why is my elephant ear plant dying

Why is my Elephant Ear Plant Dying? (Here’s Why & How to Fix It!)

The elephant ear plant is a versatile plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The plant has huge, elephant ear-like leaves.

The plant thrives well when you provide the essential conditions. Sometimes people report that their plant is dying, this may happen due to various reasons.

What is wrong with my Elephant ear plant?

Yellowing of the foliage is caused by too much sunlight, Overwatering, and Underwatering. Leaf browning is caused by leaf scorch, lack of water, or bacterial infections. Phyllostica leaf spots cause spots on the leaves and also leave behind holes in the foliage. Apart from these issues insect pests like Weevils, Caterpillars also love to feed on the leaves of Elephant ear plants.

Why do Elephant ear plants turn yellow?

Do you see yellowing leaves on your Elephant ear plant? This can happen due to different reasons. Let’s look at how to fix such a plant.

Too little sunlight

Too little sunlight can cause the yellowing of the leaves in Elephant ear plants. This plant loves abundant but indirect sunlight.

The plant thrives in partial shade conditions too. Before you move the plant indoors/outdoors, acclimate the plant to the conditions slowly.

Place the plant in a place where it gets abundant, indirect sunlight.

Feed it!

Do you think the plant doesn’t get sufficient nutrients? This may also be the reason why your plant’s foliage becomes yellow.

Send the soil to a lab for testing. If the soil lacks essential nutrients, it is time to feed it some. Feed organic fertilizer if possible.


Overwatering and Underwatering, both can cause yellowing of the foliage. So, you need to keep track of your watering sessions and their frequency.

Do you water your Elephant ear plant once a week? Then the yellowing leaves are probably caused by Overwatering.

If you are watering once in a fortnight, the yellowing of the foliage is due to underwatering. Once you identified the problem, fix it accordingly.

See if the yellowing of the foliage reduced. If the yellowing of the leaves did stop, you sorted the issue. You need to keep track of your watering habits.

Make sure the soil has good drainage. You can diagnose the issue too if you observe closely. If the yellow spots are big and at the edges of the leaves, it is due to Underwatering.

If the yellow spots are smaller and are near to the roots, it is probably due to Overwatering.

Why is my Elephant ear plant turning brown?

The elephant ear plant may turn brown due to a couple of reasons. We shall see what those are and how to fix them.

Leaf scorch

This is the most common reason for leaf browning in Elephant ear plants. This happens when the plant was recently exposed to high light.

The burns are seen along the edges of the leaves. Leaf scorch doesn’t kill the plant but it spoils the ornamental look of the plant.

Avoid moving the plant abruptly to a location with high intensity of light. The plant thrives well in partial shade conditions.

You may want to shield the plant when the sunlight is too bright. Cover the plant with an umbrella or a similar thing.

Lack of water

The foliage of plants turns brown and crispy when they don’t get enough water. These plants love moisture in the soil(don’t get them waterlogged).

Check with fingers and water the plant when needed i.e., when the soil feels dry.

Lack of nutrients

If you suspect that this is because of a lack of surplus nutrients, add some Epsom salt to the soil. Epsom salt helps the plant grow healthy, colorful foliage.

Do elephant ears like coffee grounds?

Elephant ears need a good amount of essential nutrients in the soil to grow healthy foliage. Add some coffee grounds to the soil once or twice a year.

I prefer not to add fertilizer to my plants, but if you feel there’s a need, do add it to the soil.

Bacterial leaf spot

Sometimes Elephant ear plant is infected with bacterial leaf spot. This disease causes brown spots on the leaves. These spots grow into patches if they are untreated.

Do not ever wet the leaves while watering. Water at the base of the plant to avoid such diseases. Dispose of the infected leaves carefully.

If the infection is severe, spray the plant with an appropriate fungicide.

Why do Elephant ear plants droop?

Does your Elephant ear plant droop? The most common reason for this is the heavy leaves. The weight of the leaf is so high that it droops.

Staking the plant helps overcome this problem effectively. These plants will also droop if the temperatures are too low.

Make sure your plant is in optimal conditions. If you see drooping with other signs/symptoms probably some other issue is at work.

Elephant ear plant with holes

Do you see holes in the leaves of your Elephant ear plant? This can happen in various cases, let’s talk about them one by one.

Phyllosticta leaf spot

This is a fungal disease that causes brown spots on the leaves of the Elephant ear plant. You’ll soon see holes in the leaves of the infected plant.

This disease makes your plant ugly. You need to fix this as soon as possible.

To fix: 

  • Cut off the dead leaves and dispose of them carefully. Sanitize the tools afterward.
  • Prune the plant well to increase air circulation.

Insect Pests

Insect pests like larvae may also eat the leaves leaving the holes behind. Caterpillars, Weevils, and Beetles chew the leaves and leave behind holes in the leaves.

Inspect the plant closely and see which one of these pests is infecting your plant. Once you identify the pest, treat the plant accordingly.

Do Slugs eat Elephant ears?

The Elephant ear plant has thick leaves. These leaves are hard to chew for the slugs. So, the culprit that’s chewing your leaves isn’t a slug.

How to keep bugs from eating my Elephant ears?

Keep checking your plant for any signs of pest infestation. Once you find an early sign of such infestation, act quickly.

You can spray the plant with Neem oil. Dilute the oil for the best results. If you see only a couple of caterpillars on the plant, hand-pick them and dispose of them.

Happy Growing!!