Growing Colocasia Mojito

I was watching the weather all day Sunday as my wife and one of our daughters were heading down to Portland to watch a live performance of A Christmas Carol. The weather websites were predicting that here is coastal Maine, we could receive up to 6″ of snow over the next couple of days.

Vinales Valley Cuba via www.pithandvigor.com

This is quite different from where I was almost 12 years ago. In January of 2001, a group of us were lucky enough to visit Cuba. Besides discovering a country of beautiful scenery and fun people, we encountered a botanical concoction called mojito. In case you have never had a mojito, it is a drink which among its various ingredients includes rum and mint. The mint is slightly crushed and included whole in the glass. The reason I include this is that I am guessing that the appearance of the mint in the mojito is what inspired the name of my favorite elephant ear, Colocasia ‘Mojito.’ It was either that, or the folks who found the plant were drinking mojitos at the time.

colocasia mojito via www.pithandvigor.com

Colocasia ‘Mojito’ is a superb and striking plant. The green leaves are randomly splotched with black. The best way I know how to describe the appearance is that of a psychedelic camouflage pattern. Longwood Gardens grew a wide assortment of elephant ears last summer and this was one of the best performers in their Idea Garden.

Mojito elephant ear was brought to the market by Agri-Starts, Inc. down in Florida. They have patented the plant as plant patent 21,995.

Colocasia mojito www.pithandvigor.com

I will definitely be including Colocasia ‘Mojito’ in the gardens at Coastal Maine in 2013. We will have to lift the plants and store them over next winter since it is only hardy down to zone 7b (we are in 6a). With that striking coloration, I could see it doing well as a color echo for a chartreuse ground cover of even something dark like the dark leaved sweet potatoes. There are also quite a few coleus selections that would go well with this elephant ear as well.

How about you? Have you grown Colocasia ‘Mojito?’ Are there other elephant ears that we should consider growing in 2013?

– Rodney

Images: lonelyplanet.com, theplantprincess.blogspot.com, josephhillenmeyerandassoc.wordpress.com

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.
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4 Comments

  1. Ginger on December 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I love the elephant ear, but am more astonished that you were in Cuba at precisely the same time I was! I went with a group from my college in Idaho in January/February 2001. That trip still regularly comes up in conversation. It’s such a special place. How lucky we are to have had the opportunity to visit! Hoping for another chance, soon….

    • rodneyeason on December 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Small world! It is an incredible place. We got to spend time with the staff from Jardin Botanico Nacional in Havana. What a wonderful trip. What was your group studying?

  2. Louis on December 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Just love the leaves on the Colocasia “Mojito” . They do look like they have a camouflage pattern. We use to have some when we lived in Jacksonville, Fl. Really nice plant.

  3. ici on December 22, 2012 at 5:38 am

    The leaves are pretty original, I agree with louis, they look like a camouflage army pattern ^^

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