When you first started loving plants, especially the Elephant Ear plant, you researched and practiced various things. However, nothing may prepare you for dealing with a broken plant stem, even with your best efforts and constant care.
When people think of unfortunate circumstances, they often visualize plant disease, but a broken stem can cause problems for your plant.
Causes of elephant ear stem breakage
These plants thrive in fairly moist soil as they are found in nature near streams and ponds and are affected by excess water.
Growing them with excess water can lead to stem rot and weak spots, which affects the plants stem strength. Since the long stems support the aesthetically pleasing leaves and flowers, any damage could defeat the purpose of planting the plant.
Check the soil with your finger every morning before feeding your plant. Make sure the soil around your plant is two to three inches dry. Aim for the base of the plant instead of watering the leaves.
Insufficient or incorrect lighting
You need to be careful when exposing your elephant ear plant to the sun. A natural tropical plant, the Elephant Ear plant grows well in areas with bright but indirect light.
It is also dangerous to plant or place the plant in the shade for a long time, as you may notice its leaves turn yellow and bend. Lack of light can cause the plant to suffer a sudden partial or total breakage on one of the stems.
To avoid direct sunlight, it may be best to place the plant in a lightly shaded spot. To increase the lighting in your outdoor elephant ear, cut back any obstructing branches above to increase light exposure.
You can also use artificial light for successful elephant ear plant development, looking at CFL, LED, and HPS bulbs.
Rapid vegetative growth
For any gardener, faster plant growth may sound like a good thing, but remember that faster growth can affect a plant’s nutrient uptake.
A rapid growth phase, which can be induced by excess nutrients such as nitrogen, can lead to a faulty internal structure of the stem, making it more prone to breakage.
Keeping in mind that elephant ear plants eat a lot, do your research and learn the proper dosages of essential nutrients like NPK fertilizers. These elements are essential to protect the stems of the plant. Repotting a few plants to ensure all plants are getting the nutrients and water they need can also help prevent elephant ear plants from developing limp stems.
lack of nutrients
Suitable for growing in the wild, a potted elephant ear plant requires more intensive care and knowledge to combine the proper nutrients with the soil at certain intervals.
These heavy feeders need a constant supply of nitrogen to maintain their health and vigor, especially to support their long stems.
It is important to note that excess nitrogen will disrupt the solute concentration by forcing water into the elephant ear, increasing the risk of stem breakage.
However, with proper care and nutrition, this hardy plant can successfully sprout a new stem or heal from its wound.
Use nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilizers in a 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 ratio. The amounts depend on whether your plant is indoors or outdoors. Keep in mind that you should regularly feed your soil with Epsom salts to help your plants absorb nutrients.
Elephant ear plants can also experience stress when left outside in the cold. The plant enjoys temperatures of 22°C to 30°C during the day and is comfortably above 16°C at night.
Freezing temperatures damage both tubers and plant foliage, including the stem, causing them to snap easily.
Keep your elephant ear temperature indoors in a warm place. Avoid exposure to cold drafts by keeping the item away from open windows and doors.
How to fix a broken elephant ear stem?
When your plant’s stem breaks, you have to choose between two options that will keep your plant healthy. You can remove or cut off the broken stem entirely and wait for a replacement to sprout in a few months.
You can also decide to repair the damaged area of the plant using a support system that will hold the broken area in place for ideal healing.
Of course, both of these decisions can be based on the condition of your plant’s stem. Note that the plant’s broken stem may be broken but still attached or cut entirely.
What should I do with a partially broken elephant ear stem?
A typical elephant ear plant stem that is broken but still attached can be treated with the following procedure:
- Wash your hands or wear gloves before handling the rod to minimize the risk of bacteria transfer. After that, carefully combine the broken parts of the plant and hold them in your hand.
- Sterilize the splint, pencil, or wooden stick of your choice, then store it with the broken pieces.
- Wrap the broken stem with a sterile piece of planting tape or twine. It is important to remember not to over wrap it to allow for stem growth. Stem recovery requires some leeway.
- Anchor a long object, such as a wooden post, into the ground, then tie it to the broken area. It provides extra support to the broken stem and also keeps it upright while it heals.
It can take two to four weeks for a bent or partially broken stem to fully recover. Treating and caring for the damaged part of the broken stem as soon as possible increases the chances of the stem surviving.
It is possible that if you act quickly and follow the steps outlined above, you can heal the damaged stem. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to get rid of the broken part.
- Be sure to use sterile scissors.
- Carefully cut the elephant’s trunk at the base.
Cutting as close to the base as possible prevents the transfer of valuable nutrients to a dead part of the plant. It also encourages the development of new leaves and stems at a faster rate.
Can I grow an elephant ear plant from stem cuttings?
You cannot propagate the lush green heart-shaped elephant ear plants from stem cuttings, but you can divide tubers from a mature, healthy mother plant. Before attempting to propagate the plant, you should understand several steps, including:
- By digging up your mother plant, you are more likely to get good tubers.
- To prevent the spread of diseases and infections from the mother plant to the tubers, sterilize your tools, including your pruning shears and garden spade.
- Carefully remove the parent plant from its current location, taking care not to damage the plant or the tubers.
- Gently shake or brush the plant to remove excess soil before cutting off the tubers. After brushing, look for tubers that are actively taking root.
- Cut off healthy tubers and place them on the prepared planting surfaces. You can remove undeveloped tubers from the plant, but leaving a few can help the mother elephant’s ear grow faster.
- A large container with good drainage can be used to store harvested tubers. Insert the tuber into a slightly larger hole in the ground, point up. Add a little water and gently press the soil around the tuber.