Caladium Plant: The Ultimate Care Guide
While some plants are renowned for their brilliant blooms, others, like Caladiums with their spectacularly vibrant leaves, are praised for their fantastic foliage. These tropical plants are ideal for shaded garden areas because they are exceptionally fast-growing and offer an exceptionally long season of colour. If you've never grown caladiums, think about including them in your garden arrangement for enduring beauty that outshines even the most vivid blooms.
Caladiums are tropical perennials that thrive in high temperatures and have stunning foliage that is almost unmatched. The plant's large, paper-thin leaves are shaped like hearts or arrows and have an eye-catching variety of hues and patterns. The Araceae family includes the caladium, which is indigenous to South and Central America. Caladium is also known by the names angel wings and elephant ears.
Despite how beautiful they are, caladium plants are toxic to both animals and people.
This fancy leaf caladium is a fantastic choice for a shade garden because it comes in a variety of colours, including white, pink, and even deep red with contrasting veins and edges. This variety breaks up the monotony of green and makes the areas that don't get much sun more vibrant. Caladiums can produce a stunning display that rivals that of any other flowering plant with proper care.
No stems are known to exist in caladium. The leaves are supported by the elongated petioles, which emerge directly from the underground tuber. This plant has a distinctive characteristic in that it rarely blooms. Caladium typically produces some flowers, albeit small ones, when grown in convenient locations.
Knowing how to plant and care for fancy leaf caladium is essential if you're thinking about including it in your shade garden. Continue reading to find out more about this showy shade-loving plant, including how it looks, where to plant it, how to make sure it will survive, and how to make it thrive.
Caladium cultivars come in a dizzying array of colours, including green, red, pink, white, and even orange. Cultivars are frequently sold without names. Almost all cultivars are descended from the South American native C. bicolour. Choosing a variety should be based on how it looks. They can produce a single plant or a colourful border.
Several notable cultivars include:
This variety has the potential to grow quickly. It has broad, green leaves with vivid red and bright white veins as accents.
Caladium 'White Christmas'
It has broad, arrow-shaped green leaves that are heavily "dusted" with bright white pigment, creating an understated yet eye-catching colour scheme.
Caladium 'Miss Muffet'
This diminutive variety has lime-green leaves with bright pink spots, and it only grows to a height of about 8 inches.
Caladium 'Puppy Love'
This relatively recent introduction has pink leaves with green edges and can withstand full sun in some regions.
Dark red centres and broad green borders define this fancy-leaved variety. It has medium-sized to large leaves and can reach heights of up to 12 to 24 inches. If you want to add more colour and texture to shady areas, this cultivar is an excellent choice. As a result, this plant is typically grown indoors.
This strap-leaved bicolour caladium has a striking pinkish-red centre and green edges. The leaves are broad despite being small in size. Only moderate sunlight is acceptable for this plant, which can reach heights of 6 to 12 inches. This caladium plant's advantage is that it is prone to pests and illnesses.
These striking plants are used in profusion by many gardeners as summer accents and talking points. Caladiums are seasonal tuberous plants that can be grown indoors or outdoors. Their summer foliage growth period reaches its peak. To ensure that all of the plant's energies are directed toward producing its stunning leaves, remove any spathe as soon as it appears. Autumn or winter is the time when caladiums rest. The length of time the plants have been growing instead determines how long they will rest.
They thrive in high temperatures, direct but indirect light, and high humidity levels when grown indoors. Even in ideal circumstances, caladium foliage only lasts a few months before the leaves begin to wither and the plant returns to its normal dormant state.
Indoor caladium plants prefer moderate shade or indirect light. The more sun the leaves can withstand, the narrower they are. You have more control over the lighting when you grow them outdoors in containers. Some more recent cultivars can tolerate full sun, but the majority of caladiums require protection from excessively bright light. Give them some shade when growing them in a garden; direct sunlight will scorch their leaves.
Water the plant as needed after the plant's leaves appear to keep the soil evenly moist. Never allow the plant to dry out because the leaves may yellow and fall off. When the plant's leaves begin to wither, stop watering it. After winter dormancy, start watering again in the spring. As the weather warms, fresh leaves will grow again.
In the garden or potting soil for containers, such as a moist mixture of soil and peat, plant caladium in rich, well-drained soil. Similar richness and drainage should be present in the garden soil. At 5.5 to 6.2, the pH of the ideal soil is slightly acidic.
Caladium houseplants prefer warm environments. As the temperature at which tubers start to grow is 70–75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and, if possible, 60–65 degrees at night, aim for these temperatures.
Although this plant probably requires higher humidity levels than those in our homes to thrive in its natural environment, normal levels within a home should be fine.
You can save the tubers in a bag and replant them the following year for another show when the plants die back in the fall or early winter. The steps listed below can also be used to divide mature caladium tubers:
Fall is the time to let the leaves die back. Lift the tubers from the ground after allowing the soil to slightly dry out. Store in a box in a cool, dry, and dark location with temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, such as a basement.
Cut tubers in the late winter or early spring using a sharp, sterile cutting tool. Ensure at least one growing site exists in each new tuber section (with an eye or a knob).
Allow the tubers to "heal" for a week while the cut ends to develop a callus.
When the following growing season starts and the soil temperature is over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, plant the tubers with the "eye" facing up outdoors or in containers once more.
Some more Tips
Compost, finely ground bark or composted manure can be added to the soil to improve drainage and raise the level by 2-3.
Caladiums should be planted in areas with some wind protection because their large leaves are vulnerable to tearing.
After planting, expect roots and sprouts to form. Mature sizes can grow up to 25 inches tall.
When choosing a container, keep your plants' mature sizes in mind.
Caladiums can be mixed with other plants in the same container as long as they all require the same amount of water and light.
When the plant is actively growing, pinch off a few leaves to add some vibrant charm.
Many harmful pests do not bother caladium. However, they might be bothered by caterpillars and grasshoppers that will eat the leaves and require particular methods to stop the behaviour. Insecticidal soaps can also get rid of other pests that eat the leaves, like Mites, Thrips and Whiteflies
Caladium Common Issues
Caladium plants typically have vibrant, eye-catching leaves, making any issues apparent. It might be simple to resolve the problem if the colours of your caladium leaves change.
If a caladium plant is overwatered, underwatered, exposed to excessive light, or under stressful temperature and humidity conditions, the leaves will turn yellow. The plant might also be lacking in certain nutrients, like magnesium, nitrogen, or iron.
Turning brown leaves
Your caladium leaves may be turning brown for a variety of reasons, including:
The plant is overly dry.
Too much direct sunlight is shining on it.
There is not enough humidity in the air.
It's been overfertilized.
Is it simple to maintain caladiums?
Both indoors and outdoors, these plants require warmth and high humidity. Caladium will be simple to care for if it receives enough light and humidity.
How quickly does caladium expand?
Caladium grows more quickly both inside and outside the warmer the air and ground temperatures are. They are recognised as slow-growing plants, though.
What is the lifespan of caladium?
The plants can endure from season to season because they are perennials. However, they are visually appealing for about six months out of the year, from sprouting to dormancy.