Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’
Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott is the correct and accepted scientific name of this species of Colocasia. It was named and described as such by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott in Meletemata Botanica in 1832. It was first described as Arum esculentum L. by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
I bought my first Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ from Wellspring Gardens in the spring of 2009 and my second from them in 2012. According to Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery, C. ‘Black Magic’ was discovered in the wild in the Philippines as a dark sport by collectors from a Queensland Australia botanical garden. They gave plants to Walter Pagels from California who first introduced the plant to the U.S.
There have been several “black-leaved” Colocasia esculenta cultivars introduced in the past few years.
I always read where the Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ was very prolific. As you can see in the above photo, even though the plant wasn’t that large, is it sending up several offsets.
They feature these AWESOME dark purple-black leaves 2′ or so long. The more sun they have, the darker the leaves will be. They can grow to a height of 5-7 feet tall in ideal conditions in full to part sun and PLENTY of water…
My first Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ didn’t survive past its first winter, so I bought another one in the spring of 2012.
ZONES: USDA 8-10
LIGHT: Full sun to part shade. Full sun brings out the best leaf color.
WATER: Medium to wet. Do not allow the soil to dry out in full sun or during periods of dryness. Plants can be grown as a water/bog plant standing in up to 6” of water.
SOIL: Prefers a fertile, organically rich soil. They will not grow well in poor soil.
FLOWERS: Produces yellow flowers in July and August.
I did not bring my Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ with me when I moved back to mid-Missouri in February 2013.
I bought a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ from a local greenhouse in 2019 and overwintered the rhizome successfully for 2020. You can read about it by clicking HERE. Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is likely a selection of ‘Black Magic’. It is AWESOME!
I am no aroid expert and I only grew this plant as a companion in 2009 and 2012. As with many Colocasia, you buy as small plants, it can take some time for them to reach a dramatic size. So, if you buy smaller plants and they don’t get 6-8’ tall by the end of the summer, just be patient. They now have rhizomes that you can store for the winter and they will make larger plants the next season. Unless you live in a zone they can stay out all winter… Just make sure the rhizomes don’t remain too wet over a cool winter outdoors.
You also need to make sure you have your Colocasia growing in an area they like and will do well. Otherwise, your plants will not grow well and attain any size. When I lived in Mississippi, the Colocasia esculenta grew HUGE. Now, in mid-Missouri, I only have room for two that can grow HUGE and the rest remain small because of where I have to grow them.
Keep in mind Colocasia grow new rhizomes each season on top of the old one. If they aren’t growing where they will thrive, their rhizomes will actually get smaller.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.