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How to Prune Elephant Ears for Healthy Growth

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How to Prune Elephant Ears for Healthy Growth

Welcome to the world of Pruning Elephant Ear plants. With their fast growth rate and propensity for unruliness, elephant ear plants benefit greatly from regular pruning to maintain their shape and vitality. In our guide, we’ll cover timing, reasons, mistakes to avoid, and the exact steps of how to Prune Elephant Ears Plant the right way. Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned pro at pruning – we’ll keep it simple.

When to Prune Elephant Ears

Unless you are only removing dead or diseased leaves, stick to pruning during their active growing season, usually in spring or early summer. Avoid winter pruning, as the plants are dormant and less equipped to handle the stress.

Why Prune Elephant Ears

You should prune Elephant Ears for several reasons. It helps promote new growth, control size, and enhance the overall appearance of the plant. By removing dead or damaged foliage and shaping the plant, you are helping your plant to focus its energy on fresh and healthy growth.

Pruning Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

Before you start pruning your plant, there are some things you should keep in mind. First of all, never prune with dirty tools! Why? Cleaning your tools before cutting into your plant is one of the best ways to stave off diseases and keep your plant healthy.

Also, when making cuts, aim for clean, angled cuts just above a node or joint. This encourages healthy regrowth and reduces the risk of infection.

The most common mistake people make when pruning Elephant Ears are over-pruning, especially at the wrong time (e.g.: Winter). This can not only harm but also kill your plant.

The Tools You’ll Need

Making sure you have the right tools at your hand is half the job done. Thankfully, pruning Elephant Ears doesn’t require an arsenal, but you’ll need some sharp pruning shears, loppers (depending on the size of your plant), and a protective glove. Elephant Ears’ sap can irritate your skin, so it the best to keep your hands safe.

How to Prune Elephant Ears for Healthy Growth

How to Prune Elephant Ears Step-by-Step

  1. Take a good look at your plant: Before you make any cuts, take a close look at your elephant ear plant. They have a pretty fast growth rate and can quickly become overgrown. You want to remove any dead or damaged leaves to prevent the spread of disease. Remember not to prune more than 20% of the plant in one go to avoid stressing it out.
  2. Selective Pruning: Identify any drooping or yellowing leaves that need to be removed. Using sharp pruning shears, make clean cuts at a 45° angle just above the stem. This not only tidies up the plant but also encourages new growth.
  3. Thinning and Shaping: If your elephant ear plant is looking a bit unruly, thin out any overcrowded areas to improve air circulation and light penetration. This will promote healthier growth and give your plant a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  4. Final Inspection: Once you’ve finished pruning, step back take another look. Take note of any new growth that appears in the coming weeks and monitor the overall health of your plant. With proper care and attention, your elephant ear plant will continue to thrive and delight for seasons to come.


Once you’ve finished pruning your elephant ear plants, it’s time to give them a little TLC to help them bounce back and thrive. Start by giving them a good drink of water, making sure the soil is nicely moist but not waterlogged. Keep an eye on the soil moisture levels in the following days to prevent any stress from dehydration.

To give your plants an extra boost, consider fertilizing them with a balanced fertilizer. Look for a water-soluble fertilizer with a balanced ratio like 20-20-20, which will provide your elephant ears with the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy foliage.

How to Prune Elephant Ears for Healthy Growth

Quick Summary

  1. Pruning elephant ear plants during their active growing season, typically in spring or early summer, encourages healthy growth and vitality.
  2. Use sharp pruning tools and make clean cuts just above a node or joint to promote new growth and reduce the risk of infection.
  3. Avoid over-pruning and be mindful of common mistakes such as improper cuts or neglecting post-pruning care.
  4. Provide proper aftercare by watering your plants thoroughly and monitoring soil moisture levels to prevent stress.
  5. Consider fertilizing your elephant ear plants with a balanced fertilizer to replenish nutrients and encourage healthy foliage.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should elephant ears be cut back?

The best time to prune Elephant Ears is in the spring or in the summer. Avoid pruning in winter to prevent diseases and damage to your plant.

Where do you cut dying elephant ear leaves?

If you see dying, yellowing or browning leaves on your elephant ears plant, cut them off at the stem using sharp and clean pruning shears or loppers.

Should I cut off brown elephant ears?

To help your Elephant Ears focus their energy on healthy growth, you should cut off any brown and yellow leaves at the stem.