Caladium is a member of the Araceae family, with a wide range of colorful foliage in a variety of colors. Perfect as a houseplant – some are so bright that they resemble flowers – they do, however, require a little extra attention to keep them looking their best. While they prefer to thrive in hot, humid environments, you can grow them from bulbs in your own house with a little care! Let’s find out everything there is to know about Caladiums and how to plant Caladiums right now!
The origins of Caladiums
Caladium is a genus of roughly 14 tuberous herbaceous plants in the arum family (Araceae) native to tropical forests in South and Central America. It is also known as the heart of Jesus plant, angel wings, or elephant ears. This plant has been grown in Europe since the late 1700s for its spectacular foliage. The leaves have vibrant midribs, contrasting borders, and mottled, veined, and striped patterns in a variety of green, white, pink, rose, and/or red colors. There are no stems, and the leaves are carried on long petioles that sprout directly from the underground tuber.
Caladium bicolor, in particular, is commonly cultivated for its spectacular, fragile-looking, variously colored leaves, and a variety of cultivars have been developed.
Why should you plant Caladiums indoors?
Caladiums are excellent foliage plants for adding color to shady areas. This type of flower not only looks great in pots and hanging baskets, but they also brighten up shady areas.
Caladiums are perfect for livening up a dreary portion of the yard, as they put on their best show in a partially shaded area. With a dense planting scheme of these colorful, bright plants, you can transform an enclosed courtyard, shaded patio, or any dimly lit corner into a lush, tropical chill-out zone.
They continue to unfurl their magnificent shiny leaves throughout the summer, quickly filling their space. Plant them under palms for a splash of ground-level color, or incorporate them into bedding and patio displays for a full-blown jungle vibe. They readily establish what appears to be a professionally arranged planting scheme wherever they are placed, forming bushy mounds of heart-shaped leaves.
You can also plant Caladiums as indoor plants. A jazzy Caladium in a pot should do the trick if you want to make the most of a warm, bright conservatory or if you have a sleek modern house decor that might use a splash of color. Caladiums, whether grown indoors or outside, are unquestionably crowd pleasers in the summer.
Varieties of Caladiums
The pink Caladium is an excellent choice for shady or partially shaded spaces, with dark pink veins, medium pink splashes, and vivid green margins. Planting this bubblegum pink Caladium in your garden will make your landscaping dreams come true.
Caladiums are fragile bulbs with vivid tropical leaves and varied patterns that bloom in the spring and summer. Use several color variants of this plant to decorate your planters and shaded locations in the landscape. In Zones 3-8, treat this plant as an annual after the last frost date in the spring. They can reach a height of 18 to 24 inches. Enjoy the color they bring all season long without deadheading any spent flower blossoms!
Pink Caladiums come in a range of colors, from the gentle pink Florida Roselight to the deep, purple pink Fannie Munson. Pink splotches, pink hearts, or just a sprinkle of delicate pink can be found on many Caladiums. In the core of the Rosebud pink Caladium, one of the most unusual colors of pink occurs.
Besides, a spiderweb design of dark green veins is grown on Caladium Pink Symphony, which contrasts the pink and white foliage. Each leaf differs slightly from the previous one, and each one is a work of art in its own right.
The papery leaves thrive in high humidity and heat, so place them in a bright position out of direct sunlight with other tropical plants around to boost the humidity level. Another fantastic approach to boosting humidity around the plant is to use pebble trays.
Xanthosoma is a unique tropical plant from Colombia that is one of the most aesthetically spectacular houseplants you can grow. The contrast between the dark green of the leaves and the white of the veins makes this plant stand out and become a focal point in the garden.
The leaves are thick, sturdy, and easy to maintain. They also grow quickly. Xanthosoma grows 2 to 3 feet tall as it matures, making it an excellent floor plant for warm, light areas. Mature leaves are arrow-shaped with two oval lobes at the base and can grow to be 50 cm long.
Grow it with dark-leaved houseplants like fiddle-leaf fig to make it stand out in your collection. Alternatively, go all out and combine it with other striped houseplants like zebra plants or nerve plants.
Botanists have classified this plant multiple times, so it may be sold under a variety of names. Different names for the same variety include Caladium lindenii, Xanthosoma lindenii, and Phyllotaenium lindenii.
Caladium “white queen”
“White Queen” is a tuberous-rooted perennial with huge frosted-looking white leaves with green borders and noticeable red veining that is commonly grown as an annual or a houseplant. It’s a terrific plant for full shade, but it can also be planted in the sun if the soil is kept moist. In the spring, greenish-white flower spathes bloom, followed by white berries, but it’s the foliage that steals the show. Its arrow-shaped leaves brighten dark areas and can be used as bedding or in pots. It can also be grown as a houseplant, with tubers that can be stored indoors throughout the winter. Ingestion of the plant, in particular, can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress.
Caladium White Christmas
About Caladium White Christmas, it also called Angel Wings is a tuberous perennial with lush, heart-shaped silvery white leaves with dramatic dark green veins and edges that is prized for their exceptionally attractive leaves. This dazzling foliage plant thrives in full shade and is ideal for adding color and drama to shaded borders and pots. It’s also a fantastic houseplant.
It can reach a height and width of 18-24 inches (45-60 cm).
It thrives on humusy, wet, well-drained soils in part to full shade. If the leaves are exposed to direct sunlight, they may become scorched. Let’s keep the soils moist at all times and don’t let them dry out. Caladium white Christmas varieties include Aaron Caladium, Allure Caladiums, Carousel, and Celebration Caladiums, among others.
Miss Muffet Caladium
Speckles, splashes, and dramatic contrast abound in this gorgeous variety. Throughout the season, Miss Muffet Caladium’s appealing heart-shaped leaves stay blue and green, with characteristic burgundy dots and tinges of creamy white.
The Miss Muffet Caladium has a mounded appearance and is a dense herbaceous annual. It can be distinguished from other garden plants with finer foliage by its coarse texture. This is a low-maintenance plant that only requires trimming when absolutely necessary, such as to reduce dieback.
At maturity, Miss Muffet Caladium will grow to be about 12 inches tall with a 14-inch spread. Individual plants should be spaced about 10 inches apart when grown in bulk or as a bedding plant. Despite the fact that it is not a true annual, this plant will behave like an annual in our climate if left outside over the winter, necessitating replacement the following year. As a result, gardeners should expect it to behave differently than it would in its natural environment. This plant thrives in partial to full shade. It enjoys average to wet growing conditions and should not be allowed to dry out. It is extremely tolerant to urban pollutants and can even survive in densely populated areas. This particular type is a cross between two species.
Caladium Spring Fling
Caladium Spring Fling is a herbaceous perennial with an upright habit and tuberous rhizomes that grows to a height of 40-60 cm. The heart-shaped fancy-type leaves are 25 cm broad, pink in hue, and have a dark green, almost black vein. The petioles are a dark green color, nearly black in appearance.
The inflorescence, which consists of a long spadix and a petal-like spathe that surrounds the spadix like a hood, blooms in the spring and summer. In the bud, the blooms are green to cream, turning pale yellowish, semiglossy, and unisexual, similar to calla lily blossoms.
Candidum, often known as Angel Wings, is a beautiful home decorative plant with enormous wing-like leaves. Caladium Candidum is an Araceae bulbous perennial cultivar that produces magnificent white leaves with vivid green-black veins. It’s popular as a houseplant because of its beautiful white, arrow-shaped leaves. It prefers medium light, out of direct sunlight, and a humid but not damp environment with a high humidity. This plant looks identical to the Caladium White Christmas cultivar. It’s a tuberous tropical perennial that reaches a height of 12-30 inches and a width of 12-24 inches.
When to plant Caladiums?
Caladium growing season
Many gardeners utilize multitudes of these stunning plants as summer accents. Caladiums are seasonal tuberous plants that grow foliage from spring through autumn, peaking in the summer, and can be grown indoors or out. Cut off any spathes as soon as they appear to guarantee that the plant’s energies are put to good use for its beautiful leaves. The resting season for Caladiums is in the autumn or winter. Their rest period is controlled by how long the plants have been growing, not by the temperature or light cycle.
Caladiums are seasonal plants, even in the tropics, where gardeners grow them in the spring and summer months when the weather is warm and humid. You should cultivate them as annuals unless you reside in zones 9 to 11, or dig up the tubers at the end of the growing season and store them for the winter.
When grown inside, they thrive in high heat, indirect light, and plenty of humidity. Caladium foliage lasts only a few months, even in ideal conditions, before the leaves fall back and the plant stays dormant, which is typical.
When is the best time to plant Caladiums?
Planting Caladiums at the right time is one of the most important things you can do to ensure adequate care.
In the spring, you can plant Caladiums directly in the garden or seed them four to six weeks before the last frost date indoors. However, Caladium bulbs should be planted at different times depending on where you live. This is the time to plant Caladiums:
- April 15th – Hardiness zone 8
- May 1st – Hardiness zone 7
- June 1st – Hardiness zone 6
- June 15th – Hardiness zones 3, 4, 5
The following is a general planting guideline for Caladiums. If winter seems to be lingering a little longer than usual this year, you’ll want to wait until the fear of frost has passed before planting. Caladiums will die if they come into contact with frost, so keep them away from it.
If you live in zone 9 or higher, you can leave your Caladium bulbs in the ground all year because they can withstand the harsh winters. If you reside in zone 8 or lower, you’ll need to dig Caladiums up and store them for the winter around the time of the first frost.
Caladiums planted at the correct time can provide you with strong, lush Caladium plants all summer.
Where is the best place to plant Caladiums?
Caladiums flourish throughout the summer and add a lush, exotic touch to any yard or garden. Although most Caladiums like to be in the shade or partial shade, certain types are more sun tolerant and can be planted in regions where there is minimal shade. They’re a terrific way to brighten up shady spots. They’re frequently utilized as border plants, along the sides of houses, or in flower beds. They make amazing patio pot plants and can also be utilized in window boxes.
How to plant Caladiums
Preparing Caladium tubers (Bulbs) before planting
What are the Caladium tuber sizes?
Caladium tubers are available in a range of sizes. If you are unable to specify the size upon purchase, you can use the following list to determine the size category of your tuber:
- No. 4: Approximately 2cm
- No. 3: From 2 to 2.5cm
- No. 2: From 2.5 to 4.0cm
- No. 1: Between 4.0 and 6.5
- Jumbo: From 6.5 to 9.0 cm
- Mammoth: Between 9.0 and 11.5 cm
- Super Mammoth: Greater than 11.5 cm
Soaking Caladium bulbs
Tubers should be soaked in warm water for an hour before planting. If you choose to plant Caladiums in this manner, make sure your water isn’t too hot so the tuber and the emerging plant don’t get hurt.
If you’re going to pre-water your tuber, only use lukewarm water. Pour part of the water into a pot of your choosing and soak the Caladium tuber for 1 to 2 hours.
Caladium substrate requirements
We’ve completed preparing our Caladium tubers and are ready to move on to the next step, which is to prepare the soil. To plant Caladium successfully, the selection of the Caladium medium is considered very important. The tubers, and thus the subsequent plants, require a nutrient-rich and water-permeable substrate.
According to their origin, the substrate used for your Caladium tubers and plants should be slightly acidic. As a result, the ideal soil for Caladiums has a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5. It is recommended to utilize a substrate mix since the substrate must be able to hold moisture while also not being overly compacted.
The following ingredients make up a good substrate mix:
- 2-3 parts coco humus
- 1 part mineral substrate (pon, perlite)
- 1 part moss (Sphagnum or other moss)
A percentage of coconut fiber chips can also be added to the substrate, but this isn’t compulsory.
The pH value of the coco humus base is around 6, which is average for our future plant. The mineral substrate, on the other hand, promotes water permeability and, in addition to the moss, absorbs moisture and delivers it reliably to the roots. Fine lava rock from the hardware store is the cheapest option for a mineral substrate.
How to plant Caladiums from tubers
Step 1. Choose a planting spot
Ideally, choose a location that receives direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade for the rest of the day. The sun throughout the entire day prevents the leaves from developing brilliant hues.
Step 2: Use a mixture of well-draining soil and compost
The tubers may rot if the soil is too dense. Dig a 1 foot (0.30 m) hole in your dirt and fill it with water to test it. Allow the water to drain entirely before refilling it with your hose. The soil drains well if the water level drops by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) after an hour. If not, mix the soil with a 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) layer of compost to enhance drainage.
If you plant Caladiums in pots, make sure the pots have drainage holes on the bottom to allow water to readily flow through.
Step 3: Plant Caladiums tubers 2 inches (5.1 cm) deep in the ground.
For more leaves, keep the knobby side of the tuber facing up. Create a small hole roughly the same size as the tuber. To ensure that the leaves grow properly, place the tuber in the hole with the eye or bud facing up. Then, cover the tuber with loose soil. If you compact the soil too much, water will not be able to reach it. Therefore, be careful not to compact it too much.
Step 4: Space tubers 8–12 in (20–30 cm) apart
This allows air to circulate around your plants, keeping them healthy.
Step 5: Water the soil
Water the soil thoroughly with a watering can until it feels damp, approximately 2 inches (5.1 cm) beneath the surface. If you plant Caladiums in pots, stop watering as soon as you see water flowing out of the drainage holes.
Caladium care guides
Caladium plants care indoors
After you plant Caladiums, Caladium care is considered a determining factor in its growth. Caladium plants should be kept in a medium-light environment with protection from the midday sun, which can scorch the foliage. The best light comes from a window in the north or east. Caladium tubers are native to South American tropical forests and grow seasonal foliage during the rainy, warm season, so humidity is essential for Caladium houseplant care.
Misting and placing a saucer filled with stones and water under the pot might help keep the humidity high in a home. The evaporation will moisten the surrounding air and supply the humidity for your Caladium. Keep your plants away from drafty windows or doors, as well as dry-air heating vents.
You’ll need to keep your plant well-watered and healthy while it’s still in its foliar splendor. Caladium should only be fertilized when it is actively growing, which is usually from early spring to late summer. Water the soil when it seems dry to the touch.
When the soil seems dry to the touch, water it. Maintain a minimum temperature of 65°F (18°C) for the plant. Before taking the leaves off, let them die back until they are entirely gone. After that, you have the option of taking the tubers, drying them, and storing them in peat in a breathable bag, or leaving them in the soil and stopping watering them. Move the pot to slightly stronger light, being cautious not to burn the new shoots. Once the pot has blossomed completely, slowly reintroduce it to the outdoors until fall, then repeat the process.
Caladium plants care outdoors
Here are some recommendations on how to care for Caladiums:
- You should plant Caladiums outside only after all frost dangers have passed.
- The outdoor Caladium thrives in partial sunlight. It’s preferable to place your plants in a location with ample semi-filtered sunlight.
- Caladiums should be planted where they will not be affected by strong winds. The plant’s large leaves might be damaged by too much wind.
- It’s possible that you’ll need to add Caladium fertilizer to the soil. A pH of 6.0 to 6.2 is ideal for the plants. Add fertilizer, such as pine bark and compost, as well as potash, to maintain this level.
- As needed, trim the yellow growth from the leaves.
- Before the frost, dig out the Caladium tubers. Place the Caladium tubers in a cool, dry location and remove the dead leaves before storing them in net bags until spring. Ensure that the temperature in the storage space for the tubers does not go below 60°F.
More on growing Caladiums in pots: How to care for Caladiums in pots?
Caladium plants should be pruned every 2-3 weeks, removing any damaged or dead leaves. Ensure that all discarded leaves are disposed of at a safe distance.
On a hot day, avoid trimming or pruning a Caladium because the plant will suffer from heat stress. Before winterizing the bulbs, you’ll need to prune all of the leaves.
Always prune with clean scissors or shears to avoid bacterial and fungal infections. Always avoid cutting through yellowed tissue, as this can lead to more damage from illnesses or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions because too-damaged wounds might shock the plant, causing it to slow down and become ill.
How to propagate Caladium
By dividing Caladium
Caladium is best propagated through division. This can also be used as a maintenance technique to keep your garden looking tidy. Divide Caladiums means that you’ll be able to duplicate your favorite plant by using its tubers.
To separate the bunches of stems, just slice through the soil between them with your thumb and pull gently. Ascertain that each stem group has its own set of roots. You can split the group even if it only has one stem to encourage it to grow more. However, do not cut a stem that belongs to a group since it will die because it lacks its own root.
Caladiums, on the other hand, should be propagated with caution because they can induce poisoning and reactions if ingested or touched. Before and after each use, you should inspect and disinfect all of the tools you’ll need. We highly recommended that you soak your gardening equipment in a weak bleach solution for half an hour before rinsing it.
From rooting Caladium leaves
A Caladium leaf grows on a petiole that connects to the tuber of the Caladium belowground. When the plant’s leaves and roots are dormant, the tuber acts as a fleshy storage organ, allowing the plant to survive.
When there is enough warmth and moisture to allow growth, new roots and stems emerge from the tuber. New leaves sprout from the tuber at a growth site known as a “bud,” which is high in growth hormones.
When a Caladium leaf and its petiole break off, leaving a piece of the brown tuber attached, this ‘division’ has the ability to sprout new roots.
The leaf is likely to survive once the roots have formed. As water evaporates from the leaf’s surface, it must be able to absorb enough water to keep it from wilting. At the point where the roots grow from the petiole, a new tuber begins to form. New leaves will begin to develop after this new tuber is actively growing.
You can plant Caladiums from seeds; the time from pollination to the time when the Caladium has around 5-6 leaves is about 6 months. However, the time may vary slightly depending on the variety.
Pollination requires 2 Caladium flowers. The blooming times of these two flowers are 10 days apart. When another flower’s ovule (female zone) has not yet opened and pollen has not yet been produced in the male zone, a pollen plant (called a male flower) will be taken from the male zone and put into the ovule (female zone).
Pollen from male flowers
You’ll need pollen first (a light yellow fine powder). Early morning is the optimum time to gather chalk. To collect pollen, you can use cotton swabs.
Pollinates female flowers
Cut a hole in the female flower to allow pollen to be inserted.
- Pollination to germination takes about 8 to 10 weeks. Continue examining your berries until you notice them falling out when you touch them.
- Then, you are ready to be harvested and planted. You’ll need a well-lit spot where you can sit and remove the seeds for hours. Using tweezers and colorful napkins is a good idea. I simply place the berries on something brightly colored to make them stand out. Each berry might have anything from one to ten seeds within it.
- Caladium seeds must be exposed to light in order to germinate. As a result, sprinkle the seeds on top of the dirt and spritz them with water from a water bottle. Place plastic over your seed trays to keep them moist while you wait. Remove the plastic cover once the leaves have begun to form. Your seedlings may begin to exhibit some of their natural colors 2 months after germination.
Common issues with Caladiums
Common problems that arise when you plant Caladiums are yellowing foliage, browning leaves, pets and diseases.
Yellowing of leaves, such as yellow patches or discoloration from the base, is common in Caladium plants.
Watering, lighting, or temperature stress are the most common causes of yellowing. Yellowing can also be caused by low humidity and a lack of micronutrients in some situations.
- Reduce the amount of water you give the plant and stick to the normal watering schedule until it recovers.
- To protect your plant from the cold, bring it inside and place it under a grow lamp or wrap it in insulation.
- Place the plant in a partially shaded area with plenty of indirect sunlight.
- Fertilize on a regular basis to add micronutrients like magnesium, nitrogen, and iron.
Brown leaves are also a common phenomenon when you plant Caladiums. When your plant is very dehydrated, it will begin to compensate by browning (underwatering). The leaves also become brown when they are exposed to direct sunlight or over-fertilized with phosphorus.
The browning will mostly occur during the growing season (spring and summer), making the problem easy to identify.
- A severely dehydrated plant would need to be watered right away.
- You may also place it in a container filled with water to help the soil absorb moisture.
- Remove the plant from the window and open regions that receive direct sunlight by a few feet.
- Electrical humidifiers can be used to make up for a lack of humidity.
- Reduce fertilization and run water over the soil to remove chemical residues.
Caladium plants are rarely bothered by insects, but Caladium plant pests do occasionally nibble on their leaves or cell sap. Aphids and caterpillars can be an issue. Vigilance is your best defense against Caladium plant pests. Look for the creatures and handpick them off the plants if you notice ragged borders on the foliage. If the infestation is out of hand, employ Bacillus thuringiensis, a caterpillar-killing bacteria. Aphids can be a nuisance, but they normally do not pose a serious threat to plants. If necessary, wash them away with the hose or, control them with horticultural soap or neem oil.
When you plant Caladiums, it will not avoid the diseases that cause them. Caladium plants are planted from tubers, and the diseases that affect them are tuber diseases. Typically, fungal infections such as Rhizoctonia and Pythium species cause these illnesses. These are sometimes seen in dormant tubers.
If you want to start preventing Caladium fungus problems, soak the tubers in water heated to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit after the growing season and let them dry for about half an hour before storing. You can also eliminate fungus by pruning the diseased area and applying a fungicide containing Flutriafol.
How long does it take Caladium Bulbs to sprout?
The temperature of the ground and air in their growing surroundings has a big impact on this. Caladiums grow in hot weather, and the higher the temperature, the faster they sprout. They will not sprout if the earth is too cool, and if it is too warm, they may decay.
Similarly, they will not thrive if you plant Caladiums indoors and the air temperature is too cold or the humidity is too low.
Caladiums can take a long time to emerge from hibernation, depending on bulb quality and environmental variables. They can grow in as little as two weeks in optimal settings, and it can take up to twelve weeks in less perfect conditions. With everything taken into account, the average duration is between four and eight weeks. Avoid overwatering Caladium bulbs in an attempt to speed up their growth, as tempting as it may seem.
How long does Caladium take to bloom?
Your Caladium plant will normally bloom in the summer, but they can bloom more frequently and earlier indoors. It varies by cultivar, with blooming dates ranging from spring through early October. Besides, some types do not bloom at all, such as Blushing Bride, which is described by nurseries as “bred for foliage.”
By fertilizing your Caladium bicolor, you can encourage greater growth and more flowers in varieties that produce them. During its normal growing season, feed it every two weeks.
This gorgeous plant requires a little extra care to thrive at its best. GardenHow.net believes that by learning how to plant Caladiums, you will be able to improve the appearance of your garden. If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy the great Caladium throughout the growing season!
How to care for Caladiums in pots?
Caladium care indoors: Best tips and hacks for stunning flowers
Caladium Care Guides: Light – Water – Temperature – Humidity – Fertilizer
All Varieties of Caladiums with Names and Pictures for your garden
Methods for propagating Caladium by splitting the tubers, dividing, rooting Caladium leaves and seeds