These add body and substance as well as a variety of leaf colours to the tropical border or greenhouse. The ensetes from the banana section perform the same role. Some are borderline hardy, some are easy to dig up and greenhouse for the winter while a couple are tricky. All are well worth the trouble however.
(to add colocasia, alocasia, sauromatum, amorphophallus, gunnera, ricinus)
Ricinus a greeny blue leaved formThese can be grown as annuals and become quite big but, if you dig up in the autumn, you will have an easily overwintered (keep above freezing) monster on your hands. Every year it looks scruffy in spring and I thinkit needs replacing but it comes back. It’s 6 years old now
Colocasia fontanesiiThe stems on this hardly seem real and water beads off the leaves after rain. Almost hardy, but easy if brought in and make a huge plant by August
Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ The alocasias are a varied bunch with some very delicate houseplants and some absolute brutes in the family. The enormous alocasia maccrorrhizos growing to 6 ft+ is well worth getting but we have this one as well. ‘Mayan Mask’ is slightly smaller but has wonderful colour to the undersides of the leaves. Generally speaking the difference between colocasias and alocasias is the upward and downward pointing leaves. This needs a mildly warm green house where it bears leaves through the winter before suddenly losing them in March/April to the distress of first time owners. A new leaf will appear in late June or even early July and it will grow at enormous speed.
Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’The very striking under leaf colour
and stylish footwear Colocasia Hawaii BlueIntricate leaf patterning
Clocasia MojitoA slightly tricky but lovely plant
Not quite as big as ‘Thai Giant’ but still enormous and much easier to over winter Colocasia ‘Jack’s Giant’
Colocasia Jack’Giant As part of a tropical scheme
Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ This one is absolutely stunning, but difficult to overwinter. I take it out of the pot and split into smaller sections which can then go on a heated tray. It’s a lot of bother but well worth it.
Colocasia ‘Coal Miner’Similar to Black Magic, but with green stems, vein markings on the leaves and less of a ‘clumper’. Its also a lot easier to overwinter