How to Grow Caladium Plants
Some people know Caladiums as a houseplant. Others recognize Caladiums as
a colorful, leafy plant that brightens up the shady areas of their yard.
However you recognize them, these plants are popular among home gardeners
indoors or out.
Growing Caladium plants is easy. They are tropical plants, native to the
Amazon river area of Brazil. So, it's no surprise that these plants love
a warm, shady, humid environment. Caladium is grown as an ornamental plant
for it's colorful leaves. The leaves come in a variety of combinations of
green, with white, pink or red. It grows to it's full height of 12"
to 30" in one season. Caladium are perfectly comfortable in a pot or container,
resulting a a very popular houseplant or deck plant.
Did you know? While it is native to Brazil, Lake Placid, Florida claims
to be the Caladium capital of the world. Nurseries in this area grow a wide
range of Caladiums on thousands of acres.
Poisonous Plant: All parts of Caladium plants are toxic.
See Poisonous Flowers
While people talk about Caladium "bulbs", they are really grown from a tuberous
root. In the fall, the tuberous roots are dug up, cleaned and separated.
Make sure to have some buds on each divided section of root. Store the
roots in dry soil, or spaghnum moss in a dry, dark location until ready
to use next spring. Storage temperatures should be at least 40 degrees.
The largest tubers will produce the largest plants. Many people prefer to
start with new roots each year. Many home gardeners find the roots produced
by their plants are smaller, and turn to commercial growers who know how
to produce the biggest roots for the best plants.
How to Grow Caladium:
It's best to give your Caladium plants a head start. Roots can be started
indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. We recommend individual containers.
4" to 6" peat pots work well for transplanting later, with minimal transplant
Plant roots, round side up, 1 1/2"- 2" deep, in rich starter soil, peat moss,
or vermiculite. Roots should have a few buds on them. Water well the first
time, then keep the soil moist. The plant needs warm soil to sprout.
If planting as an indoor houseplant, plant roots directly into the container
they will grow in.
The plants are susceptible to drafts and sudden drops in temperature.
Tip: To promote more leaves, remove the largest bud in the center
of the root.
Being native to the tropics, Caladium does not like cold weather. Wait to
transplant them outdoors until all danger of frost has past, and the soil
Select a location that is shady, or does not receive direct sunlight. Caladium
likes rich soil. The soil needs to be kept moist, but should be well draining.
If the soil is poor, add generous amounts of compost and manure.
Caladium grows well with little care or attention. Fertilize outdoors once
a month with a general purpose fertilizer. Indoors, use a liquid fertilizer
every couple of weeks. During the growing period, remove any dead or damaged
In the fall, dig up the roots for storage. The roots will survive
over-wintering outdoors only in the warmest areas of the country.
Insects and Disease:
You should experience few problems with your caladium. Use insecticide or
fungicide only if a problem occurs.