There are many different types of caladium, each of which surprises us with its special patterns and colors. Plant lovers grow them precisely because of those large, colorful leaves. Caladiums are quite different from other indoor plants, mostly because of the way they grow. They grow from spring to autumn, after which they go into hibernation.
We have prepared a few tips on how to care for these beautiful tuberous plants and we have divided caladiums care by season.
SPRING (planting, choosing a pot)
Spring is the time when the tuber wakes up from its winter sleep and starts throwing new leaves. If you bought the tubers in the store, give them a warm bath at home – leave them in lukewarm water (maximum 50°C) for an hour before planting them.
In the meantime, prepare a pot with a diameter at least twice the diameter of the tuber. So, if the tuber is 7 cm big, you plant it in a 14 cm wide pot. We recommend taking that diameter, so that it has enough room to grow during the summer.
Fill the pot up to 2/3 with a well-flowing, loose soil mixture (jungle soil mixture), place the tuber on it with the tip (point) upwards and spread the rest of the soil over it. Water everything together and place in a sunny place, temperature between 20°C and 25°C. Water when the top layer of the soil dries. In approximately 4 weeks, you should see the first leaflets.
SUMMER (light, watering, humidity)
Summer is the time when caladiums will grow profusely, it is possible for them to reach up to 90 cm in height! Place them in a bright position with strong indirect light. Do not keep them directly in the sun because there is a possibility that their leaves will burn. If caladiums become greenish, it means that they are not getting enough light.
Caladiums have very thin and sensitive leaves, which the sun can burn.
Caladiums like to have slightly moist soil at all times, but they must not stand in wet soil. If the soil is wet for too long, the tubers rot. Water twice a week during summer, and reduce watering to once a week in spring and autumn. Caladiums show that they are thirsty by hanging their leaves. They like high humidity and it is advisable to spray them with water every day.
If you are lucky enough to see them bloom, in the summer they produce flowers with a very strong smell. If the smell bothers you, feel free to cut the flowers and help the plant conserve energy and direct it into the growth of new leaves.
Caladiums fertilize from spring to fall.
AUTUMN and WINTER (winter sleep)
In the fall, you continue to care for the same until the leaves start to fall. This most often happens when the days get shorter and the temperatures drop below 15°C. If you notice that the leaves do not start to decay (in case you have a warm apartment or grow lights), move the caladiums to a cooler and darker area, to ensure the conditions for a normal cycle.
When the leaves start to decay, cut them to the tuber. Dig the tuber out of the ground, wash it with water and inspect and remove rotten parts of the root or tuber. Store the tuber in a dry, dark and cool place.
You can store it in several different ways, in a box, in the shade or in the sand. It is possible to leave the tuber in the ground, but in that case do not water the ground all winter. Now your tuber is ready for hibernation. In the spring, you repeat the whole cycle from the beginning.
- Mold on the leaves is a sign that the cladium is too waterlogged, or is in a cold draft. Let it dry, then water it again more moderately.
- When the leaves are shriveled – it is too warm and dry.
- The leaves are brown and brittle at the edges – the temperature in the room should be increased.