Plant-o-Pedia: Caladiums

Caladiums Plant stand

Photo: Danae Horst for The Jungalow

A plant you might recognize from yesterday's post, Caladiums are a show stopper- with vibrant foliage in a wide range of patterns: from vivid venation; to speckles; all the way to nearly solid leaves in deep shades of red, pink, green, and even purple. Unlike many of the plants we've had in the Plant-o-Pedia lately, Caladiums can be very tricky, especially when grown as indoor plants. Never fear though- today, as always, we'll break down proper care to keep these patternful plants happy in your Jungalow!

Caladiums Pink Room

Photo: Dabito for The Jungalow

GET THE GREEN:  Angel Wings/Elephant Ears/etc (Caladium hortulanem/bi-color 1000+ cultivars)

WATER: Soil must be kept moist, but not soggy, at all times. Water whenever the top of the soil feels dry. Fill pot with water until it runs out the drainage holes, allow to drain a bit, then run more through. Empty saucer or cache pot of any excess water to prevent root rot. Be careful not to splash water on the leaves when watering, which can cause spots.

SUNLIGHT: Bright to medium indirect light. Avoid direct sun, though some cultivars are full sun tolerant.

PLACEMENT: Caladiums thrive in warm climates, so do what you can to simulate that. Ensure the average temp is at least 65°F, and avoid placing them near air conditioners or heat vents. Because they do best with humidity, keep Caladiums in humid spots like the bathroom, or group them with other plants to raise humidity levels. A pebble tray may work as well- fill a saucer large enough to hold the plant(s) with pebbles, and a little bit of water. Keep the water level below the bottom of the pot to prevent root rot.

EXTRA CREDIT: If you've been taking proper care of your Caladium and the leaves start to dry up and flop down, don't worry. Caladiums grow from a tuber, which needs a period of rest each year. Once all the leaves have died off, remove them from the tuber (avoid cutting into the tuber, which can attract pests), then winter the tubers somewhere warm. You can leave the tubers in their pot, somewhere at least 60°F, and water sparingly about once a month. Or, remove them, let them dry out, and store somewhere warm and moderately dry for the winter. You can re-plant in the spring and have Caladiums year after year!

WORD OF CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, Caladiums are toxic to cats and dogs. They are also toxic to humans.



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