Colocasia Black Magic: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated on July 31, 2023

Key Points About Colocasia Black Magic

  • Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' is a tropical, frost-tender perennial grown for its dramatic purple-black foliage.
  • Leaves can grow up to 2 ft long and resemble elephant ears.
  • Performs best in moist, rich soil and partial shade. Appreciates regular water and fertilizer.
  • Can be invasive in some regions. Consider native alternatives.
  • Toxic if ingested without cooking. Keep away from pets.

Let me tell you a secret - there exists a plant so exotic, it will utterly transform your garden into a tropical paradise. I'm talking about the astonishing black magic elephant ear, with massive purple-black leaves guaranteed to astound your guests.

As a gardener, I'm always on the lookout for unique specimens to liven up my outdoor spaces. The black magic elephant ear plant caught my eye years ago at a botanical garden, with its gigantic purple-black leaves shimmering in the dappled sunlight. I just had to get my hands on a few tubers!

This magnificent beast hails from the lush jungles of the Philippines and imprints any garden with its bold, tropical vibe. Those huge heart-shaped leaves really do resemble an elephant's ear, especially as they flutter in the breeze. Beyond its exotic good looks, black magic taro is surprisingly easy to grow, requiring little care beyond ample moisture and fertility.

If you're looking to add a touch of jungle to your garden, read on to learn all about growing and caring for this tropical treasure. I'll share tips on propagation, ideal conditions, and how to overwinter it in colder climates. Let's delve into the mysteries of black magic! Your garden will never be the same.

Origin and Description

The black magic cultivar of the taro plant (Colocasia esculenta) was first discovered in the Philippine rainforests as an unusual dark-leafed offshoot of the common taro. Taro has been cultivated as a nutritious root vegetable and leafy green across Southeast Asia for thousands of years. But black magic's nearly black leaves were virtually unheard of until recently.

This exotic beauty showcases large heart-shaped leaves with bold, prominent veining. The foliage emerges with a rich dark purple hue, shimmering black under the right light. Lush and substantial, the leaves grow upright on stout, succulent stems and can reach an impressive 2 feet long.

In the garden, black magic taro forms a robust clump 3-6 feet tall and wide when mature. It lends a bold tropical look, with substantial drooping leaves that flutter gracefully in the slightest breeze. For the exotic plant lover, this is foliage you just can't ignore!

Growing Conditions

Now that you're hooked on getting some black magic for your garden, let's talk about how to keep this beauty happy. Having the right growing conditions is key to maximizing those gorgeous dark leaves.

  • The Perfect Soil: Black magic needs nutritious, moisture-retentive soil to thrive. Blend in plenty of compost to create rich, organic matter. The soil should hold water well but still drain properly.
  • Sun Exposure: While black magic tolerates full sun, afternoon shade is ideal in hot climates to prevent leaf burn. Even a few hours of midday shade makes a difference.
  • Love the Water: Lack of consistent moisture is the number one killer of these lush leaves. Water thoroughly in dry periods and use mulch to conserve moisture. Let the soil get slightly dry between waterings, but never bone dry.
  • Feed Me: Regular fertilization gives black magic the fuel to pump out enormous growth. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season. More food = more magnificent leaves!

Care and Maintenance

Caring for your black magic is a breeze when you stick to a few basics. Follow these tips and those unique leaves will keep flowing all season!

  • Quench the Thirst: In the summer heat, watering is crucial. Target the roots and keep the soil consistently moist. Leaves will wilt dramatically if the plant dries out.
  • Fertilize for Vigor: Feed every 2-3 weeks with diluted liquid fertilizer to drive vigorous growth. Distribute it around the base of plants.
  • Shelter from Wind: Those huge leaves are susceptible to tattering and damage in the wind. Site in a protected spot or use windbreaks as needed.
  • Store for Winter: In cold climates, dig up tubers after the first frost and store them in peat or wood shavings around 45°F over winter. Then replant in spring.

Give black magic what it craves, and you'll be rewarded with a floral jungle! This beauty may be exotic, but caring for it is certainly within reach.

Problems and Solutions

While black magic is largely trouble-free, a few issues can crop up. Stay vigilant and deal with problems promptly to keep your plants happy.

Pest Patrol

Check weekly for sucking insects like aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. They cause stunted growth and leaf damage. Blast them off with a strong spray of water or use natural pesticides if needed.

Free Draining Soil

Root rot is the main disease issue in waterlogged soil. Improve drainage by mixing in sand or small gravel. Allow soil to dry slightly between irrigations. Discard any plants with mushy roots.

With preventative care and quick action on problems, you can nip issues in the bud and keep your black beauties flourishing.

Landscaping Uses

Black magic's huge, artful leaves make it a stellar addition to gardens and containers. Here are some ways to showcase those sultry purple tones:

  • Specimen Planting: Let it steal the show! Plant one black magic as a focal point in a prominent garden bed. Surround with lower plants in harmonizing colors.
  • Border Plant: Alternate black magic with green and chartreuse foliage plants along a garden border for maximum contrast. Its bold look makes a dramatic backdrop.
  • Container Thriller: Plant trailing plants around its base and use black magic as the thriller focal point in large container arrangements. Its tropical vibe shines through.
  • Pondside Planting: Group black beauties around water features and let their leaves trail into the water for a stunning reflection.

With its versatility and flair, black magic elevates any outdoor space. Add intrigue to your garden by featuring those fabulous purple tones!


While black magic brings drama to your garden, it does come with some precautions. Being aware of these pitfalls will let you safely enjoy this tropical beauty.


All parts of black magic contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause irritation and burning if eaten raw. So keep away from kids and pets. Cook thoroughly if consuming.

Invasive Potential - Black magic can spread aggressively beyond your garden in some regions, displacing native plants. Monitor and remove any unwanted sprouts.

Pet Safety

The oxalate crystals make black magic highly toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. Contact your vet if you suspect they've nibbled on leaves or stems.

With smart preventative care, black magic's risks are easily managed. Site carefully, keep kids and pets away, and remain vigilant for invasiveness. Then you can revel in its exotic nature safely!

This tough tropical plant rewards gardeners who adore the unusual and dramatic. With the proper growing conditions and care, black magic taro transforms outdoor areas into a sultry jungle paradise. Its bold purple-black leaves create intrigue and excitement. Just be aware of its toxicity and invasive potential. With basic precautions, this exotic elephant ear will embellish your garden with a touch of mystery.


Well, my fellow garden explorers, we've uncovered the secrets to successfully cultivating the mystifying black magic elephant ear. With its huge purple-black leaves and tropical flair, this Philippine native makes an unforgettable statement in any garden.

I hope I've convinced you to take a walk on the wild side! Add some drama and intrigue by acquiring a few of these exotic tubers. With the proper care outlined here, you too can unlock black magic's potential to create a sultry jungle paradise, right in your own backyard.

Just imagine lounging on the patio, immersed in those massive cascading leaves, like a tropical getaway. Your garden will transform into a living work of art that mesmerizes your guests. And did I mention how low-maintenance it is? For all its beauty, black magic thrives with minimal fuss.

So go ahead - break out of the ordinary! Plant a specimen as a focal point, mix it in borders, or make it a container thriller. Just be sure to provide rich soil, ample moisture, shelter from wind, and winter storage in colder climates.

With basic care, black magic will reward you with years of bold, tropical elegance. Its dark allure will keep your garden feeling fresh and exciting. And your gardening friends will be begging for your secrets!

So, there you have it - everything you need to master the magic. Wishing you and your dramatic new specimen a season of vigorous growth and garden glory! Let those big bold leaves fly free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you care for Colocasia black magic?

Provide rich, moist soil, partial shade, ample water, regular fertilizer, and protection from wind. In cold climates, dig up tubers in fall.

Does Colocasia Black Magic like sun or shade?

It thrives in partial sun, ideally with some afternoon shade. A few hours of morning sun is beneficial.

How tall does Colocasia black magic get?

It grows 3-6 feet tall at maturity, with leaves reaching up to 2 feet long that resemble elephant ears.

What is the difference between Colocasia black beauty and black magic?

Black beauty has greenish-black leaves while black magic has deeper purple-black foliage and larger, more puckered leaf shape.

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