Caladiums are very popular plants because they have very attractive and colorful leaves that can be exceedingly ornamental. These plants love the shade and will bring a touch of color to all the shaded areas in your garden.
They are relatively hardy plants and rather elementary to culture. They are suited either to be grown in your garden or can also be grown indoors as a house plant.
These plants are native to the Amazon region in Brazil and thus are tropical in nature, doing exceedingly well in a warm, wet, and shady environment.
The leaves are truly very colorful, and in different varieties combine their basic green color with red, pink or white. These plants grow extremely fast and can shoot up to a maximum height of between one to almost three feet in a single season.
A great many of these plants are grown in the USA, especially around Lake Placid in Florida where Caladiums are grown over thousands of acres of land for the purpose of selling all across America.
As Caladiums are a tropical plant, you will generally be more successful growing them in some form of container that you can carry indoors in cold weather.
This is a very hardy plant and should give you very little trouble otherwise. You can keep it outside so long as the weather remains warm, but be certain to rush it indoors at the first hint of cold.
As the original environment is the Amazon where the soil is rich with decaying organic matter, these plants tend to thrive best if you can manage to replicate this environment. Make sure that the soil is rich, always moist and very well drained and these plants will grow beautifully.
Caring for Caladiums
The Caladium plant is grown from a tuber. The size of the plant is dependent upon the size of the tuber and is relative to it.
There is a lot of demand for commercial plants of this kind because many gardeners find that plants grown themselves from scratch generally tend to form smaller tubers and to be smaller in size, whereas those grown commercially are cultured by people with vast experience in producing Caladium bulbs and therefore much larger plants.
Of course, if you are a dedicated gardener who takes pride in the kind of plants you can culture, you can choose to experiment. Over time you will undoubtedly either match, or come close to, the kind of larger plants cultured commercially.
However, if you are like most home owners, you will probably choose to buy a big beautiful plant ready made.
Start out growing these plants indoors early in the year, putting the roots in at the rate of one to a pot, and keeping them indoors for about six weeks before the end of the cold.
These pots should be from four to six inches in diameter. The roots should be planted with the round side up and about between one and a half inches to two inches deep.
The soil you use should be very rich – use starter soil, vermiculite, or even peat moss. Make sure that the roots have already put out a few buds before you plant them.
And remember that these are tropical plants and therefore will not like the cold. Keep the soil warm and moist if you want them to prosper.
Fertilize them when they are outdoors once a month, and when the plants are indoors they need a liquid fertilizer around twice a month.
Caladiums are grown for their leaves of varying colors and their striking veins. They do however, produce pink flowers. The leaves are pink, white, green red and a combination of all the above.
These plants grow to about 12 inches tall. While they do very well in a shade garden they lend themselves to container gardening as well. A rich, moist well drained soil will promote beautiful and healthy plants.
Plant in the spring when night time temperatures are above 60 degrees. The tubers will have to be dug up before the first frost except in zone 10 or higher. Propagate in Spring by division.
There are dozens of varieties of this shade area loving plant to choose from. Many shapes, sizes, colors and splotches to have fun with.