Caladium plants are known for their large, paper-thin leaves that come in natural combinations of reds, greens and whites. With over a hundred varieties to choose from, these plants offer a bold splash of color to any shady spot in your garden or back yard, and can be grown successfully indoors as well. However, unlike other houseplants, Caladiums go dormant during the winter because they cannot withstand the cold, and sprout again in spring.
Keep the following tips in mind to enjoy big lush leaves of this plant.
Caladium is a tropical plant that loves a warm shady environment. Make sure you plant your caladiums in a well-lit area that has full to partial shade. The leaves are very delicate and may burn if exposed to direct sunlight.
If planting indoors, keep the container in a well-lit warm room or in front of a window but with a light curtain.
Caladiums grow well in a humid environment. A plant that is not provided moist air will begin to turn yellow and wilt. Caladiums thrive where the temperature is between 70 to 85 degrees F. Make sure you mist your caladium regularly, and use a humidifier if placing your caladium plant indoors.
Also remember to keep your container in a draft free area away from air conditioners and any doors and windows that open frequently. The thin leaves will die after exposure to fluctuations in temperature caused by drafts. Always shield your window with a transparent curtain when placing a container there.
Caladiums need warm, well-drained and moist soil to grow. Make sure you plant your caladiums outdoors in spring once the soil is warm; otherwise plant the bulbs indoors to transplant outdoors after the last frost. Mix moist peat with slightly acidic soil in containers.
Caladiums drink a lot of water, so make sure you keep the soil sufficiently moist during growing season. Water it enough so it runs out from the drainage holes. However, do not over water it either, since this is equally harmful.
Make sure you check your soil to ensure it has not dried up outside due to the heat of the summer. Dig your finger an inch of the soil and water your plant if it feels dry.
Regular feeding your caladiums is essential for their growth. Instead of applying fertilizer once every few months, it is advisable to give them little portions all through the summer. Feed the plants a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks, or a 6-6-6 fertilizer every 6 weeks.
The leaves of your plant will begin to die in early fall in preparation for their dormancy period. Take this as a cue to dig the bulbs from the soil, clean them and cover them in moss. Place them indoors in a dark room and water once a month. Repot the plant in early spring either outdoors and indoors and enjoy the brightly colored leaves for another season.
Caladiums do not attract any particular pests, but spray your plant with insecticide if the problem arises.