Caladium plants are popular because of their large heart-shaped leaves that come in combinations of whites, reds, pinks, and greens. These can be planted with other flowers or alone to make a bold statement or even a groundcover. Native to the Amazon River in Brazil, caladiums love a warm, shady environment and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. These can reach a height of 14 to 30 inches in one season.
While it is referred to as a bulb, you will actually be planting a tuberous root. Follow these steps to successfully grow a caladium in a container.
Step 1 - Select Your Container
Select a container that is 4 to 6 inches deep to house your caladium bulb and provide sufficient room for the roots to grow. You can choose between terracotta, clay, ceramic, or plastic pots, but make sure the container has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom to prevent rot.
Step 2 - Plant the Bulb
Your caladium will thrive in rich soil that drains well. Fill your container with rich starter soil, vermiculite, or peat moss. Plant the tuberous roots with its round side upwards about 2 inches deep in the soil and cover with potting medium. The roots should have a few buds on them.
Step 3 - Water the Container Frequently
Frequent watering is essential to ensure moist soil. You will notice your plant wilting or turning yellow if the soil is allowed to dry for long periods at a stretch. Water enough so that it seeps out of the drainage holes.
Dig your finger an inch into the container soil to see if the soil is moist. If the soil feels dry, you should immediately water your plant.
Step 4 - Select a Suitable Location For the Container
Place your container in a well-lit, warm room. Avoid letting direct sunlight touch the thin leaves; for best results, place your container on the patio or porch in a shady location.
Caladium does not react well to cold weather, so avoid taking your container outdoors until the danger of frost has passed.
Step 5 - Care for Your Caladium
Fertilize your caladium plant every month with a liquid container to ensure healthy and colorful foliage.
Pruning is not necessary, but you should remove dead or damaged leaves during the growing season to make your plant look neat.
Frequently mist the leaves of your plant with water to provide them some humidity.
Step 6 - After the Growing Season
Insects and pests should not be a problem, but you can apply a mild insecticide if the need arises.
Your caladium plant will go into dormancy in the fall season when the leaves die back. Dig the roots, clean them, and store them in sphagnum moss in a dark, dry location. Your caladium will be ready to grow again once spring arrives.