Caladiums are a plant with very spectacular leaves. This is a great indoor plant. Also a great outdoor plant with a little extra care. The main reason for its beauty is its colorful leaves. These leaves come in different textures and colors like white, red, green, and pink. You can keep this plant at home without lots of effort. It just needs a little care. Care of Caladiums is the key to a long and healthy life for this plant. In this article, you are also being given much other information related to Caladiums.
Caladiums Plant Background
Caladiums come from the Araceae family. This is a genus of flowering plants and they are perennials. Caladiums are well known by some other names like elephant ears, the heart of Jesus, and angel wings. These names are given to this plant mainly because of the shape of its leaves.
This plant is native to South America and Central America. They have been naturalized in many tropical islands all over the world. Their natural habitat is near riverbanks forests where the humidity stays very high.
|Basic needs:||Caladiums prefer humidity. This is the reason why they grow beautifully in spring and monsoon seasons when the humidity is much better. They go dormant in dry and cold months.|
|Repotting:||Spring is the perfect time to repotting them.|
|Protective Shield Advantage:||Their leaves are hydrophobic, from which water rolls down. This quality keeps them alive in the wet environment and acts as a kind of protective shield.|
|Rhizome:||Caladiums are tubers, not bulbs or corms. A tuber has many eyes that send out shoots and grow roots.|
|Leaf Types:||Caladiums have two main leaf types. The first is the Fancy Leaf variety, which looks heart-shaped. The other is the strap-leaf variety which has ground-shaped leaves and they are narrower and pointed like arrowheads.|
|Edibleness:||Caladiums are poisonous and should not be eaten by humans and animals. You should keep caladiums away from your children and pets. Caladiums sap contains calcium oxalate crystals and it can irritate sensitive skin.|
|Growth of Caladiums:||They grow well and average 10 to 35 inches tall if given the right conditions. Also, their leaves can be 6 to 18 inches long and wide. Let us tell you that the different varieties of Caladiums plants and their leaf shape will be slightly different from each other.|
Care of Caladiums Plant
There are thousands of varieties of Caladiums, and requirements may vary depending on the variety. The Caladiums you have may have slightly or very different demands than other Caladiums. They will perform better if you take care of them based on the variety you have. Let us know what things have to be considered in Care of Caladiums.
7 Important Factors Under Care of Caladiums
By the way, Caladiums do not require much care. But like all other plants, it also has some basic needs. We are telling you about 7 factors that play an important role under Care of Caladiums. Let’s see…
Watering is the most important part under the care of caladiums. They require regular watering. Caladiums should be watered regularly, depending on the type of area you live in and how fast the soil dries out there.
The leaves of these plants are hydrophobic and when water is poured on these leaves, the water rolls off the leaves. If you sprinkle water on the leaves, then the leaves including the plant will not get much benefit. For better results, you should give water to a pot or ground soil. (You can sprinkle water on the leaves to keep them looking clean and fresh, but this will not meet the plant’s water needs.)
Do not over-water it because ‘this plant likes water’. It is important to keep the soil moist, not wet. Wet soil will cause the plant tubers to rot. To maintain a water balance.
There is a method by which you can prevent the plant from sitting in water. Put some pebbles in a plate or vessel under the pot and keep the pot on it. Due to this the extra water coming out of the pot will come in the plate and because of the pebbles, the pot will not sit in the water. It is not necessary, but you can try it.
Similar to the above point, Humidity is another important factor under the care of caladiums. Caladiums thrive in very high humidity. This is the reason why they do well in the rainy season. So if you live in a coastal city, this plant is a great option for you. In other places where humidity is low or there are other difficult conditions, caladiums can also be grown provided their needs are met.
Several species of caladiums have been developed that do not require high humidity. On the other hand, if you want to plant any type of caladiums in your house, then keep the moisture around it and enjoy its beauty.
You can use misting which will temporarily add too much moisture around the plants. However, Caladiums leaves are hydrophobic so water falling on them will roll down. But it will help keep the environment around the plant moist on hot dry days.
If you have a lot of plants or you usually forget to water or you are too busy then it is advisable to plant Caladiums in plastic or glazed porcelain pots. This type of pot does not allow the soil to dry out faster than other types of pots.
3. Sunlight & Temperature
Many Caladiums varieties need light and they do well in full sun. Provide them with full sun if possible. On the other hand, they can also do well in indirect light or scorching sun.
Some of the delicate leaves of some varieties may scorch in direct harsh sunlight. In such a situation, if you keep it near the window inside the house, then you can let the light fall through a sheer screen. They need light so do not keep them in very low light conditions, otherwise, they will remain underdeveloped.
You will be able to see that Caladiums is a plant whose leaves look upwards. So it is better to keep it in such a place where all its leaves can get enough light. If the leaves get enough light, they will also be larger and have more clear patterns. In this way, it will flourish beautifully and will enhance the beauty of the house.
The ideal temperature for Caladiums is 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). Although they can survive even at a minimum temperature of 45°F, they do not develop properly. If the temperature is too cold or too hot than normal, they will simply go dormant and in some cases may even die.
For Caladiums a soil would be ideal that maintains a balance of two things. First, a well-draining loose soil that provides ample air to the tubers and roots of the plant. And second, soil that retains moisture for the plant. Again soil is a major factor in the care of caladiums.
Caladiums need good nutrient-rich soil, good drainage, and little moisture retention for optimum health and performance. You can use 20% compost, 20% pumice, 20% peat, and 40% cactus mix. You can tweak the quantities if you want and make the perfect blend that works for you.
Caladiums feed mainly on potash and phosphorus. If you prefer, you can use a slow-release fertilizer such as compost or vermicompost. Use a controlled-release fertilizer that is typically applied for six months.
It is best to fertilize your pots early in the season. You can also use a seaweed solution diluted in water or other liquid fertilizer once every 15 to 30 days.
It is very easy to over-fertilize them. In the case of Caladiums, less is always better as you may harm them instead of doing well. It is perfectly fine if you forget to fertilize occasionally. These plants will do well.
Under the care of stadiums, you should also take care of airflow. Otherwise, there is a risk of serious damage to the plant. Since high humidity is an essential element for Caladiums, direct airflow is not suitable for it. The reason for this is that the airflow displaces moisture.
In their natural habitat, Caladiums are found in forests and along river banks, where direct airflow affects them, but it also gets plenty of humidity in such an environment. On the other hand, Caladiums is also grown in open fields where it has to face strong sunlight in addition to direct wind. Yet they continue to flourish. This is possible because the growers who grow them meet their water and fertilizer needs well and keep them alive.
It is ideal to keep Caladiums planted in the house somehow protected from direct airflow. For this, you can block direct wind by placing plastic screens or sheets on the windows around the plant.
Alternatively, you can keep these plants in large boxes where the wind is blocked but other needs like lighting are met. You just need to be careful with fungal infections and you can use a systemic fungicide if you want.
7. Caladiums Pruning and Grooming
This plant doesn’t need to be pruned or groomed. You will need to pull out dead and rotten leaves occasionally. In the case of pruning, you do not need to do anything more than this.
A common characteristic of Caladiums is to go dormant and it would not be wrong to say that for many people this is a minus point of this plant. These plants become dormant for some time. If you see the leaves of the plant turning yellow and drying out, do not worry that the plant is dead. These plants become dormant when conditions are not favorable for them.
Such as low humidity or temperature too hot or too cold. The plant goes into a resting state and when the weather is right, it turns green (regenerates). The tubers survive during the dormant period. If you take care of caladiums during this period shoots will grow back when spring arrives. When its leaves start to die you have two options.
The first option is for busy people who want the easy way out as well as live in tropical locations with no frost. When the leaves die off, separate the pot and place it in a place where you can control the water. Water them only once a month to keep the tubers alive. Some of these tubers wake up around spring and some during the rainy season.
When you see sprouts in spring or rain, start watering and fertilize them regularly. After a few days, leaves will appear on them. Special care needs to be taken to keep dormant Caladiums plants separate from other plants. Because they will continue to get water along with other plants and their tubers may rot. Whereas to keep them alive and safe, water is needed only once a month.
The next option is to remove the tubers from the soil and store them to be planted again in the spring. These empty pots that have become dormant (in which the plant space is only soil and the tubers are present inside) may look a little ugly. For this, you can store these tubers out of the pot’s soil and store them well and when spring comes, you can plant them outside in the soil or the pot.
Storing The Caladiums Tubers
Storing them is straightforward. All you have to do is dig them out of the soil, wash them or you can apply a diluted fungicide as a preventative measure so that no rot or any fungus grows on them. After applying the fungicide, leave them to dry for some time. After that, use a net bag, a cloth bag, or a paper bag that has enough aeration but no moisture to store them.
Another way to store caladiums tubers is to store them in peat moss or sphagnum moss that is completely dry. The medium in which you are storing them should be completely dry to avoid rotting the tubers.
Now that you have stored them in your net bag or any other bag, then you keep them in a cupboard or any such place where there is no moisture of any kind. At the same time, you should also take care that the temperature should not be too hot or too cold, but be moderate.
Usually, you have to store them for a few months over the winter and when spring comes, you put them back in the pot and they will regrow.
Planting The Caladiums Tubers
When spring comes, take out the stored tubers or get new ones. On the other hand, take a fresh vessel and fill the soil mixture in it as mentioned above. Now give the tubers a little pit in that soil mixture and give them pulses. Make sure that the eyes of the tuber are facing upwards as the shoots will emerge from there and the roots will be from the bottom. If you plant them upside down they will grow but they will take a little longer to get out of the soil.
Don’t put the tubers too deep in the soil and add an inch or two of soil mix over them. If you want, you can also keep the eye on the surface of the soil (this will also work).
Another method can also be used for planting tubers. In this, the tuber is cut into two halves with a sharp knife from top to bottom with the eye as the center. Then the tuber is left to dry for a day or two so that the fresh wound dries up. Then it is planted in the potting mix. This method produces more shots than usual. Note that not many success stories have been found for this cutting method. So if you want, you can try it once, otherwise, the normal method is effective.
When a pot is filled with leaves, you can divide it. The division is the best way to propagate this plant as caladiums grow from tubers. You can easily divide them into pots and under the right conditions. They will multiply and fill a pot.
Keep in mind that there can be multiple eyes in the tube. A tube can have as many divisions as the eye will have in it. Plants sprout from these eyes.
Under the segmentation process, you have to split its tube. For cutting use a sharp clean sterile knife and cut the tuber and divide it into different parts. Then allow the freshly cut wounds to dry so that they harden before putting them in the soil. Add well-draining mix soil to a pot.
Then make a little bit in the soil and put the parts of those tubers in such a way that their eyes are facing upwards and cover it with one to two inches of soil. Then water well. Wait for them to germinate. Similarly, caladiums can also be grown from seed.