5 Best Fertilizers for Elephant Ears | How and When to Use

Fertilizers are necessary for almost all plants if we want them to thrive, and that includes elephant ears too. With such a wide selection of liquid and granular fertilizers available, as well as the vast array of nutrient values to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right one for your plants.

To save you some time, after carefully studying a lot of options, here’s my list of the best fertilizers for elephant ears.

Best Fertilizers for Elephant Ears

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to read all of this, here’s my top selection. Otherwise, continue reading my entire article for the full lowdown on when, how, and why to fertilize Elephant Ears plants.

Best Fertilizers for Elephant Ears

Best Water-Soluble Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food 24-8-16

High nitrogen liquid fertilizer, provides an instant boost to heavy-feeding Elephants’ Ears.

Dr. Earth Exotic Palm, Tropical & Hibiscus Fertilizer 6-4-6

Best Organic Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Exotic Palm Fertilizer 6-4-6

Organic, slow-release fertilizer that can also be used as a compost tea, offering increased nitrogen and potassium for vibrant foliage & strong root growth. 

Jobe’s Indoor Houseplant Fertilizer Spikes 13-4-5

Best Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s Houseplant Fertilizer Spikes 13-4-5

Convenient, mess-free, and odor free fertilizing that provides long-lasting nutrient release and results.

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Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Elephant’s Ears

When you’re choosing the fertilizer for any plant, the most important things to keep in mind are the NPK ratio, soil pH, and the form of the fertilizer.

Elephant Ears Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio

Elephant ears are heavy feeders, just like most tropical plants, and they need a lot of fertilizer. That can either mean feeding them regularly with liquid fertilizer or feeding them with a slow-release fertilizer that contains heavy NPK ratios. 

To keep foliage and stems looking healthy, lusciously green, vibrant, and robust, they need fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen, although they can also tolerate a balanced ratio too.

NPK ratio is a term you’ll hear a lot when talking about fertilizers, and in case you don’t know what it is, let me introduce you to it. NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are the three most important nutrients for any plant. 

Plants that don’t get enough nutrients will underperform, while plants that are overfertilized suffer from fertilizer burns and their leaves can become brown.

Given that elephant ears are plants with massive leaves, they would make a very obvious eyesore. However, we’ll talk more about overfertilization (and how to avoid it) later on.

Elephant Ears Soil pH and Nutrients

These plants like soil that’s a bit acidic, between 5.5 and 7.0 pH.  However, they’ll do even better in soil with a pH lower than 6.5.

What’s more important about elephant ears’ soil is the moisture level. These plants usually grow in the wetlands, so they need soil that will retain moisture well. Hard soil that dries out quickly is no good for elephant ears. This is something to keep in mind when you’re watering too – don’t let it dry out.

Granular vs Liquid Fertilizer

Granular and liquid fertilizers can be identified when it comes to their NPK ratio, but methods of application and rate of nutrient release differ.

Liquid fertilizers are easier to apply as you don’t have to dig the soil, spread granules, and cover them back up. Liquid fertilizers also release nutrients more quickly. However, because of that quick release, it is easier to accidentally overfertilize your plant.

When it comes to elephant ears, liquid fertilizers work well simply because the plant is so hungry, and regular applications of fertilizer are required to keep them happy.

Liquid Fertilizer for Elephant Ears Plants

People usually opt for liquid fertilizer because of ease of application – all you have to do is dissolve it in water (or apply directly from the bottle in the case of ready-to-use formulas) and pour it into the pot or ground. 

The only disadvantage that liquid fertilizers have is that they’re much easier to overfertilize than granular fertilizers. However, as long as you follow the instructions on the label, your plant will stay safe from overfertilization.

Slow-Release Fertilizer Granules

This type of fertilizer is a great option when you want to provide nutrients gradually rather than all at once or if you don’t have time to keep feeding your plants every week or two weeks. 

Once distributed into the soil, dug in, and watered well, granules break down and release nutrients gradually. It, therefore, takes longer for them to become absorbed by the plant. This can pose a problem to heavy-feeding plants such as Elephant Ears especially if the NPK ratio has a low percentage as it means your plants will not be getting the number of nutrients it needs to thrive. 

Synthetic Vs Organic Fertilizers

A significant difference between these two options is the speed at which they break down. Synthetic fertilizers Re manufactured and tend to get to work quicker. They also break down more easily.

Organic fertilizers require beneficial bacteria to break them down.

Organic fertilizers are often deemed to be a safer option. They are viewed as being less hazardous to the environment, and people and animals that may come into contact with them.  

It’s fair to say that all fertilizers carry risk so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidance that can be found in the labeling of all fertilizer products.

Best Elephant Ears Fertilizer Reviews

Here’s my pick of the best fertilizers for elephant ears. You have a choice between the classic all-purpose water-soluble miracle gro right through to a slow-release fertilizer spike. All of these products will do a great job feeding your elephant’s Ear so pick the method of application that suits you and remember…do not over-fertilize, so go easy. I recommend using 50% of the manufacturer’s recommended levels.


  • High nitrogen content
  • Quick acting
  • Easy to apply


  • Not suitable for indoor-grown Elephant Ears

This fertilizer is without a doubt the best solution for elephant ears – it’s water soluble and it has a very high nitrogen content, which means glorious and lush foliage and strong healthy root growth. 

This is a fast-acting fertilizer, so your plants will get to the nutrients they require very quickly, making it a great option for outdoor-grown Elephant Ears. 

What I find when using this on my outdoor Hawaiian Punch Colocasia is that despite the quick-acting liquid solution, my plant has not been subjected to fertilizer burn. This part is that some product undoubtedly runs-off in the moist conditions in which it prefers, but also, I always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when using. 

You can choose sizes from 8 ounces to 10 pounds, making it a viable long-term fertilizing solution and a very good choice especially if you have more than one variety of Elephant Ears.

How to Use: Dilute with water and apply twice per month during spring, summer, and autumn. Avoid fertilizing in winter.


  • Can be used as both a granular feed or compost tea
  • 100% organic 


  • Gives off an ‘organic’ odor

Made especially for tropical plants, this non-GMO fertilizer is entirely natural. Rather than containing any synthetic materials, it is rich in mineral and animal by-product ingredients such as humic acid, kelp flour, fishbone, and feather meal. 

This fertilizer can be used as both a slow-release granular feed or, as a compost tea depending on your plant’s nutrient needs. In addition, the 6% ratio of both nitrogen and potassium means your Elephants ears will grow healthy stems and foliage and robust roots. 

Containing beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizae, the nutrients in this feed are broken down thoroughly before being released into the soil. Over time, this improves plant performance throughout the growing season and beyond.

How To Use: When used as a slow-release feed apply ½ to ¾ cups of fertilizer per foot of height for ground-planted Elephant Ears. Potted plants require 2 tablespoons per 6 inches of container diameter. 

When used as a compost tea, mix 5 cups with 5 gallons of water. Leave to ‘stew’ for 24 hours. Apply to the root area.

Begin fertilizing in spring and continue through to fall.


  • Very easy to apply
  • Keeps the plant well-fed for longer
  • High nitrogen ratio


  • Excessively heavy feeders may need supplementing

Just like Miracle-Gro’s liquid fertilizer, these fertilizer spikes are very easy to apply. All you have to do is push them into the soil around your indoor plant and forget about fertilizing for a couple of months.

This fertilizer will slowly release nutrients into the soil which are then broken down gradually. The benefit to plants is that nutrients are available for absorption continuously for a longer period of time. Great if you’re forgetful when it comes to feeding your plants!

These spikes have a very high concentration of nitrogen, making them a great choice for elephant ears. I tried these out on my Alocasia Amazonica that I keep permanently indoors and the results were vibrant foliage and stronger stems.

How to use: Insert spikes into well-watered soil away from the base of the plant. The quantities required will depend on the trunk diameter. Refer to manufacturer labeling for full details.  


  • Very balanced NPK ratio
  • Easiest application out of all fertilizers
  • Can be used for all houseplants


  • The small volume that will get spent quickly

This is by far the easiest fertilizer to apply out of all fertilizers on the list. It’s an out-of-the-box instant feeder. And, depending on the size and maturity of your plant it doesn’t need to be diluted in water. 

This feed yields an NPK ratio of 1-1-1 which means that nutrient ratios are kept nice and evenly balanced so it’s great when you know that your soil is nutrient-rich already. 

This is a generic indoor plant food that can be used on a whole range of houseplants but just bear in mind that it comes in a small-ish container so it may get used up very quickly if you have multiple plants.

How to use: Dispense two pumps of the ready-to-use solution directly into the soil of large indoor pots. Dilute with water for smaller indoor plants. Apply once per week.


  • Fast-acting, yet gentle
  • Versatile usage
  • Affordable


  • More applications may be required compared to other formulas

An organic liquid fertilizer that’s great for both indoor and outdoor plants, this fertilizer is packed with natural ingredients and can be used for a variety of plants, from houseplants to ornamentals and vegetables.

The NPK ratio is low which means it’s a great fertilizer to use on young or tender plants that may otherwise be susceptible to fertilizer burn – even when you’re using it regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

This is also a good value-for-money product since an 18-ounce bottle should be enough to fertilize about 1000 square feet of soil. 

How to use: Dilute one tablespoon of liquid with a gallon of water and apply monthly. Repeat throughout the growing season.

How to Fertilize Elephant Ears

There’s no single method of fertilizing elephant ears – it’s always best to follow the instructions of the fertilizer manufacturer. Make sure not to apply too much fertilizer, especially if it’s liquid, as it can lead to overfertilization.

Some fertilizers need a weekly application, while others need to be applied once a month.

The best way to avoid overfertilization is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Your plants will be fine if you don’t apply too much fertilizer. 

When to Fertilize

Elephant ears need fertilization during the growing season from spring onwards. There is no need to apply fertilizer in winter. 

It’s best to fertilize in the morning when plants have the ability to take on more nutrients and absorb them more efficiently. However, your plants won’t mind if they’re fertilized in the evening either.

How Often to Fertilize Elephant Ears

This depends on the type of fertilizer you choose – some fertilizers need a weekly application, and others need less frequent application. 

Elephant ears are heavy feeders which means they need more nutrients compared to other plant varieties. 

You’ll see now if your Elephant Ears plant is not receiving enough nutrients, Leaves will become yellow, especially around the edges and growth will become leggy. Your plant may even begin to droop and will stop producing new shoots. 

Fertilizing Elephant Ears in Winter

Very few plants need to be fertilized in the winter, and this includes elephant ears. Since plants go dormant during the winter to preserve themselves, adding any amount of fertilizer will only lead to overfertilization and fertilizer burn.

Verdict: Best Fertilizer for Elephant Ears

Miracle-Gro’s Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food 24-8-16 is the perfect choice for outdoor-grown elephant ears. It’s a fast-acting liquid fertilizer and has very high nitrogen content, which is the most important nutrient for elephant ears to ensure that all-important vibrant green foliage.

When an organic fertilizer is your go-to, I recommend you use Dr. Earth’s Exotic Blend Palm Fertilizer 6-4-6. Use this for your outdoor-grown Elephant ears as either a slow-release fertilizer or as a compost tea.

When it comes to indoor-grown Elephants Ears, I recommend Jobes Indoor Houseplant Fertilizer Spikes 13-4-5. These have a high ratio of all-important nitrogen, are easy to use, and will offer slow-release fertilizing for up to 8 weeks.

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food 24-8-16

Best Water-Soluble Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food 24-8-16

High nitrogen liquid fertilizer, provides an instant boost to heavy-feeding Elephants’ Ears.

Dr. Earth Exotic Palm, Tropical & Hibiscus Fertilizer 6-4-6

Best Organic Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Exotic Palm Fertilizer 6-4-6

Organic, slow-release fertilizer that can also be used as a compost tea, offering increased nitrogen and potassium for vibrant foliage & strong root growth. 

Jobe’s Indoor Houseplant Fertilizer Spikes 13-4-5

Best Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s Houseplant Fertilizer Spikes 13-4-5

Convenient, mess-free, and odor free fertilizing that provides long-lasting nutrient release and results.

FAQs Fertilizing Elephant Ears