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Gardening tips on the care of caladiums

Caladium Garden Plant

Enhance your garden and interior plantscape design with caladiums, these garden plants produce beautiful heart shaped multi-color leaves that are so amazing this is a plant which I have worked with on many interior plantscape projects. What I love about caladiums are the different patterned designs that are found on the leaves which is truly a work of art.

These tropical plants are native to South Africa and can be found growing on the banks of the Amazon river but also believed to hail from Central and South America. These exotic plants, however, cannot tolerate the cold and are tuberous plants meaning spring to autumn is the only time for them to show of their beauty but despite that, they are still worth the investment and is a show stopper.

Planting Location

Caladiums should be installed in an area that gets full sunlight to partial shade. A spacing of 4-6 inches is adequate.

Soil Type

The soil type should be a soil which is acidic, holds the right amount of water but drains well.

Watering Methods

The soil should be kept, moist and not waterlogged because overwatering will encourage root rot.

Fertilizing Methods

It is important during the growing season to feed your caladiums with a slow or quick release fertilizer.

Garden pests of caladiums

Be on the lookout because if you are growing these garden beauties outdoors you may come across.

  • Thrips
  • Mealybugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Nematodes
  • Spider Mites

Thrips, Mealybugs, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, and Aphids

These garden insect pests cause damage by sucking the plant’s fluids or sap which can lead to yellowing and browning of the leaves. To control these garden insect pests the use of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap will eliminate them or bring them under control.

Nematodes

The root-knot nematode lives in the soil and feeds on the caladiums tubers, these microscopic roundworms can do much damage. Vary the planting location or growing caladiums in containers is a great way to discourage nematodes.

Wildlife

It is so good to have wildlife in our garden areas such as birds, bees and butterflies but then there are some that will cause destruction by making a meal out of our garden plants in this group of wildlife are.

  • Voles
  • Deers
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Chimpmunks

These garden pests feed on the young shoots and the tubers, it is best to use a fence or a motion sensor sprinkler system to keep them away or check with your plant nursery or garden center to see what is your best option.

Disease of caladiums

Caladiums have their share of disease which can do a number on your plants, keep a watch for.

  • Fusarium Wilt
  • Bacterial Leaf Spot

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is encouraged by long hot periods, signs include drooping of the lower leaves and also the leaves turning yellow. The fungus which is responsible for this disease lives in the soil enters the plant through its roots. Infected plants should be uprooted and properly disposed of also consider crop rotation.

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot is encouraged by the cool temperature, signs appear as small translucent spots, the edges turn yellow and overtime enlargens becoming irregular. The center also takes on a reddish appearance. To prevent this disease avoid overhead irrigation and rotating plants. Plants which show these systems should be immediately removed and disposed of.

Ideas on where to install them

Caladium Garden Plant

Here are just a few places to install caladiums.

1. Caladiums can be installed in masses around the trunks of trees.

2. Grouping them in masses is a great way to make them a show stopper.

3. Use them as undergrowth in container gardening.

4. Install them in a pond area.

5. Place them in a plant bed by your pool area.

6. Use them in a hanging basket.

7. What about planting them in one big mass in a rock garden.

Growing caladiums in containers

Container gardening is a great way to go when growing caladiums, growing caladiums in containers was one of my specialty. When growing caladiums from a container you want to choose a container which will accommodate your caladium. The container should have drain holes to allow water to drain off after giving your plant a good drink, The soil should be a good garden soil that will hold the right amount of moisture but will allow excess water to drain.

The container should be placed in an area that gets full to partial sunlight, fertilize as stated earlier and ensure that the soil is moist and not waterlogged which can lead to rot root. Keep an eye out for garden insect pests such as aphids, spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies and treat as stated in the above section on garden insect pests.

Growing caladiums in baskets

When growing caladiums from hanging baskets you will follow the seem methods as when growing caladiums from a container. Ensure that the hanging basket is placed in an area that gets full to partial sunlight.

Growing caladiums indoors

When growing caladiums indoors whether from a container or hanging basket place either in an area that gets indirect bright light. Keep a check on the soil to ensure that there is always moisture and as stated earlier do not overwater which can lead to root rot. 70 f is a great temperature for your caladium to survive, the humidity level should also be kept high which is an added benefit. Fertilizer according to the above mentioned which can be found in the section on fertilizing methods.

Pruning your caladiums

The leaves of caladiums can become straggly and overgrown, when this happens remove those leaves from the soil level also leaves which are dead, turning brown or damaged should be removed from the soil level also.

The final word

What are your thoughts? I believe I know what you are thinking and that is so great. Installing these garden beauties in your garden area or interior plant scape will work wonders bringing that transformation and much-needed flavor.  Brighten up your day with caladiums and reap the benefit of a garden plant which has proven to get the job done. Caladiums have made a name for themselves so install some you will be happy with the results.

4 comments

  1. Babsie Wagner says:

    Thank you for this great article.  I do have a question, though.  My yard is funny, and I don’t really get full sun over most of it because I have so many trees.  You stated in the instructions that Caladiums should be installed in an area that gets full sunlight to partial shade.   I can do some sunlight with mostly shade.  Do you think I would have any success with that?  The Caladiums are so gorgeous, I don’t want to leave them out, but I also don’t want the heartbreak of them dying on me.

    1. Norman says:

      Hello, Babsie so good to see you. These are really great plants, yes give it a try and see what happens it just might work in your favor. Just remember to follow the other requirements and you will be fine.

  2. Sue says:

    Hi Norman, I have to say that I am so happy to have found your website. This article on Caladium plant care is thorough and fascinating. You are right, the gorgeous leaves of this plant are nothing short of a work of art. I believe I’ve seen them before but didn’t know the name of this garden beauty.

    Since they are native to South Africa and South America are they difficult to find in the U.S., or will most any plant nursery carry them? I think I would like to try growing one indoors first, just to get the experience since they seem a bit fragile and I’ve had bad luck with outdoor garden pests in the past. Thank you for filling us in on the common pests of Caladiums and more importantly, telling us what to use to control them.

    I also can’t wait to check out your “Creating A Butterfly Garden” article. My mother had a magical flower garden when we were growing up and it was always full of beautiful butterflies. Everyone always said she had a ‘green thumb’ (no, not really!)

    Thanks for this great post and giving us the information we need to grow this lovely plant for ourselves. 

    Sue

    1. Norman says:

      Hello, Sue, I am so happy to help, these plants are truly amazing and do work wonders you should be able to find these plants locally I know that they can be found on Amazon. Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind words. All the best to you and have a good day.

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