Resorting to Tropicals for Houseplants

Create your own tropical paradise with these exotic houseplants. However, in their native lands these tropical plants have jobs to do.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe elephant ear plant is commonly used to create a tropical effect in the outdoor garden.
(Colocasia esculenta)

Elephant ear is commonly used to create a tropical effect in the outdoor garden, but have you ever considered using it as a houseplant? Also called taro, all parts of the plant (leaves, stems and corms) are edible, provided they are properly cooked beforehand, and are an important food staple in many countries throughout the world.

To grow indoors, provide taro with lots of sunlight and moisture; it's a heavy feeder so make sure to apply fertilizer. Take your specimen outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. (Since it has been indoors for a while, you may need to acclimate the plant to transition it from the indoor environment to outdoors. 'Black Magic' has black leaves atop dark red stems. USDA Zones (7) 8 to 11.