How to Grow Caladium Bulbs
Caladiums are tropical foliage plants that provide a splash of color in summer flower beds. They grow well in shaded areas, containers, hanging baskets, and as borders. Caladiums are easy to grow; they are tropical plants, native to Brazil. So, it's no surprise that these plants love a warm, shady, humid environment. It grows to it's full height of 12" to 30" in one season. You can add drama to any landscape with the addition of caladiums. Their brightly-colored leaves, in shades of red, pink, white and green, are perfect in a grouping or as an accent for other plants.
1- When to Plant your Caladium Bulbs
If you wish to give your Caladium bulbs a head start, you may plant them indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. If you start outdoors, make sure the soil is warm before planting your Caladiums bulbs –the night temperature must reach the high 60’s or warmer on a consistent basis.
2- Where to Plant your Caladiums:
Finding the right location for your outdoor caladium is important and well-draining soil is a must. Partial sunlight is best for the outdoor caladium. Caladiums also like rich soil; if the soil is poor, add generous amounts of compost and manure. Last, plant the caladium where it will not be affected by strong wind. Too much wind can damage the plant's large leaves.
3- How to Plant your Caladium Bulbs:
Plant the caladium bulbs (or tuber) in holes that are 2 inches deep. When you hold the tuber up, look for the part of the bulb which has something similar to the eyes on a potato. Gently put the Caladium bulb in the ground, with the part with the eyes pointing up. Add a little bone meal to the soil and plant other bulbs about 12 inches apart. Water them generously to encourage the caladium to take root. Caladiums should be kept moist during germination, without allowing the soil to become soggy. Cool nights and excessive moisture can cause a bulb to rot. Once the caladiums breaks ground it is easy to tell when to water as they will droop very easily if thirsty. You will need to adjust your watering schedule based on your climate and the amount of sun the plant receives.
4- How to Care for your Caladiums:
Caladium grows well with little care or attention. Fertilize outdoors once a month with a general purpose fertilizer. Indoors, use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. During the growing period, remove any dead or damaged leaves. Trim the yellow growth from the foliage when the growing season has passed. Where winter is a concern, dig up the caladium bulbs before the frost sets in. Lay them out in a cool, dry area and, when the caladium bulbs are dry, remove the dead leaves and store them in net bags until spring. Make sure that the temperatures in the area where the bulbs are stored do not drop below 60 degrees.