the inside version has way less black and even the green isn't as deep as it was outside. I also have a 'Black Magic' that really was black outside and inside it's green, with almost no hints of black at all. It will be so nice when it's warm enough to get them back outside!!

  3. Very striking! It looks camouflaged or something.

    Never had much luck with elephant ears down here though. Probably too dry.

  4. I've seen that one around a few times. I always go back and forth on it, though strangely the one at Garfield Park always gets me back on the "I like it" train.

  5. I actually really love that plant! I've been wanting one for a while. Haven't ever grown elephant ears before.

  6. Wow, it's gorgeous. I would totally buy that plant for my garden if I had one. Now you have me wanting it regardless...

  7. I've got several Colocasia esculenta "Mojito" plants around the house. Here in San Francisco, it's too cold to grow them outside, but they make an excellent indoor plant. They'll take as much light as you can give them, and will be happy so as they never dry out. Mine went into semi-dormancy this winter, but they're bouncing back now.

  8. @Helen, It is in a creepy sorta way.

    @Chris, Haha, nothing wrong with garish.:)

    @Monica, That's weird about the black elephant ear. I wonder how long it takes to get back to normal.

    @Mud, Probably, they do like it wet and humid. Or at least that's been my experience with growing them here.

    @Tom, I have to admit this is the first one that made me like it. The 'Mojito' plants I've seen had been too small and sickly-looking to care too much about them.

    @Garden Hoard, You should try some! If you want to be frugal see if you can get some taro from an Asian grocery store if you're just looking for the foliage. Cheaper than buying their cousins in a garden center.

    @Katie, Now that you do have a garden again I hope you get it.

    @Derek, I think I've seen your Colocasia esculenta "Mojito" plants online. They're really beautiful.

  9. Stunning, but I'm way too lazy to dig things up for storage in the fall. Definitely a plant I'd love to visit in someone else's garden though.

  10. Anonymous8:15 AM

    im doing a project on this plant because its cute!!!!



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