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How to Grow Caladiums

Caladium is an ornamental plant, popular for it's colorful leaves. They are shade lovers, and brighten up the shady areas of your yard. Caladiums also make great indoor houseplants. Indoors or out, they are easy to grow.

Caladium are tropical plants, native to the Amazon river area of Brazil. The plants thrive in a warm, shady, humid environment. The leaves come in a variety of combinations of green, with white, pink or red. The plants grow to a height of 12" to 30" in one season.

Lake Placid, Florida claims to be the Caladium capital of the world. Thousands of acres of Caladium are grown in nurseries in this area for sale in the U.S. market.

Try growing Caladium in a pot or container on your patio or deck. As cool weather arrives, move them indoors for the winter.

How to Grow Caladium

Caladium are grown from a tuberous root. The larger the tuber, the larger the plant. Many people prefer to start with new roots each year. Many home gardeners find the roots produced by their plants are smaller, and turn to commercial growers, who know how to produce the biggest roots for the best plants.

We recommend  an early, indoor start for your Caladium plants. Plant roots in individual containers indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. Use 4" to 6" peat pots to make transplanting easier, and to minimize transplant shock.

Plant roots, round side up, 1 1/2"- 2" deep, in rich starter soil, peat moss, or vermiculite. Roots should have a few buds on them. Keep the soil moist and warm. They will not sprout in cold soil.

Caladium does not like cold weather. Transplant them outdoors until all danger of frost has past, and the soil has warmed.

Select a location that is shady, or does not receive direct sunlight. Caladium likes rich soil. The soil needs to be kept moist, but should be well draining. If the soil is poor, add generous amounts of compost and manure.

Fertilize outdoors once a month with a general purpose fertilizer. Indoors, use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Prune dead or damaged leaves.

Roots survive over-wintering outdoors only in the warmest areas of the country. In the fall, dig up the tuberous roots. Clean and separate them. Make sure to have some buds on each divided section. Store roots in spaghnum moss in a dry, dark location.

Insect and disease problems are infrequent. Use insecticide or fungicide only if a problem occurs.

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