If you’re having trouble growing your caladiums, you aren’t providing your plants with the proper care.
Caladiums are known for their large leaves and bright colors. They grow rapidly, which means they can be planted in your garden and cared for immediately.
Follow this guide to learn how to grow and care for Caladiums.
- What Is Caladium?
- How To Propagate Caladiums?
- Caladium Care Guide
- Pests and Diseases Control
What Is Caladium?
Caladium, also considered an elephant ear plant, is a type of tropical houseplant that can bring color and beauty to your home. They’re often grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Most Caladium plants have large, heart-shaped leaves that come in various colors, such as white, red, and pink. The caladium leaves are its main attraction, although it also produces flowers.
All parts of the Caladium plant are poisonous if ingested. Keep out of reach of pets and children. Sap from the leaves or stems can also cause minor skin irritation.
Types of Caladium
Caladiums come in two groups, fancy leaf and lance leaf. Fancy leaf caladiums are the most popular. They have large, heart-shaped leaves that come in a variety of colors.
Lance leaf caladiums have long, narrow leaves that can grow quite large over time. They don’t produce many flowers and are typically grown as foliage plants.
The foliage of the caladium plant comes in many colors: green, red, pink, and white. Some of the more notable cultivars include:
- Watermelon Red: A red variety with heart-shaped leaves.
- Peppermint Stick: A white variety with purple veins and green leaves.
- Desert Sunset: The most popular variety of lance leaf caladium, dark green leaves with light purple margins.
How To Propagate Caladiums?
Caladiums are tuberous perennials; they grow from a fleshy underground rhizome. The tubers that form due to this growth are sometimes called bulbs because they look like bulbs of other plants.
You can propagate caladiums by dividing the tubers or planting new rhizomes you’ve purchased.
To divide your tubers, dig them up carefully with a spade and allow the cut ends to develop calluses before replanting them in fresh soil.
If you buy new rhizomes from a garden center, plant them immediately after purchase. You can grow the bulbs either outdoors or in a pot.
How To Plant Bulbs in a Pot?
When planting bulbs in a pot, you must first choose the right type of pot. Choose a container at least 10 inches deep with drainage holes in the bottom.
You can also use other containers, such as plastic or fiber pots, but they need drainage holes so that excess water can drain away from your plant.
Fill the pot with good-quality potting soil, then water thoroughly. Next, place the bulb(s) on top of the earth with their eyes facing upward; this is where roots will develop.
Once you’ve done this, cover them with soil and water thoroughly. But don’t overwater again until the plant is established.
How To Plant Bulbs in the Ground?
To plant bulbs in the ground, start digging a hole about four times as deep as the tall bulb.
Next, place your bulb in the hole with its eyes facing upward and cover it with soil. If you are planting in the fall, add a layer of mulch to help insulate and protect your bulbs.
You can add some fertilizer if you wish, but it isn’t necessary. If you plant in the spring, water your bulbs thoroughly and then wait for them to sprout new shoots and leaves before mulching or adding fertilizer.
When you plant your Caladium bulbs, the ideal soil temperature should be between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 Celcius). Plant your Caladium bulbs when the temperature is just right, and you’ll be rewarded with wildly colorful leaves.
Caladium Care Guide
These striking plants fill many gardeners’ summer days with vivid flowers and graceful leaves.
Gardeners cut off the spectacular spikes as soon as they appear, so all of a plant’s energies are used for its gorgeous leaves.
Caladiums grow best when they have plenty of indirect light and humidity. However, even under the best conditions, their leaves die and become dormant after a few months — which is normal.
Here are essential factors to consider to care for caladiums in your garden.
Factor #1: Light
Choose a location with bright indirect light, such as a spot near a north window, to place your Caladium. The narrower the leaves, the more light they need.
When grown outdoors, the leaves of this plant are especially susceptible to sun damage. It’s best when planted in a spot with partial or complete shade. If you grow it in full sun, its leaves will burn and turn yellow.
Factor #2: Soil
Plant caladium tubers in rich, well-drained garden soil or potting mix containing peat.
The soil should be slightly acidic and moist but not soggy.
Factor #3: Humidity
Caladiums prefer a humid environment; otherwise, their leaves will dry out and die prematurely.
If you’re growing caladiums in container baskets, place these on trays filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity around your plants.
Factor #4: Fertilizer
To keep your plant healthy, fertilize it with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season or use slow-release pellets.
Pests and Diseases Control
Caterpillars and grasshoppers are common pests. Protect your plants from them by using an organic spray that contains neem oil or pyrethrin.
Nematodes can cause root damage, so avoid planting caladiums in areas where these microscopic worms are common.
Other pests, such as aphids and spider mites, can be removed with insecticidal soaps.
Common Problems and Solutions for Caladium Plant
Caladiums are relatively easy to care for. They don’t require much attention and are generally pest-free, but they have some problems that can be prevented or cured with proper care.
If you notice any of these common issues on your plant, take the appropriate action.
Problem #1: Yellow Leaves
This is usually caused by too much sun or not enough water. Move it to a shadier spot and ensure it doesn’t dry out between watering sessions.
You can also try using a liquid fertilizer to help your plant grow more quickly and increase its resistance to the sun.
Problem #2: Brown Spots on Leaves
Brown spots are caused by overwatering or underwatering, which can be challenging to tell apart from each other.
If you notice that your leaves are wilting slightly and then turning brown as they dry out, this means that you’re watering too much or too often.
Problem #4: Droopy Leaves
This is usually caused by too much sun or not enough water.
Move it to a shadier spot and ensure it doesn’t dry out between watering sessions.
Problem #5: Red Leaves
This is a sign of over-watering or root rot. Don’t water as often, and make sure the soil drains well.
Problem #6: Yellowing Leaves With Brown Spots
These are probably caused by spider mites, which can be hard to eliminate without an insecticide.
Caladiums thrive in rich, well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist.
Mulch can help retain moisture and control weeds; regular fertilizing keeps them thriving.