How to plant and care for Caladium bulbs

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I’m sure seeing so many beautiful and colourful Caladium images all over Instagram has made you buy few (or 10) bulbs to add to your indoor jungle. These exotic looking plants have stunning foliage and are very easy to grow both indoor and outdoors (if you live in a climate that supports this).

Caladiums like shaded spots to grow and plenty of humidity. I keep their soil on the moist side throughout their growth period.

Caladium Red Flash Caladium Carolyn Whorton 2

Usually, Caladium bulbs are planted (or re-planted if you already have the bulbs from previous years) in Spring; I usually start doing this around March-April time and here is my process for getting the bulbs ready for soil.

Getting the tubers ready:

  1. Fill containers or glasses with water.
  2. Place a bulb in each container/glass. I use one container per bulb so I can keep track of what bulbs I am planting.
  3. Leave bulbs in water for one hour.
  4. Take bulbs out of water.
  5. Ready to plant now.

What soil to use for your Caladium bulbs:

As with most plants, a mix that’s fast draining it’s important. I like to use BioBizz Light Soil with some added perlite and horticultural charcoal.

If your soil mix is ready you can start planting your bulbs. Fill your pot with the soil mix and plant the bulb 5-10 cm deep. if you are planting more than 1 bulb per pot, be generous with the space and leave at least 20 cm between them.

Now water your pots containing the bulbs and place your pots in a warm and well lit (plenty of indirect light) spot. To increase humidity and promote faster growth you can place a bag (like freezer bags) over your pot. You don't need to worry too much about watering during this period as the bags will maintain high humidity and keep the soil moist.

Caladium Freida Hemple

Once your bulbs have started sprouting (this can take anywhere between 6-10 weeks) you can remove the bags from your pots and move them to a more shaded spot. And don't forget to get your watering right to avoid browning of the leaves.

Storing Caladium bulbs:

Caladiums are perennial, so once the cold season hits they'll likely to go dormant. You can store the bulbs over the winter and plant them again the following spring. All you need to do is cut back any foliage and scoop the bulbs gently. Leave them to dry for few days, then store them in pots of dry compost, or wrapped in paper/newspaper, in a dry, dark and frost-free spot.

Caladium Florida sweetheart Caladium Spring Fling