Caladio - Caladium

The Caladio

Caladium is a plant native to the tropical forests of South America, especially Brazil but has been present in Europe for a long time where many hybrids have also been created, born from crosses of various species. It is a perennial plant grown mainly indoors for decorative purposes thanks to the beauty of the leaves but also in the greenhouse.

The caladium it is a very decorative plant: it is particularly appreciated for its colorful, large and peculiarly shaped leaves. Unfortunately, being a tropical plant, it is not easy to grow because it prefers mild temperatures and a high humidity level. It can be used permanently to decorate interiors or inserted in the garden, in flower beds or borders, but only during the summer.

The colors of the leaves of the Caladium are spectacular and always different, we see them when we enter a nursery, of great effect that immediately attract the interest and admiration of those with good taste, they are very variegated, they can have the center of the red leaf with green, green and white outlines with green streaks or green with red or pink spots, in short, there is something for everyone.

The genus Caladio includes about fifteen species of perennial plants, with deciduous leaves and having the characteristic of suspending their productivity during the winter period. The Caladio needs a warm climate, to be positioned in a bright area and in a well-ventilated environment; the ideal temperature is about twenty-twenty-two degrees and it would be advisable never to expose it to values ​​below ten degrees. Frosts and too cold temperatures kill the Caladium.

The characteristic of this plant is that it does not have a stem but has a rhizome from which the leaves develop, they have the shape of a heart or a spear, they are very large and ornamental thanks to the magnificent shades. The leaves have small ones that can reach a length of about sixty centimeters.

The flowering period of the Caladium is towards the end of summer, the flowers are small, fragrant and white or green, with a spathe, that is, a large bract that surrounds flowers and inflorescences, larger than the spadix; it is precisely this spathe that colored part that makes this plant so beautiful. The fruits of Caladium are berries of a more or less white color.

In Florida but in any case in areas with an optimal tropical or subtropical climate, the Caladium is used to decorate and adorn vast tree-lined areas or positioned near water basins.

The hybrids that we find on the market are almost all deriving from Caladium Bicolor.

Caladium is a very poisonous plant, so be careful to grow this plant indoors if you have children or pets.


The genus consists of about fifteen species but, given its success as a greenhouse or house plant, today a large number of hybrids and interesting cultivars are available due to the different sizes and colors of the foliage.

The Caladium bicolor it is 30 cm to 1 m high and has colorful leaves, in all shades and color combinations.

The so-called Caladium hortulanum is a very common interspecific hybrid on the market. It is smaller in size than the previous one (maximum 40 cm) and with rounded leaves, similar to hearts. Also in this case the colors are many. We report some interesting cultivars: Bombshell (pink leaves with green border), Modern Art (green, speckled with white and red), Raspberry moon (silver with red spots), Summer Breeze (silver with fuchsia ribs), Candidum (silver with green veins), Carolyn Worthon (pink with green and white edges); Fannie Munson (antique pink with green edges).

As previously mentioned there are numerous species of Caladium, here are some of them:

Caladium Bicolor: most of the hybrids that we find on the market derive from this species; it is native to western India, Guyana and Brazil. It can reach a height of forty centimeters and a diameter of thirty.

The green leaves tinged with white or red or other colors depending on the variety, the most common are: Alcibiades, with green leaves and red veins and silvery-white spots. Argyrospilum, has green leaves with white and red spots.

Barriquinii: this variety has very long leaves that can reach eighty centimeters, they are dark red with brighter red veins. John Peel: This variety has leaves with a lot of red veins. Pictum: has green leaves flecked with white.

Caladium X Hortolanum: the leaves of this species are very thin and can have different colors depending on the variety.

Caladium Humboldtii: this species has small leaves like the plant itself.

Caladium Picturatum: the leaves have white veins and can change color depending on the variety.

Caladium Steudnerifolium: the origin of this species is Colombia, the leaves are heart-shaped, green with white streaks.

Caladium Schomburgkii: the leaves of this species are heart-shaped and have red-white veins.

Family, genus, speciesAraceae, Caladium, 12 species
Type of plantPlant with decorative leaves, for greenhouses or apartments
IrrigationRead to frequent
fertilizationsEvery 15 days, for green plants
Minimum temperature13 ° C
Ideal temperature20-25 ° C
Place of cultivationCold or temperate greenhouse
ExposureNot very bright (West exposure)
Ambient humidityHigh: about 70%
ContainerVase or raft
SubstrateBark, coconut and palm fibers, a little peat
HeightUp to 50 cm
Flowerson stems, up to 10
ColorsWhite, pink, orange, lilac, red, brown
PerfumeVery fragrant

Soil and Cultivation Techniques

The Caladium is repotted every year, the most suitable soil is composed of acid reaction peat and sand that favors the drainage of excess water. The winter temperature when the tubers are resting must be fifteen to sixteen large until March, when instead they will resume the vegetation cycle of about twenty-one-twenty-four degrees, a good brightness but not direct sun.

The rhizomes should be planted in March in a consistently humid peat and moss compound, the optimum temperature in this period must be very high and they will be watered twice a day, when they begin to develop they will need to be transplanted into larger pots with peat.

It is possible to grow Caladium even in the open ground, the important thing is that there is a warm climate with minimum night temperatures of about fifteen degrees. If grown in the open ground, the planting operation will lead to aging and the progressive deterioration of the leaves around September-October. If you decide to form Caladio flower beds in the garden or in other places, it is advisable to bury the pot grown in a greenhouse at the beginning of the summer season. Remember that this type of plant should never be exposed to too low temperatures because the leaves would gradually weaken and wither. However, it is advisable to grow Caladium in the ground only in areas with a very hot climate, as this plant is native to tropical areas.

As with many other plants, care must be taken to bring the right amount of water and allow an excellent drainage to the excess. If the rhizome is planted with the tip up, the new plants will be higher, vice versa, i.e. planted with the tip down, the new ones will be lower.

Repotting / divisionMarch April
Rest (no irrigations, 16 ° C, dark)November-March
Frequent wateringsummer
Modest irrigationsSpring autumn
FertilizationSpring-Autumn, every 15 days


The two methods used for the multiplication of Caladium are by division of the rhizomes and by seed. We reiterate, as we have said several times for other plants, that multiplication by seed has the uncertainty of not obtaining new seedlings equal to the mother plant.

Reproduction by seed is carried out in the months of January and February, the seeds are placed in parallel rows on a suitable soil and delicately buried a few millimeters. During this phase, it will be possible to add an effective product against the attack of fungi through the watering water; at this point the container with the seeds will be covered with plastic and placed in a place where the temperature should be about twenty-twenty-three degrees, the soil must always be kept a little moist. When the new shoots appear, the plastic will be removed and the container will be placed in a brighter and more ventilated area where the temperature is about eighteen degrees. As recommended several times, if there are new weak or not very robust plants, they will be eliminated to give more space to the healthiest ones.

Now we will explain the multiplication by division of the rhizome.

It is possible to bury the entire rhizome or divide it, if you opt for this second procedure you must make sure that each half has at least two shoots; after this operation, the cut rhizomes must be allowed to dry for two or three days. The rhizomes should not be buried very much, two or three centimeters will suffice in pots with a maximum diameter of ten centimeters, during this phase give a little water and maintain a temperature of about twenty-twenty-seven degrees; when the Caladium has developed the fourth leaf it will be transplanted into a pot of greater size and a soil containing organic substance with an acid reaction mixed with sand must be used to favor the drainage of water and prevent the formation of water stagnation. From this moment the water supply must be constant and the temperature must decrease to about twenty degrees.

Fertilization and Irrigation

Caladium is fertilized during the vegetative period that is in spring-summer every fortnight, the fertilizer must be liquid mixed with the watering water and must contain all the elements necessary for a correct development of the plant: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron , manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, magnesium. However, it is good not to overdo it with the nitrogen content, it can cause the disappearance of the beautiful nuances that characterized Caladius.

As for the supply of water, it must be conspicuous and constant during the spring-summer period, while in the winter it will be appropriate to decrease it. Bring plenty of water but always be careful not to cause water stagnation which would be very harmful to the plant and roots. An effective method to prevent the formation of water stagnation will be to place the pot on a layer of gravel with water.


For Caladium there is no real pruning, when you see yellowed or dry leaves they will be eliminated thus avoiding them being attacked by diseases and parasites.

Diseases and Parasites

Caladium is also not immune from the attack of diseases and parasites, below we will explain the main enemies of this plant and we will give you some tips to defeat them.

If you notice that the leaves of your plant wither and become weak, it may be a symptom of too little water supply during watering or exposure of the plant to too cold drafts. In this case it will be necessary to administer more water or move the Caladio to a less ventilated area.

If, on the other hand, the leaves appear not very vigorous and dry up, it means that the plant has been placed in an environment that is too cold, in this case, of course, it will be advisable to place it in a warmer place.

If you see yellowish-white lice on the plant, it means that it has been infested with aphids, in this case it will be advisable to proceed with the administration of pesticides.

We said previously that this plant, in the vegetative period, should be watered often and abundantly, but if you have exaggerated with the supply of water it may be that mold forms on the leaves, in this case it will be necessary to reduce the watering and the quantity of water administered.

Climate for the Caladium

These are tropical plants and to grow at their best they would need almost constant temperatures and humidity during the vegetative period. The cold is absolutely to be avoided as they suffer as soon as it drops below 13 ° C.

The ideal is to keep them from April to October between 20 and 25 ° C, perhaps growing them in a heated greenhouse or on a veranda. They can also adapt to apartments as long as they are always warm and there is good exposure. We avoid currents, especially cold ones: they can cause thermal shock and dehydration.

Soil and pot

They should be grown in small containers (8-15 cm maximum, depending on the size of the bulb). In this way the plant will develop faster and we will counteract the danger of rot. They adapt to growing in mixtures for green plants but the ideal is to create the substrate ourselves.

A good mix is ​​land of leaves, peat and sand in equal parts, possibly adding a little garden soil. A thick drainage layer is important on the bottom. Repotting is done every year at the end of winter by placing the bulb at about 2 cm deep.

Watering and humidity

This is a crucial point: the greatest risk is in fact bulb rot. In spring and autumn we only distribute water when the substratum is dry in depth; in summer the administrations will be more frequent, always keeping the roots fresh. In winter, however, it is good to suspend almost completely.

The humidity rate is also important, which must be around 70-80%, which is difficult to reproduce at home. To remedy this, we can use electric humidifiers or spray the leaves several times a day with warm demineralized water.

In summer, if we have a pond in the garden, remember that this plant adapts very well to the edges.

Rest period

In winter it is good to induce a period of rest by moving the pots to a colder (about 16 ° C) and dark room. We almost completely suspend irrigation. If desired, we can extract the bulbs from the vase and place them in boxes full of sand.


It is only needed from spring to autumn: we administer a liquid product for green plants every 15 days.


The caladium multiplies by division of the tufts at the end of winter. It is sufficient to gently detach the lateral bulbs provided with at least one jet and place them in suitable soil. Let's keep them in the light and warm, regularly administering fertilizer and waiting for them to reach their final size.

Caladium Plant Care Como plantar Caladiums

Os caladiums podem ser adquiridos as vasos de plantas ou tubГ © rculos adormecidos. Seu tamanho depends on variedade. Na maioria das vezes, cada tubГ © rculo tem um botГЈo grande, which generally is cercado por outros menores. Para facilitar o crescimento desses brotos menores apГіs o plantio de lГўmpadas de calГЎdio, muitos jardineiros acham Гєtil levantar or broto grande com uma faca. Obviously, it depends on the individual and on the adversely affecting or growth geral de seus caladiums ..

Or plantio de lГўmpadas de calГЎdio exige pouco esforГ§o. Eles podem ser plantados directly no jardim during a spring or iniciados inside de casa quatro a seis semanas antes da date mГ © dia da geada. At temperature do only Г © uma considersção important, pois or plantio muito yield to or ar livre pode fazer com que os tubГ © rculos apodreГ§am.

Essas plantas prosperam em only Гєmido and bem drenado and mostly sГЈo mais felizes em sombra parcial. Ao plantar caladiums, vocГЄ must plantГЎ-los com seeks from 10 to 15 cm of depth and 10 to 15 cm of distГўncia.

If vocГЄ cultivar caladiums em ambientes fechados, mantenha-os em uma sala quente com muita luz atГ © que as temperaturas externas estejam quentes o suficiente para transplantar. Os tubГ © rculos de calГЎdio devem ser plantados com uma a duas polegadas de profundidade, com os botГµes ou botГµes oculares voltados para top. Embora Г s vezes seja difГcil to distinguish isso em algumas variedades, as que sГЈo plantadas de cabeГ§a para baixo ainda emergem, apenas mais slowly.


From Malay Keladi, which refers to a few generate within the Araceae family (Alocasia, Caladium and Dieffenbachia). However, it may just specifically refer to the Colocasia genus.

Several species are grown as ornamental plants for their large, arrowhead-shaped leaves marked in varying patterns in white, pink, and red (somewhat resembling the unrelated coleus) and have been in cultivation in Europe since the late 18th century. The two forms most widely cultivated are called "fancy-leaved" and "lance-leaved". The former is the more commonly seen and is the traditional caladium of cultivation the leaves are more heart-shaped. The latter has more lance-head-shaped leaves. Most Caladiums in cultivation grow to about 24 inches (60 cm) high and 24 inches (60 cm) wide, although dwarf varieties are now in cultivation.

Numerous cultivars have been selected, most of them derived from C. bicolor. Many are sold as C. × hortulanem, a synonym for C. bicolor. [7] [8] The lance-leaved varieties are also derived from C. schomburgkii.

Caladiums grow from tubers and can be propagated by dividing the tubers. They are hardy only to USDA plant hardiness zone 10 in colder areas, they are typically grown as tender "bulb" s or as houseplants.

During their growing season, they require moderate watering (damp, not soggy). Most varieties prefer partial to full shade, although sun-resistant varieties are now in cultivation. Approximately 98% of all caladium "bulbs" are from Lake Placid, Florida, in the United States. In recent years, many new varieties have become available through breeding and are now largely disease resistant. The bulk of "bulb" production is sold to pot producers, who in turn provide local nursery outlets with potted caladiums ready for immediate planting. Most "bulb" growers also sell direct retail via websites, shipping of "bulbs" takes place in the spring when temperatures permit ("bulbs" are subject to damage if temperatures are too low).

In temperate areas, they should be lifted before the first frost. The tubers are dried and stored for the winter when temperatures fall to 65 ° F (18 ° C), and stored moderately dry (not bone-dry) over the winter at temperatures between 56 ° F (13 ° C) and 61 ° F (16 ° C).

All parts of the plant are poisonous. They should not be ingested and may irritate sensitive skin.

An annual festival is held during the last weekend of July in Lake Placid, Florida, home to a majority of the world's caladium fields. A popular activity is a tour of the fields of caladiums, the product of local growers. Every July since 2003, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, has presented the Florida Caladium Showcase, the largest indoor and outdoor display of the plants, including new varieties. Many universities feature caladiums at field trials, you may also find displays at arboretums and many public gardens.

Caladiums are tubers, not corms or bulbs. A corm is a compressed mass of stem tissue with a basal plate (root tissue) at the bottom and one or more "eyes" on top from which vegetative growth and flowers will appear. A tuber is stem tissue with various eyes which may grow vegetative growth or roots.

Many names have been proposed for species and varieties in the genus, but the vast majority of the names have either been transferred to other generate or regarded as synonyms of other names. The following are accepted: [1] [9]

  1. Caladium andreanumBogner - Colombia
  2. Caladium bicolor(Aiton) Vent. - widespread from Costa Rica to northern Argentina naturalized in India, Bangladesh, western and central Africa, and various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and in the Caribbean
  3. Caladium clavatumHett., Bogner & J.Boos - Napo region of Ecuador
  4. Caladium coerulescensG.S.Bunting - Venezuela
  5. Caladium humboldtii(Raf.) Schott - Guyana, Amazonas State of southern Venezuela, Amazonas State of western Brazil, Loreto region of eastern Peru
  6. Caladium lindenii(André) Madison - Panama, Colombia
  7. Caladium macrotitesSchott - Colombia, Venezuela, northwestern Brazil
  8. Caladium picturatumK. Koch & C.D.Bouché - Venezuela, northwestern Brazil
  9. Caladium praetermissumBogner & Hett. - range unknown
  10. Caladium schomburgkiiSchott - Venezuela, northwestern Brazil, the Guianas
  11. Caladium smaragdinumK. Koch & C.D.Bouché - Venezuela
  12. Caladium steyermarkiiG.S.Bunting - Venezuela
  13. Caladium ternatumMadison - Colombia, Amazonas State of western Brazil
  14. Caladium tuberosum(S.Moore) Bogner & Mayo - Mato Grosso

Caladium with white leaf and green veins at Courtallam

Gardening 101: Caladiums

The bright leaves of these easy plants provide easy color any gardener will love.

Caladium leaves can be shaped like hearts, arrows, or lances in color combinations of red, pink, rose, white, chartreuse, and green. The brilliant foliage of this classic plant is often translucent, which makes them light up your garden. They've brightened shady spots for generations, but now you have the option of newer selections that can take some direct sun.

Nurseryman Stewart Myers of Myers Plants & Pottery in Pelham, Alabama, ( has been planting thousands of caladium tubers every year for the last 30 years. His secret? Always plant after Mother's Day, when the soil has warmed. "If you plant too early, when the soil is still cool, your bulbs will rot," he says. Caladiums are ideal for both new and experienced gardeners because they are so easy to grow.

"For a big show of color, pick your favorite selection and plant a bunch," Stewart says. "Larger, fancy-leaf types (heart-shaped leaves) work best for this. Try strap-leaf types (shorter plants with bunches of leaves) or dwarf types (smaller, heart-shaped leaves) for pots and window boxes." Caladiums are great companions for impatiens, begonias, and ferns.

How to Grow Caladiums
Caladiums originated in South America, so they thrive in warm weather. Like their larger cousins, elephant's ears, they're carefree once you cover their basic needs.

Light for Caladiums: All caladiums love filtered sunlight and shade. Some newer selections can take more sun.

Best Soil for Caladiums: Caladiums need well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter, such as mushroom compost or chopped leaves.

How to Plant Caladiums: Buy potted caladiums ready to plant, or grow them from tubers. (Though they're sometimes called bulbs, they are really tubers.) Plant tubers point side up about 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches deep. Space them 8 to 14 inches apart, depending on the ultimate size of your plants as listed on the tag.

How to Water Caladiums: Always water caladiums regularly. Keep the soil slightly moist. Add mulch, such as pine straw, to help retain soil moisture and conserve water. If you have caladiums in full sun, don't let them dry out.

How to Feed Caladiums: Use a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote Outdoor & Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food 19-6-12 or a liquid feed such as Miracle-Gro Liquid All Purpose Plant Food 12-4-8.

Wintering Caladiums: In the Tropical South, you can leave tubers in the ground year-round. In the rest of the South, you'll need to dig them up in early fall if you want to replant next year. Remove any remaining leaves and roots. Let tubers dry in a shaded area for a few days. Place them in dry peat moss to store. Keep them in a warm spot (50 to 60 degrees) until it's time to replant.

Caladium Planting and Care

Select a planting location that has dappled sunlight or partial shade with only two to six hours of sun each day. They prefer moist, rich, acidic soil that drains well. In warmer climates, you can plant caladium any time during the year, although spring is the most common planting time. Make sure soil temperatures have warmed to 60 to 70 degrees, notes University of Florida IFAS Gardening Solutions.

Plant the tubers about 2 inches deep with the puckered side facing up. Space the tubers 8 to 12 inches apart. Water regularly to keep the soil moist. Don't allow the soil to fully dry. Avoid overwatering and allowing the tuber to sit in water that may encourage fungal growth.

If possible, do a soil test to determine what nutrients your caladium may need. If you aren't able to do a soil test, fertilize every six weeks with a 12-6-6 fertilizer, advises Clemson Cooperative Extension. You can also use a six-month slow release 15-9-12 fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Caladio: cultivation and care

☛ EXPOSURE: it should be kept in a place with a lot of light because the sun favors the coloring of the leaves.

☛ WATERING: in summer keep the plant constantly humid, without creating stagnations. In winter, it can tolerate dry weather too.

☛ TEMPERATURE: in winter minimum 13 ° C, in summer maximum 24 ° C.

☛ HUMIDITY: do not spray from above to avoid damaging the leaves.

☛ FERTILIZATION: every 21 days during vegetation with liquid fertilizer.

☛ SOIL: the garden one mixed with peat is excellent.

☛ CLEANING: dust lightly with a duvet, do not use the polisher.

☛ DAMAGE DUE TO NON-PATHOGENIC CAUSES: if the leaves curl and fall it means that the plant is in a too cold place, move it.

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Originally from tropical areas, the first species of Caladium was imported to Europe in 1767, its name derives from an ancient Indian word, the exact meaning of which is not known, however. The indigenous people of Guyana usually use the leaves of these plants as dishes.

The name caladium derives from the Malay term Kaladi which in Latin became caladium bicolor, due to its aesthetic characteristic of presenting leaves with two distinct colors


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