I have elephant ears that have green cocoon things all over them. What are they and how do I get rid of them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Danielle in Texas: Both Alocasia and Colocasia are commonly referred to as elephant ears. The main difference between these bulbs is that the Alocasia genus are water lovers. They are typically found in ponds or bogs. The Colocasia genus will not tolerate excessive moisture and have larger foliage than the Alocasia. Regardless of which one you are growing, the cocoons are not harming your plants. There are many insects that spin cocoons in their larval stage. I cannot say for certain what insect has made its home on your plant. The most common insects that form cocoons are butterflies and moths, but many other insects, including beetles, spiders, flies, mites, wasps, and bees, also form cocoons. Depending on the insect, they can live in their cocoons up to several weeks. They are not taking nutrients from your plant but it might not be very pleasing in terms of aesthetics. You can hand pick the cocoons off your plant if you wish or just leave them there until the insect leaves and then remove them. You can take a sample of the cocoon to your County Cooperative Extension Office to have an entomologist identify it for you. They might not have an entomologist on staff so it may have to be sent away, but at least you would know what you are dealing with.