Elephant ear bulbs take anywhere from three to eight weeks to sprout, depending on the climate in which they are planted. Because they are a tropical plant, they require consistent warm weather before they sprout. In cooler, northern climates, elephant ears are likely to take longer to sprout.
Elephant ear bulbs should be planted with the pointed, rougher end of the bulb facing downward. They require a lot of water before they sprout because the roots are getting established. They should also be fertilized about once a month. Bulbs should be dug up and stored after growing season is over if they are planted in U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 8 or colder; otherwise, they can be left outside to go dormant and sprout again in the following spring.