Caladiums are tuberous tropical plants. They are native to South and Central America and have been naturalized in India. Although they go dormant in the winter months, the beautiful foliage during the blooming seasons is definitely worth the wait.
Caladium can be easily grown as a houseplant. With proper watering and occasional fertilizing the plant will produce vibrant blooms all season long.
The plant should be protected from direct sunlight as may scorch and damage the leaves. Plant it in partial shade or full shade where it may receive artificial light.
The main attraction is the unique foliage. Caladium has beautiful, paper-thin, heart-shaped or arrow-shaped leaves. The leaves are bi-coloured with the mid-rib and outer edge being one colour and the rest of the area the other colour. Plants with large tubers may produce flowers too but the flowers are mostly inconspicuous. Foliage lasts from early summer till winter.
The plant requires high humidity. The same can be achieved by using a humidifier or placing a bowl of water under the plant. Take care to keep the soil moist at all times especially when the leaves appear. Water the plant when the soil feels dry. Caladium does not like too dry soil.
The soil should be well-drained and rich in nutrients. The slightly acidic soil is preferable.
The average caladium grows up to 20 cm to 30 cm.
Fertilize monthly during the growing season. Use a liquid nitrogen fertilizer diluted to half. You can fertilize more frequently if the bloom is less than expected. Water the plant before fertilizing.
Caladium might get infested with caterpillars and aphids. Stay vigilant and get rid of the creatures as soon as you notice them. Use neem oil. The plant might suffer from tuber diseases.
It is one of the most sought-after houseplants for its unique foliage. You can place it inside your house or office. It is great specimen plant and you can also use it as a border plant. They will thrive in shady areas where most plants don't.