Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’
According to plant patent information, Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is a hybrid Colocasia developed by Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens. Information says it is a cross between Colocasia ‘Black Coral’ (seed parent) and *Colocasia ‘Thailand Giant’ (pollen parent). The cross was initially performed in 2013 and the patent was applied for on 2/14/2018.
*Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ is now Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ since the name changed…
An introduction by Walters Gardens in memory of Harriet Walters who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They donate $0.25 per plant sold to Alzheimer’s research. The Elephant is a symbol for Alzheimer’s Disease which is why Walters chose the Elephant Ear to be their cause plant.
Walters website says Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is a little shorter and fuller than Colocasia ‘Black Swan’. Photos of both cultivars show leaves with A LOT of puckering. But, as the photos of my plant show, the leaves are not puckered (dimpled)… They look very similar to Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ I have grown in the past.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I brought this plant labeled Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ home from a local greenhouse on April 27, 2019. The tag in the pot was from Proven Winners, which is a Division of Walters Gardens. I transplanted in on the left side of the porch on the north side of the house in the northeast corner bed. In that location, it would get full sun until about noon and light shade the remainder of the day.
Origin: Cultivar by Walters Gardens
Zones: USDA Zones 8-10 (10 to 30° F/-12.2 to -1.1° C)
Size: Walters Gardens says 4-4 1/2’ tall x 5-5 1/2’ wide, other websites say 4-7′.
Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Appreciates fertile soil
Water: Average, but prefers moist soil.
I liked the way this plant just made itself at home and took off without any hesitation.
By June 5 when the above photo was taken its leaves begin to show “a little” puckering but certainly not like what photos from Walter’s Gardens show. I say “puckering” but Walters calls it dimpled.
On the Walters Garden website, it says:
“This tropical plant forms huge, dark glossy mahogany leaves. Compared to ‘Black Swan’, this variety is shorter and has a fuller habit. While growing this plant, you’ll appreciate its clumping nature, which translates to more vigorously filling out a pot and throwing up lots of new leaves.
When growing these plants in our greenhouse, they colored up nicely even under UV inhibitor plastic. This was a pleasant surprise since often purple foliage plants require direct UV exposure to bring out the darker pigment.”
Photos on the website show plants with darn near black leaves.
I do the planters and landscape maintenance for a friend and I also put a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ in one of his planters.
It did very well in the planter and the leaves darkened up very well. BUT, where is all the puckering? The plant in this planter gets A LOT more shade than mine did.
It was very interesting how information online says the leaves of Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ (and dark-leaved cultivars) get darker in more sun… This plant is getting plenty of sun for it to have darker leaves… By this time of the year, the days were consistently getting hotter which Colocasia really like.
2019 was a very bad year for Japanese Beetles and they even started eating the leaves of the Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’.
Ummm… By August this plant was keeping up with the bigger Colocasia esculenta in the north bed. BUT, the leaves are not as dark as I hoped for. I am not complaining, though, because I really like this plant…
The other thing is, information from Walter’s Gardens says this is supposed to be a shorter plant, only 4 to 4 1/2′ tall… I hadn’t measured it yet on August 11 when the above photo was taken, but I think it was possibly already more than 4 1/2′ tall.
I grew Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ and a few other cultivars when I lived in Leland, Mississippi and they never did this well. I purchased them as small starter plants which is probably why. You have to remember you get what you pay for… If you want big plants, you have to start with good-sized plants in the beginning.
My Colocasia esculenta flowered like mad, usually starting in September, when I lived in Mississippi. They never flowered here until 2018 when I had my first one in July! Then the same plant flowered again in October. So, I was really surprised when this Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ started flowering in August…
Here it is on August 30, standing at 64 1/2″ tall… Almost as tall as me and 10″ taller than the 4 1/2′ Walter’s Gardens said it should get…
That is not my cat, by the way…
I have no words for this photo…
I take a lot of photos, especially of new plants, to show how they progress over the summer.
Not as dark as Walter’s photos and no puckered leaves…
Can you see them?
After the flowers came these weird deformed leaves (there is a name for them but I forgot what they are called). I had an AWESOME Alocasia lauterbachiana that I thought was getting ready to flower, but it just produced these weird, ummm, I am not sure what…
As steps started getting cooler, the leaves of the Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ seemed to get darker. I had to bring the potted plants inside for the winter on October 11 in 2019 because an “F” was in the forecast. Soon I would have to dig the Colocasia rhizomes and store them over the winter in the basement. The Alocasia will go in the basement in their pots to go through kind of a “pseudo dormancy”.
All in all, I really liked the performance of this plant. The fact that it’s leaves didn’t get all puckered like the photos on Walter’s Gardens showed and that it didn’t turn “black” make me wonder if it was actually a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ in the first place. Also, because it grew to 64 1/2″ tall instead of being shorter. I have bought a lot of plants with Proven Winners tags that have been great plants. I always considered Walters Gardens and Proven Winners as one of the top breeders and plant suppliers. Only three times in the last few years have the plants been incorrectly labeled. That is very disappointing because I take a lot of photos and write about plants and then realize I have not got the plant I have been writing about… I don’t think it is the fault of Proven Winners but where the plants were grown and shipped from.
The rhizomes of this plant overwintered fine and I planted them again in the same spot in 2020. I was fairly busy over the summer with the garden and work and didn’t take many photos. I did screw up and got a few rhizomes of Colocasia esculenta planted too close to this plant and it just looked weird with them growing together. GEEZ! If they survive the winter again, I will do a much better job in 2021…
UPDATE: I sent an email to a fellow I recently met through the site that was involved in the business (now retired) and he said “the heat and humidity of the south would affect the way the plant looks, as well as mature height. That climate could both explain the redder color and less puckering just because the heat and humidity cause the cells to stretch so they soften the puckers, and dilute the color as they thin out.” Well, that does make sense but west-central Missouri is in USDA zone 6a and not in the south.
There isn’t much online about this plant except for sellers websites…
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