Malanga(Xanthosoma sagittifolium) is a popular root vegetable that grows in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South East Asia, South America and Oceania.
It is also known as eddo, yautia, cocoyam, coco, and tannia in different parts of the world. It is commonly referred to as “Elephant Ears” in the United States due to its resemblance to the elephant ear plant. However, it is much prettier than the elephant ear plant.
It is mainly cultivated for its starchy tubers, known for their high nutritional properties. A lot of people use it to make soups, scones & curries.
What does Malanga look like?
Malanga looks like a cross between a potato and a ginger root. It has brown, hairy skin and white, starchy flesh.
The arrow-shaped leaves of the Malanga plants can grow up to 3 feet in size and 6 feet in height.
The leaves are edible, and the young leaves can be consumed like spinach. However, it is essential to boil them properly before using them.
How to Grow Malanga?
Using a sharp knife, cut the leaves and stems from the tuber and plant it in a hole dug at least 4 inches deep and 2 meters apart. By keeping them apart, the plant grows better, and the leaves have more room to flourish.
Planting seed pieces of the Malanga plant requires soaking them in fungicide and letting them dry for at least two hours.
After planting the Malanga roots, water them thoroughly. Using sugarcane as a mulch will help keep them grow well.
To ensure the Malanga Plant grows well, water it three times a week for 20 days, then once a week during dry weather.
A well-draining moist soil is required for Malanga. Poultry manure can be applied at a rate of one handful per square meter to feed them.
The plant thrives in climate zones 7 to 9, 14 to 16 and 18 to 25. The plant needs part shade to full sunlight to grow well.
How to harvest and store Malanga?
Malanga can be harvested after 9-12 months. One must be attentive while digging them out because it can damage the cormlets.
If the stem of the Malanga plant is thicker, the cormlets might be larger; therefore it is better to dig at a considerable distance to ensure that the cormlets are not damaged.
Wash them well and use them as you like.
You can store it in a Styrofoam box with sugarcane in a cool place to keep them fresh for a few weeks.
In conclusion, growing Malanga is a relatively straightforward process that can be done at home with little effort. With the proper care and attention, malanga plants can thrive and produce healthy, delicious roots that can be enjoyed in various ways. So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how much you enjoy growing and eating this unique root vegetable.