Some people know Caladium plants as a houseplant. Others recognize them as a colorful, leafy plant that brightens up the shady areas of their yard. Yet, few people are growing Caladiums for their flowers. However, the plants produce Caladium flowers in the summer. These plants are popular among home gardeners indoors and 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 its colorful leaves. The leaves come in a variety of combinations of green, white, pink, or red. It grows to its full height of 12″ to 30″ in one season. Caladium is perfectly comfortable in a pot or container, resulting in 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 the plants are toxic. See Poisonous Flowers
Flowers Bloom: Summer
Flower Colors: While Caladium plants are grown for their attractive foliage, they do produce flowers. Colors include green, pink, red, and white.
Plant height: 12 to 30 inches tall, depending upon variety.
Plant Hardiness Zones: 9 – 11
Perennial, Tacca Chantrieri
While people talk about Caladium “bulbs”, they are actually grown from a tuberous root. Plant new tuberous roots in the spring, 1.5 to 2 inches deep. The eyes should point up.
Dig up the tuberous roots, Next, clean and separate them. Make sure to have some buds, called “eyes”, on each divided section of root. Then, store the roots in dry soil, or sphagnum 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.
Tuberous Root Planting Depth: 1.5 to 2 inches deep.
Ideal Plant Spacing: 8 to 14 inches apart.
Grow Caladium plants in indirect sunlight to partial shade. Their colorful leaves make them a great addition to your shade garden.
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 starting the plants in individual containers. 4″ to 6″ peat pots work well for transplanting later, with minimal transplant shock.
Plant roots 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 temperature drops.
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 passed, and the soil has warmed.
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 leaves.
In the fall, dig up the roots for storage. The roots will survive over-wintering outdoors only in the warmest areas of the country.
Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.2
You should experience a few insect problems with your Caladium plants.