Growing caladiums is easy with proper caladium care. These tropical-looking plants are commonly grown for their multicolored leaves, which can be green, white, red, or pink. Caladiums can be grown in containers or crammed together in beds and borders. There are numerous types of caladiums, found in either the fancy or the strap-leaved variety. All of these can make a dramatic statement in the landscape. How to Plant Caladiums Caladiums can be purchased as pot plants or dormant bulbs. Their size depends on the variety. Most often, each tuber has one large bud, often surrounded by smaller ones. To make these smaller buds easier to grow after planting caladium bulbs, many gardeners find it helpful to pry out the large buds with a knife. This is of course a matter for the individual and will not affect the overall growth of your caladiums.
Planting caladium bulbs requires little effort. They can be planted straight into the garden in spring or started indoors four to six weeks before the average frost date. Soil temperature is an important consideration, as planting outdoors too early can cause the tubers to rot.
These plants thrive in moist, well-drained soil and are generally happier in partial shade. When planting caladiums, you should plant them about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) deep and 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) apart. If you’re growing caladiums indoors, keep them in a warm room with plenty of light until outside temperatures are warm enough to transplant. Caladium corms should be planted about 1 to 2 inches deep with the buds or eye buds pointing upwards. While this is sometimes difficult to tell apart with some varieties, those planted upside down will still emerge, just more slowly. Caladium Plant Care The most important factors in caladium care are moisture and fertilization. Fertilizer helps strengthen the plants to produce sufficient bulbs for the following growing season.
Caladiums need to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. In fact, it is recommended to water them weekly. Caladiums grown in containers should be checked daily and watered as needed. Applying mulch around caladium plants helps conserve and maintain moisture, even in containers. Because caladiums are considered tender perennials, they need to be dug up in the fall and stored indoors over the winter in cold climates. As soon as their foliage turns yellow and falls over, caladiums can be carefully lifted off the ground. Place the plants in a warm, dry place to dry out for at least a few weeks. Then cut off the foliage, place the tubers in a mesh bag or box and cover with dry peat moss. Store the tubers in a cool, dry place. Once spring returns, you can transplant outdoors. If you grow caladiums in containers, they can be overwintered indoors.