A fragile plant that is difficult to grow, Caladium enlivens houses and gardens with its unique foliage.
Key Caladium facts:
Common: elephant ears
Type: indoor plant
Height: 36 to 40 inches (0.8 to 1 meter) indoors, 13 feet (4 meters) in the wild
Exposure: Very well-lit – Soil: soil mix – Foliage: evergreen
Planting and repotting a Caladium plant
Upon purchasing, if the pot is too small, proceed to repot the plant so that it may grow adequately.
Container caladium: how to re-pot it:
After the first planting, every 2 or 3 years and preferably in spring, repot your caladium in a pot of a slightly larger size.
- Caladium roots hate having too much water.
Double-check that the pot has a hole in the bottom.
Increase drainage with a layer of gravel or clay pebbles along the bottom of the pot, to make water flow through more easily.
- Good soil mix is needed.
Caladium, when it lives indoors, needs soil mix because that is the only source for the nutrients it feeds on.
Where to place your Caladium at home
- It is vulnerable to excess sun that might dry the plant up.
The more light a caladium receives, the nicer its foliage.
- Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this tropical plant needs most.
Ideal temperatures are around 68 to 70° F (20 to 21° C).
Make sure to break the clump apart without wounding the tubers if you want to propagate more than one new plant. Indeed, roots form tubers from the base of each leaf cluster.
Some Caladium varieties, like taro, are edible when prepared correctly! Most aren’t, however.
Trimming and caring for Caladium
At the end of winter, if your caladium has lost many leaves, feel free to cut the foliage back entirely, this will stimulate the sending of new shoots and will rejuvenate your plant: you’ll have lush, fresh leaves again.
Remove damaged leaves regularly by snipping them off at the base.
Watering your Caladium
All year long, and especially during summer, spray water on the leaves to recreate the moisture levels of its natural habitat.
Watering in spring and summer
Keep the soil mix a bit moist and check that water drains properly.
Add leaf plant liquid fertilizer every 8 to 15 days during the growing phase.
- Spray the leaves on a regular basis with calcium-free water.
Watering your Caladium in fall and winter
Reduce watering and wait for the soil to be dry before watering again.
Stop adding fertilizer.
Typical Caladium diseases
Learn more about the Caladium plant
There are two main types of Caladium plants:
- Strap-leaf: dense clumps, shorter overall, slightly more cold hardy. Leaves are narrower and sharper.
- Fancy-leaf: taller growth, with heart-shaped leaves that grow quite large if well fed and watered (12 inches or 30 cm!)
Both have beautiful cultivars. For instance, the Fancy-leaved “Candidum” is white with greenish veins, and the ‘Pink Gem’ is a short, salmon-colored strap-leaved variety.
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Smart tip about caladium
A fabulous indoor plant, caladium is nonetheless poisonous. The entire plant from root to leaf is toxic both if ingested and in case of prolonged skin contact.
It must be handled with gloves to avoid risking intoxication.