How to Grow and Care for Caladium Plants
The Caladium is a frost tender, perennial tuber which is grown for its colorful foliage rather than flowers.
The leaves are usually a combination of different shades of red, pink, green, white.
Growing Requirements for Caladium Plants
Caladiums are easy to grow plants, but they tend to be fussy about their growing conditions.
Primarily, they like heat, plenty of moisture and relatively high humidity.
Most varieties of Caladium prefer to grow in a partially shaded area of the garden,
but will tolerate morning sun. Caladiums are hardy in USDA zones 10-11.
In warm, frost free climates, Caladiums can be planted directly in the garden where they can be left permanently. In cool regions they should be potted and started indoors.
When the soil temperatures rises to 70 degrees, move the plant directly into the garden.
An alternative method is to sink the pot up to the rim in the garden for easy removal prior to the first frost.
Caladiums can also be grown in containers, as house plants.
In the house, keep them in a bright (not sunny) location, or grow them under artificial 'Grow Lights'.
How to Plant Caladium Tubers
The knobby side of Caladium tuber should be planted upward.
The leaves emerge from the eyes (knobs) and the roots grow from the top of the tuber.
(Don't worry if you planted the tuber upside down, Caladiums will orient themselves
and grow to the surface anyway, but they will take a little longer to show)
Plant the tuber in rich, well draining soil so that the top of it is two inches below the surface.
Provide plenty of water and warmth, and the sprouts will begin to emerge in 4-6 weeks.
Feed lightly every 6 weeks when actively growing, using a liquid 6-6-6 fertilizer.
In cool regions, Caladium tubers should be dug before the first frost.
When night time temperatures start to drop near 50 degrees, cut back on watering to allow the leaves to dry up and fall off naturally.
If necessary, the leaves can also be removed by cutting them off 1/2 inch from the tuber.
Store the tubers in a flat of peat moss or vermiculite in a warm, well ventilated area.
Check periodically for softness or rot and discard any bad tubers.
If the bulbs begin to shrivel, add a very small amount of water to the storage medium. Replant them again in the spring.
Caladium tubers can be cut with a sterile knife to produce new plants.
For best results, each cutting should contain at least two 'eyes'.
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