Taro (Colocasia esculenta)

Colocasia esculenta or malanga

Malanga is a herbaceous plant that can be kept both indoors and in a garden. Although it is true that reaches a height greater than that of any human being, its growth rate is rather slow; In addition, despite its size, it does not need much space to be able to be well, which is why it can be grown in a pot.

With a little care you will have a beautiful all year ? , so go ahead and discover it.

Origin and characteristics

taro care

La malanga is a herbaceous perennial and tuberculous plant native to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are large, 32-36cm long by 22-70cm wide, and arise from a stem up to 40cm long. The flowers arise from fragrant axillary inflorescences that have a peduncle 9-80cm long. These are composed of a spathe up to 43cm long and are fragrant.

El fruit is a subglobose to oblong berry, 3,5-5mm long and 2,5-3,9mm in diameter, and inside we will find light brown ellipsoid seeds. The tuber is subglobose, stoloniferous, develops underground and reaches 6cm in diameter.

Almost the entire plant is edible:

  • Leaves: they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. But it cannot be consumed raw as it contains calcium oxalate and raphides, which are very toxic.
  • Tuber: it is eaten cooked, as a vegetable.

What are their cares?

taro care

If you want to have a specimen of taro, we recommend giving it the following care:

Location

One of the advantages of Colocasia esculenta is that You can have it both inside and outside the house. What does it depend on? Of your preferences, as well as the location that you can give it in one place or another.

In general, this plant needs lots of lighting but never direct. In its natural habitat, Colocasia esculenta always grows under the shade of other larger plants, so it has light, but it is rather scattered and never direct.

If you see that the plant begins to burn or lose its color, and it looks more discolored, then it is warning you that it has too much light.

Therefore, when placing it, bet always in a semi-shaded or shaded place. Here we leave you as a summary how it should be:

  • Interior: it must be in a bright room, without drafts.
  • Exterior: in semi-shade.

Earth

This plant is of intermediate growth but one of the things that you have to take into account is that it needs a soil with many nutrients because it feeds on them to grow and protect itself.

In principle you can have it in a pot but There will come a time when its size does not allow it and you need to plant it in the garden. Therefore, you have to take into account their preferences in terms of land.

An important aspect is that this plant requires the earth is always wet. In fact, some experts consider that one of the best locations for the plant is where there is more water, because this will keep this need covered. But be careful, an excess of water could also kill it.

As a summary, here are the needs depending on whether you plant it in a pot or in the garden:

  • Flowerpot: universal culture substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  • Yard: grows in fertile, well-drained soils.

Irrigation

Dasheen irrigation

It has to be watered 3 or 4 times a week in summer, and every 4 or 5 days the rest of the year.

Although we have told you that it is good for the soil to remain moist all the time, it is also good, even better, to let the surface dry a bit. It is a trick so that the rhizome does not rot with so much water. Of course, you must be careful because if it suffers from drought the plant deteriorates very quickly, and that could be detrimental to it.

That's why you must keep track of the risks and, above all, that there is no lack of water.

Now another important factor is humidity. The colocasia needs a very high environmental humidity because otherwise it will suffer. You will notice this because the leaves will begin to look more droopy and the plant will lose its bearing.

In winter, depending on where you live and where you place it, it may need to have a humidifier next to it to provide that humidity. Whereas, in summer, if the weather is dry, in addition to the humidifier you may need the spray once or more a day.

How do you know if you provide enough moisture? It's easy, you just have to see how the edges are. If these look wrinkled and burnt, it is that it lacks that moisture and you will have to increase it.

Subscriber

In spring and summer, with ecological fertilizers once a month.

To tell the truth, it is a plant that greatly appreciates the subscriber and asks for it, especially in spring, when it begins its greatest growth and has more needs. Therefore, it is important to mark it on the calendar and pay each month to help it develop.

Transplant

An important point, especially since we have told you that at some point you will have to plant it in the garden because it can no longer be in a pot, is the transplant.

East pot to pot should be done approximately every two years to a larger container. In this process, you may be able to apply the plant division multiplication technique, which would help you relieve that plant with less quantity and have others to enjoy or give as gifts.

Plagues and diseases

We are going to start with the plagues and we must tell you that, In general, malanga is a plant that is very resistant to pests and insects, but not for that we should say that it is one of those that supports everything.

And it is that, when it is removed from its natural habitat, it can suffer from thrips and whitefly. And both can do a lot of damage to the plant. Therefore, it is a good idea to prevent these problems with good care and in case they appear, eliminate them as soon as possible.

In the case of diseases, these are going to be related especially with lighting and irrigation. The plant will be affected by both the shortage and the excess of light as well as the shortage and excess of irrigation. In the first case, what will be most affected are the leaves and stem; while in the second it would attack the rhizome and the roots, being able to die in a short time.

That is why it is important to check the plant regularly to see if it is fine or if something is missing.

Malanga multiplication

Multiplication of colocasia esculenta or malanga

By seeds or tubers in spring.

In the case of seeds, you would have to wait for it to flower to be able to have seeds and these should be planted in a seedbed in spring and then separated and put in larger pots as it grows.

When it is by division it is much easier and faster. All you have to do is cut a stem that is underground and has a minimal bud. You have to let it dry for at least a day so that the wound heals and then plant it but, contrary to normal, which would be vertical, this is done horizontally, more or less about 15cm.

Besides, you can also reproduce the plant through the suckers (you will see these when you carry out a transplant.

Rusticity

It does not support cold or frost.

It is convenient, if you want to have it outside, that you buy some mesh or some way to cover it to protect it from low temperatures. This way it will last much longer.

Another option, if you have it in a pot, is to put it inside the house. But here you have to be very careful with heating and high temperatures. Keep in mind that malanga, although it is a plant that tolerates high temperatures, does not do the same with dry environments. You should choose a cool place but with a warm temperature.

You could also place it in a greenhouse since that way it would keep its leaves throughout the year (in winter it is normal for it to behave like a deciduous one and end up losing its leaves. But it will sprout in spring if all goes well).

What did you think of the taro?


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  1.   Claus Breckner said

    I would very much like to grow the Malanga! It is a very nice and useful plsnta and can be used as ornaments and for food too!
    Where could I get some seeds or roots from it?