Caladium Planting Guide

Caladiums, with their vibrant, heart-shaped leaves in a kaleidoscope of colours, are a unique and stunning addition to any garden. Follow these simple steps to ensure your caladiums thrive, whether you're planting them in the garden or in pots.

Planting Caladiums in the Garden

Choosing the Right Time To Plant

Caladiums love warm temperatures, so they thrive when planted during late spring to early summer. This is when the soil temperature consistently stays above 15 °C, ensuring optimal growth and preventing the bulbs from rotting.

Selecting the Perfect Spot

Caladiums prefer a partial to full shade location, as direct sunlight can scorch their delicate leaves. Choose a spot in your garden with filtered light or morning sun with afternoon shade. Well-draining soil is crucial to prevent waterlogging, which can cause the bulbs to rot.

Preparing the Soil

Preparing the soil for your caladiums is a crucial step. Start by loosening the soil to a depth of about 15-20 cm (6-8 inches). Then, enrich it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will not only improve drainage but also enhance the soil's fertility. 

Planting the Bulbs

  1. Spacing: Space the bulbs about 20-30 cm apart to give them ample room to grow.
  2. Depth: Plant the bulbs with the knobby side facing up, about 5 cm deep. If you need help determining which side is up, plant the bulb on its side, and it will find its way to the surface.
  3. Covering: Gently cover the bulbs with soil and lightly firm it down.


After planting, water the area thoroughly to settle the soil around the bulbs. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season. Caladiums prefer humidity, so occasional misting can benefit them, especially in drier regions.


Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips or straw, around the plants to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Be careful not to cover the bulbs directly with mulch.

Care and Maintenance

  • Fertilising: To promote lush foliage, feed your caladiums with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
  • Pest Control: Look for common pests like snails, slugs, and aphids. Use organic or chemical controls as necessary to protect your plants.
  • Winter Care: Dig up the bulbs in colder regions before the first frost. Clean and dry them, then store them in a cool, dry place over winter. Replant them the following spring.

Planting Caladiums in Pots

Choosing the Right Pot

Select a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom, which can cause the bulbs to rot. A pot at least 20-25 cm in diameter will give your caladiums enough room to grow.

Preparing the Potting Mix

Use a well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter. You can mix standard potting soil with perlite or sand to improve drainage.

Planting the Caladium Bulbs

  1. Depth: Fill the pot with potting mix, leaving about 5 cm from the top. Plant the bulbs with the knobby side facing up, about 5 cm deep.
  2. Spacing: If planting multiple bulbs in one pot, space them about 10cm apart.


Water thoroughly after planting. Water occasionally, allowing the plant to dry out slightly between waterings.


Place the pot indoors in a well-lit area, but keep it away from direct sunlight. Avoiding draughts and direct sunlight will prevent the leaves from burning.

Care and Maintenance

  • Fertilising: Feed your potted caladiums with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser every 4-6 weeks.
  • Pest Control: Check for pests regularly and treat as needed.
  • Leaf Care: Gently wipe the leaves clean with a damp cloth. This helps maintain their vibrant appearance and overall plant health.
  • Toxicity Warning: All parts of the caladium plant are known to be poisonous. Exercise caution when planting and pruning, especially around children and pets.
  • Pruning: Remove dead stems from the base of the plant to encourage a clean, well-groomed appearance. Regular maintenance promotes healthier growth.
  • Winter Watering: When growing caladiums indoors during winter, keep the soil on the drier side. They prefer less water during their dormant period to avoid root rot.
  • Dormancy: Caladiums can go dormant in cooler months and die back. Don't fret if this happens; they will reappear once the warmer weather returns.

Enjoying Your Caladiums

With the proper care, your caladiums will reward you with their striking foliage from late spring to autumn. These versatile plants can be used in garden beds, borders, or containers, adding a tropical touch to indoor and outdoor spaces.

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