Caladium 101: How to plant and care for Caladium

Source: Pixabay

Hello again dear friends, and welcome back to the temple of healthy plants and colorful flowers. If you’re on this article, it means that you’ve been looking for a “how to” guide to plant Caladium. Well, search no more, you’re in the right place!

Caladiums ( also known as elephant ears) are a good choice if you want to turn your garden into a colorful, exotic show of beautiful and strange plants. Caladiums are the plants of the eccentrics, which is why I have pots of them everywhere in my apartment (I like to think of myself as an eccentric person). Their big, showy leaves are heart shaped (my favorite shape, really) with amazing color combinations of red, green, pink, and white. Being exotic, those plants thrive in a hot and humid weather, and love being put in partial shade.

Caladium rarely flower, but, I believe this won’t be a problem, since their beautiful leaves are already colorful enough and will definitely turn your garden into an exotic (I used this word way to much in those first three paragraphs, I need to stop) space.

Planting Caladium: where, when, and how?

Source: Pixabay

If properly planted, Caladiums will be a treat to take care of. These beautiful, colorful plants can be grown in containers or clumped together within beds. They can be purchased potted or as dormant tubers, either way is good and easy to plant. But before tackling planting, let’s first talk (or, if we’re technical, I will write and you will read) the matter of where and when Caladium should be planted.

Where to plant Caladium

First of all, make sure your soil is well drained if you want your Caladiums to thrive and grow healthy. If after a good rain, you see that an area is puddled, then it’s probably not the best place to plant Caladium. Instead, go with an area with a better drainage, after all, you want to keep your Caladiums hydrated, but not soaked in water (which might results in problems such as your caladium’s roots rotting and dying).

Source: Pixabay

Another important thing is to choose a spot that’s shady (not will-marry-you-steal-all-your-money-and-disappear shady but will-help-your-plants-grow-healthily shady), with little to no sun. Your Caladiums will grow best in full or partial shades, but still, in some areas, they can tolerate the sun, however, they should be watered accordingly to that and their leaves should be shielded during the hottest parts of the day.

When to plant Caladium

Now that you have the perfect spot to plant your future Caladiums, you might be wondering about, when exactly, you should plant them.

Source: Pixabay

Since they’re tropical (yey, found another word besides “exotic”) plants that like hot weather and warm soils, which is why if you plant your tubers or potted Caladium is cold soil, you might end up with your plants not growing (or worst, dead). This is why we suggest to wait until the nights are warm to plant them. This is why the best time to plant Caladium is during spring, after the last frost.

How to plant Caladium

Yey! We’re finally tackling the real deal, planting Caladium! Now that you have chosen the right spot and that the last frost is gone, you can plant your Caladium. But how? You might ask. Well, friends, you came to the right place!

Source: Flickr

Here’s your answer:

If you look at your Caladium bulbs closely, you’ll see that they have two sides: a smooth bottom side, and a knobby top side where the growing points are. Though they will grow no matter which way you plant them, it is better to plant them with the top side up for a shorter sprouting time!

You should plant your bulbs deep, enough to be covered by at least 2 inches of soil, after that, water them as needed. And of course, don’t forget mulching, it makes your plant happier and preserves the soil’s moisture.

Caring for Caladiums

Now that you have planted Caladiums, you will have to care for them! As I wrote earlier, caring for Caladiums will be pretty easy if they’re planted properly. Since I believe you followed my tips about planting, then your Caladiums are probably happy, and waiting to be fed and given love.


Source: Flickr

Here’s what you need to know!

Watering Caladiums

You need to water your Caladiums on a regular basis, especially when the weather is dry, which is why you should water them weekly. But if you’re growing Caladiums in pots or containers, then they might need more watering. So make sure to check on them daily and water them as needed. Don’t forget to apply mulch either, since it helps keeping your Caladiums hydrated, even the ones grown in containers.

Fertilizing Caladiums

You should use a slow release fertilizer to feed your Caladiums, or you can also use a 6-6-6 once a month to feed your plants.

In the end…

What you must remember is that plants, like humans and animals, are living creatures, which is why they need care and food to grow strong and beautiful. So, don’t forget about your plants, water them, feed them, and give them love!