Tropical rainforests have an abundance of the things plants love: moisture, nutrients, sun and warmth. Plants naturally take advantage of the abundance, sometimes responding with mammoth dimensions. Gardeners can take advantage, too, creating an oasis with those tropical plants that bear leaves of exceptionally large proportions.
The keys to growing these in a pot are to use the biggest possible containers to grow them in; position them in a warm sunny location early in the growing season; drench the roots and leaves frequently; and give them plenty of high nitrogen fertilizer. With this simple recipe for success you'll be astounded what the following three plants can do for you.
Elephant's ear can refer to quite a few different species (including Alocasia and Colocasia), but all have the same general appearance. They grow from large tubers, each of which sends up a stalk with a single leaf on top that is at least the size of an elephant's ear if not larger.
Banana plants won't produce fruit without a year-round frost-free growing season, but many types are grown for their ornamental qualities, rather than their fruit. The leaves grow anywhere from 2-5' in length and form a small canopy on the thick, fleshy trunks. There are numerous varieties with colored foliage to choose from.
Gunnera looks like it belongs in the Jurassic period with its warty fronds of colossal proportions. There are many types of gunnera, including one species that holds the record for the largest leaves of any plant, measuring over 8' across. In container gardens here in North America, you won't be able to grow anything that big, but the gunneras available in your local nursery are capable of sprouting leaves 2-3' across.