What are Caladiums and how are they grown? Caladiums are tropical plants which are grown for the sake of their large, ornamental leaves. Find facts and information on caladiums and how to care for them.
Caladium Facts and Information
They are natives of South America, and belong to the Arum family, Araceae. The leaves, which develop annually from tubers, are heart-shaped and richly colored. The leaves are usually curled up when they first appear above the soil. As they grow, these leaves will uncurl and develop into gorgeous leaves
What I like most about caladiums is that they grow in the shade. Caladiums can be planted in your yard or garden in early spring. You will find that there are not many plants that will tolerate shade. There are so many varieties and colors. My favorite ones are the pink and green mixed ones. They come in shades of pink, orangish pink, and white. These three color combinations are varied and mixed in many varieties, which makes them so appealing.
The plant varies in sizes, but usually grown from 6 in. to 2 ft. Tall. If you should have one to flower for you, it is of minor importance. The ones that I have purchased have never flowered so, don’t expect to see any.
Conditions for Growing Caladiums
Caladiums can be started in pots before the outdoor growing season begins in spring, or you can wait until the weather warms and plant them directly in the ground. If you have a potting bench, you should have a wonderful surface to work on. Potting benches are great for potting and re-potting plants of this sort. Your soil and pots can e stored in place and easily cleaned up. I love my potting bench and you will too. Planting caladiums is very easy,even for the novice gardner.
Caladiums require a warm, moist atmosphere. The minimum indoor temperature should be 75 degrees during the summer and 55 degrees in the winter. They can be started inside into growth around February to March. They can then be transferred to a flat of peat moss or leaf mold and then later put into individual 4 in.pots. Then they can be placed into your yard or garden. The ideal potting mix or compost would consist of loam, two parts, and equal parts of peat, leaf mold and dried cow manure. They only require fertilizing every every 6 weeks.
When you plant the caladiums outdoors, in your yard or garden, be sure to keep them warm and moist, and shaded from the hot sun. Caladiums make good container plants to set out on patios and decks. The tubers should be planted 2 in. Deep and 8-12 in. apart when you are planting them outdoors. If you happen to buy a pot of caladiums at the store, you can divide them by getting them out of the pot and gently pulling apart and separating them into 2 or 3 parts, depending on the size of the clump of tubers that you have.
They should be planted out of range of strong winds, and can be planted as soon as the weather is warm. In the winter as stated above, you can start them indoors about 8 weeks before planting time. During the growing season you will need to keep them moist and shaded.
*Tip- Caladiums should be dug up in colder climates and stored through the winter months.
Propagation of Caladiums
Tubers can be divided in spring. Cut portions that include an 'eye,' or bud. Dust with fungicide, then plant, water, and mulch.
Pests and Diseases of Caladiums include: tuber rot, Southern blight, and bacterial and fungal leaf spots. Pests include root-knot nematodes, slugs, and snails.
Related Species: 'Little Miss Muffet' is 12" tall and has green leaves with red veins and speckles. 'Pink Beauty' has red veins and pink-speckled margins, and 'White Queen' has white leaves with red veins and green margins. 'Florida Beauty' and 'Florida Carnival' are sun tolerant.