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Why is My Elephant Ear Plant Drooping?

8 Common Reasons Your Elephant Ear Leaves are Drooping and How to Fix It

If you love to recreate the look of lovely, tropical forests in your home garden, then the epic and robust elephant ear plants can be a great addition. You can recognize these ornamental plants by their heart or arrow-shaped leaves that resemble their iconic elephant ears.

However, drooping elephant ear plant leaves can be quite a distressing sight and I have had some of my readers ask, why is my elephant ear plant drooping?

So, why are your elephant ear plant leaves drooping?

There could be a whole host of reasons why your elephant ear plant is drooping. These include too much insufficient lighting, exposure to sunlight, underwatering, overwatering and fertilization issues. There could be other reasons like soil issues, nutrition problems, leaves becoming way too heavy, extremely cold temperatures, pest or fungal infestations, disease, or low humidity. 

My elephant ear plant drooping

Drooping leaves can make your elephant ear plant look unattractive. If you are unhappy about the general look of your favorite elephant plant, then read on to find out what you can do to fix the problem. 

Let’s take a deeper look at the reasons why your beautiful elephant plant is drooping and how you can fix them. These tips are sure to help get your plants to their usual robust and vibrant selves again.

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Elephant Ear Plant Drooping – 8 Reasons and Possible Solutions

#1. Watering Issues: Underwatering

When your plants don’t get enough water, the leaves may turn yellow or may even droop. You may have missed a watering session, and when this happens, the plant will start to conserve the water already present in the leaves. This is what makes their leaves droop. 

How to Fix the Problem 

When you catch your plant with wilted or drooping leaves, change the watering schedule, or your plant could dry up. 

So how much water do they require? A lot more than other plants! Elephant ear plants should get two to three inches of rainfall every week to flourish. When there is no rain, you should ensure it receives the same amount of water. 

Water your elephant ear plant once a week without fail. The general rule of thumb is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. 

#2. Watering Issues: Overwatering

If you overwater your elephant ear plant, they are bound to suffer. They do drink a good amount of water, but too much of it will put a lot of stress on your plant.

When the soil is drenched beyond what the plant needs, the water gets clogged, and there will not be sufficient air circulation around the plant. The insufficient air circulation in the roots means your plant cannot efficiently absorb water.

If you notice either small yellow spots near the roots or black/dark brown spots/yellow spots on the leaves, then you have overwatered.

Root rotting is another symptom of overwatering, identifiable by a rotting smell wafting from the roots.

How to Fix the Problem

Elephant ear plants do well when you provide them with the right amount of water. If you notice signs of overwatering, simply cut back on how frequently you water your plant.

Moreover, you should ensure proper drainage from your plant so that the soil does not remain wet and soggy for days.

If you come across spots on your roots or a rotting smell emanating from them, check if your soil is clogged. If it is, put off watering, let the top 2 inches dry out before your next watering session.

#3. Improper Lighting

Elephant ear plants need a good amount of sunlight to be at their vibrant best. If you notice your plants becoming all droopy and turning a little yellow as opposed to being green, it could be that they are not getting enough sunlight.

These plants do amazingly well in bright indirect sunlight. If you are keeping them outside, you need to ensure that the sunlight is not too harsh to burn the leaves.

How to Fix the Problem

You should change the location of your elephant ear plant if it’s not getting enough or too much light. Instead of placing it under direct sunlight, place them near a window facing the north or south. 

#4. Inadequate Nutrients and Improper Fertilizer Application

Elephant ear plants are very heavy feeders. The right fertilizers and rich, organic soil will retain moisture. Thin soil may dry out quickly. Moreover, when there are not enough nutrients in the soil, it will cause your elephant ears to droop.

If you apply the wrong fertilizer or spray on the leaves instead of the soil, it could affect the growth of your plant. Overapplication of fertilizer could burn your root system and the roots will not be able to absorb the water or the nutrients.

How to Fix the Problem

You should fertilize your elephant ears with the right fertilizer and grow them in nutrient rich soil rich. You can use a slow-release fertilizer with a 10-10-10 blend, which contains amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

You should ideally do this monthly to help your plants get back to their former glory! Diluting your fertilizer in a gallon of water will help to provide your plant with a vitamin boost.

You should fertilize in the summer or spring. During winter, your plant will be in a dormant condition. If you are going with organic products, you could sprinkle Epsom salt around the base every month.

If you have overfertilized your plant, then you should reduce how often you fertilize. 

#5. Large Leaves Becoming too Heavy 

If you tend to your elephant ears well, they will get bigger and heavier. While you may want them to stay put, the heaviness could cause your leaves to droop. If you see leaf tears or stems collapsing, it could be because of the weight of the leaves.

How to Fix the Problem

To keep your leaves looking big and gorgeous use stakes to hold them up when they get way too heavy. This will give your plant enough support to stand upright.

#6. Cold Temperature 

Elephant plants do well in warm areas where the daytime temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. During the nighttime, they will do okay as long as the temperatures don’t fall below 60 degrees. If it dips below 60 degrees, your plant will simply stop growing!

Cold drafts and freezing weather will damage the plant structure leading to drooping leaves.

How to Fix the Problem

Elephant ears are perennial plants. They are used to warmer climates. They will survive well in spots where the temperature is warm as opposed to freezing and chilly.

If you forgot to bring your plants in when winter sets in, do so right away without further delay! How about the winter sun? That is alright, but I still suggest you keep them in warm spots inside rather than letting them remain out in the sun.

If they are indoors, but still show signs of drooping, it is probably because they are near the cooling or heating ventilators. Keep them away from such areas, and you will get rid of the issue.

#7. Low Humidity

Elephant ear plants grow in regions where the humidity is quite high. A minimum of 60 percent humidity is ideal. When the humidity is low, your plant will rapidly lose moisture causing the leaves to droop.

How to Fix the Problem

Recreating tropical conditions in which elephant ears do well could be a little tough; particularly, if you’re living in areas where winters can be biting cold. 

You can use a hygrometer to keep track of the humidity levels in your home. Misting twice a week is enough for providing the perfect humid conditions. An alternative to misting is the use of a humidifier.

You can enhance the humidity levels around the plant by keeping a humidity tray (pebble tray). This is particularly useful during cold winter months to improve the humidity levels in the air where your elephant ear plant is potted.

#8. Pests and Insects Infestations

Bugs, aphids, spider mites, caterpillars and other insects could be infecting your plant. Yellow spots on the leaves, holes and tears in the leaves and pet droppings could be signs that pests and insects are the culprits behind your plants drooping.

These pests may be tiny, but they will end up blocking the nutrient pathways that supply water and food to the leaves. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with deformed and droopy leaves. 

How to Fix the Problem

Just a few caterpillars on your elephant ears? Just remove them by hand if you’re comfortable doing that! A simple solution like a water gun is effective against aphids. 

You could also try spraying your leaves with neem oil. Dilute it in water for the best results. 

Final Thoughts on Elephant Ears Drooping

Elephant ear plants are big, vibrant and beautiful. The sight of your elephant ears dropping could be painful, but there are things you can do to save your plants.

Watering is one of the main culprits behind drooping elephant ears. Others include lighting, temperature, humidity, and nutrient issues. 

Knowing the cause of the drooping will help you provide the right solution and I hope that this guide will come in handy in that regard so you can do what you need to do to care for your plants the way they deserve. 

Elephant ear leaves drooping

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