Everything You Need to Know About Caladium Care, Indoors or Out!
Caladiums are taking the design world by storm! These spectacular exotic plants have the most fascinating colors and details throughout their foliage. Some are speckled, others are striped, and some look like slices of juicy pink watermelon with bright green trim. Every leaf is a work of art! If you’d like to grow Caladiums as houseplants or outdoors in the garden, follow this care guide to learn how to keep these tropical dynamos looking fresh and vibrant.
Caladium Plant Care Indoors
While Caladiums can be grown indoors and outdoors in California, their care requirements as a houseplant are atypical. Here’s what to expect when you grow them indoors!
Like many other tropical plants, Caladiums don’t like when direct sunbeams hit their foliage because, in their natural habitat, they’re under the shade of a jungle canopy. Bright, indirect light will provide the best results, so a North or East-facing window is a great spot. Alternatively, a super sunny window with a sheer curtain will soften the intensity of the sunlight.
One thing to know about Caladiums is that their foliage will die back every winter once they sense the daylengths are diminishing. However, their active growing season tends to last a bit longer indoors than when they’re outside in the garden. Wait until the leaves are completely dry, then cut them all off with clean shears. You can either leave the remaining tubers in the soil or dig them up, brush off the soil and store them dry in a sealed plastic bag full of peat moss. In the spring, you can replant them, and their growth cycle will begin again.
Once weekly watering should suffice for indoor Caladiums—just wait until the soil is dry to the touch. When your plant is dormant in winter, if you’re keeping the tubers in the soil, stop watering and let them stay dry until spring. Caladiums also require humidity, so it helps to plug in a small humidifier near your plant, spritz it regularly with a spray bottle on a mist setting, or place it on a small tray of pebbles filled with a half-inch of water. Avoid placing your Caladium near any vents—they blow dry air, which will dehydrate your plant.
A high-quality all-purpose organic potting mix will work great for caladiums, but you’ll want to fertilize them regularly from April to September. Don’t fertilize in fall or winter—this will disrupt its growth cycle. Those tubers need to rest for several months to ensure the next flush of growth will be as big and bright as possible!
Growing Caladiums Outdoors
Caladiums make great garden plants in bedding or container arrangements. Their wild colors and patterns bring bold contrast and attitude to the scenery.
Since they don’t like intense direct sunlight, you’ll need to plan where you plant your Caladiums. Here are some options:
- Underneath a leafy tree canopy
- Near a North-facing wall or fence
- Near an East-facing wall or fence, where the plant will receive some gentle morning light but won’t suffer the intense afternoon sun
- In a container on a shaded patio
If your Caladium’s leaves start to get brown and crispy even with frequent watering, it may be getting too much sun. Move containers to a different location, or dig up your plant from the garden bed and find a spot with more shade.
Water and Soil
Container-grown outdoor Caladiums may need to be watered every day during peak summer temperatures; if they’re in a garden bed, you can water them less often if you spread a layer of mulch across the soil surface. Fertilize monthly from April until September, and when the foliage has died down, cut it off. If the area is not too wet, you can leave the tubers in the soil over the winter because our temperatures are mild, but some gardeners like to dig them up and store them in a bag full of peat moss until it’s time to replant.