How to Grow Store Bought Taro

Can you grow Taro (Colocasia Esculenta, or loosely refereed to as Elephant’s Ear) from a Grocery Store / Supermarket? Yes. It is actually quite simple, and similar to how you start avocado seeds.  The part of the plant we are dealing with is actually called a Corm (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a tuber, bulb, or rhizome).

Skill Level: Easy

What You Need:
Some Taro Corms (of course).
Some Waterproof Containers to start the Taro. I use clear plastic cups to easily monitor the plants health.
Some Toothpicks to hold the Corm in place.
Some potting soil if transferring to pots.
Some pots (1 per Corm), try to get pots wide enough to accommodate future off-shoots.  Also, Taro loves moisture, so if planting in a pot, opt for a self watering pot if available.  Click here to browse self watering pots on Amazon.

Time: 3 to 4 Weeks before planting.

When selecting Taro from the store, try to pick the largest pieces, specifically ones that already have a little green bud sticking out if available.  You also want to avoid pieces that have soft spots or “bruises”.  The Taro should be nice and firm like a potato.  Because this was my first time attempting this, I opted to go with 4 Corms.

Taro Corms

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly first before prepping the Corms.  Also, you may want to wash the Corm itself with some room temperature water, and a little dish soap on the soft side of a sponge.  Just make sure to thoroughly rinse the Corms with the faucet set on spray to remove all traces of dish soap.

Here is a closeup of the largest Corm.  You can see it already has a prominent bud (almost an inch in size) at the top, and an off-shoot on the side.

Large Taro Corm

I recommend removing some of the fibers on the outside of the Corm, as it is basically dead plant matter, and could potentially cause problems with bacteria or rot.  You do want to leave a little bit on there though, as the fibers will “wick” water up to the top of the Corm, where the majority of the new roots will sprout.

As part of my experiment, I opted to remove the off-shoot.  In this instance, I basically just snapped it off.

Tarm Corm Separation

I was not to worried about the larger Corm.  However, due to the size of the raw surface on the smaller Corm, I did not think it would survive.

This is the largest Corm.  Notice the raw area on the side where I snapped off the smaller Corm.

Taro Corm Toothpick Placement

Depending on the size and shape of the Corm and container, you may need to use something to suspend or position the Corm so the bud is on top. In this case, just like an avocado seed, you want to insert 3 toothpicks into the Corm to hold it in place.  You want to submerge 75% to 95% of the Corm in water, with the bud at the top.

Here is a shot of the smaller Corm I snapped off.

Small Taro Corm Toothpick Placement

This is 10 days in.  Notice the little green buds starting to grow off the sides.  Then there is a little white root starting in the middle of the pic just above the largest green bud.  I did not think this little guy would make it, but he is definitely hanging in there.

In comparison, here is the largest Corm after 10 days.

Taro Corm With Roots

As you can see, there has been some substantial growth.  From what I have observed so far, the larger the Corm, the faster the plant growth.  Notice all of the roots are only sprouting from the top of the Corm, while the bottom 80% of the Corm is still bare.

One issue I did run into is a white film (bacteria / bio-protein) forming across the top of the water, with a few clumps of bacteria growing beneath the surface.  This is most likely due to me not washing my hands or the Corm good enough before placing it in the water.  But don’t worry, as long as you manage it, it should not be an issue when you plant the Corm.

Taro Corm White Film

This white film is only present on 2 of my 5 Corms.  In this instance, I removed the Corm, and gave it a “power wash” in the kitchen sink.  I set my faucet to spray (make sure the water is around room temperature, do not wash the Corm with hot water), and washed the film off the Corm from the top down.  I did not use my hands, sponge, or anything else to touch the Corm (I held the Corm from the green stalk), as the roots are fragile and can be damaged or snap off easily.  I then washed the cup with dish soap, then rinsed the cup with hot water, making sure there was no soap left.  After that, replace the Corm in the cup, and refill with room temperature water.  This will not eliminate the bacteria completely, it will start to regrow.  So you will need to repeat the process around once a week or so for any affected plants.  Again, this bacteria does not seem to affect the overall health of the plant (as long as you manage it), and I imagine it will not be an issue once I transfer the Corm into potting soil.

Here is the largest Corm after 20 days.  For scale, the prominent leaf is now about a foot long.

Large Taro Corm Leaf

I would say this Corm is now ready to plant in some dirt.

And there you have it folks, another happy plant to add to your collection.

Taro Corm Planted

I recommend starting the plant off in either partial or indirect sunlight for the first few weeks.  This will give the plant some time to establish itself in the dirt.

Other than that, you are good to go.  I will be adding more info to this post as time permits.

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, please leave a comment below.  As always, I am an amateur and welcome constructive feedback.

One comment

  1. Wow thank you so much for sharing this.. I have seen a dozen ways to propagate these things but this seems like the most viable as you can monitor the condition and progress of the corm perfectly this way. Sometimes we over complicate things unnecessarily when it’s really this simple. If you think about it its really just a root vegetable and can be started off just like a potato or avocado with a glass of water and tooth-pics. 🙂


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