Malanga (Xanthosoma sagittifolium)

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Elephants retired from the traveling circus, but the extraordinary show goes on with the flashy foliage of Malanga (Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) Schott., Elephant’s ear, Yautia, New cocoyam, Tania, Yautia, Chou Caraïbe, costela de adão). This tropical perennial herb is native to parts of  Central and South America, but is widely cultivated and naturalized in other tropical regions around the world. It makes for a standout addition to home decor, where it might be better known as an elephant ear plant.

This tropical perennial can be grown comfortably on patios, and overwintered indoors in cool season climates.  Malanga is a very versatile plant that can be grown in shade, but will also flourish in the heat and light of a full, warm sun. The roots of Malanga will grow despite a few inches of standing water, but the leaves should not be submerged.  In Tropical America, people have harvested tubers for sustainable diets for years.  Malanga makes an impressive ornamental plant above ground, with a starchy stem below. Malanga produces large underground stems called corms, which are each about the size of a potato. In fact, Malanga makes a suitable replacement for most recipes that call for potatoes, or natural thickeners. When prepared to eat, they add an earthy and nutty taste to soups, stews, purees and more. To harvest roots, wait for the foliage to start dying back at the end of the growing season.

Plant Type:
Perennial Deciduous or Evergreen Herb

Although cultivated as an annual, Malanga is a perennial or annual herb (depending on climate) with a thick underground tuber. 

Harvest Season:
Fall, Winter

Malanga is ready to harvest 6-7 months after planting but will have greater harvests in year two.

Mature Size:
3-6 ft tall and wide 

Mature Malanga plants reach 3-6 feet tall and wide. The leaves themselves can grow up to 3 feet in size. At the base of the plant is one main tuber, which stores nutrients to last the plant through the winter.

Soil & Moisture:
Fertile, well-draining, moist, loamy and acidic soil. Malanga likes moist soil but can also be drought tolerant; do not let completely dry out between watering and over-watering, will make the plant prone to root rot. 

Light Requirements:
Part Shade, Shade, Full Sun

Yes.  Malanga plants rarely flower or produce seeds and rely on the roots for propagation.

Growth Rate: 

Zone Hardiness: 
Outdoors 9-11 with frost protection; Patio/Greenhouse 4+. Malanga is deciduous north of Zone 9 and evergreen south of Zone 9.

Our Malanga plants are propagated from division or tissue culture and large tubers are capable to harvest within 6-7 months (200 days).

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