Caladium is an exotic-looking, ornamental plant with large, colorful leaves.
Native to South America, this popular plant is sometimes called an elephant ear.
This plant thrives in warm and tropical conditions, typically going dormant during cooler weather or winter months.
So what about caladium care over winter months?
Want tropical caladium around your home or property? Keep reading for caladium care tips!
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Caladium Care over Winter
Caring for a caladium during winter months requires a thick layer of mulch, around 3 inches (7.5 cm), to keep them protected during cooler weather. In colder climates, you should dig up your caladium bulb and bring it inside for the dormancy period. Keep the bulbs in a cool, dark place trim the tops before replanting.
Caladium Care Over Winter
Caladium plants are considered winter-hardy, so they can survive outside in grow zones 9 and above.
Don’t know your USDA hardiness grow zone?
Find your distinct zone online to determine the best time to plant, as well as when to expect blooms when cultivating flowering plants and trees.
Mulching heavily helps protect the caladium, plus it provides an efficient and effective way for the plant’s roots to absorb moisture.
Other Winterization Tips
If you are planting in USDA hardiness grow zones 8 and lower, plan on digging up your caladium bulbs to bring them indoors for the winter months.
Make sure to keep the bulbs in a dry, cool spot- but not below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) according to the University of Illinois, for a few weeks to cause your caladium to go dormant.
After the bulb is dormant, trim the tops so that the bulb is level with the surface of the soil and get rid of any dirt or bad roots on the bulb.
This is a good time to apply fungicide to your caladium which may help prevent root rot if the bulb becomes too moist later on.
Consider the following when you store your caladium for winter!
- Try to maintain a temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure it is a dry, sheltered spot- not an unheated shed or outdoor garden bench!
- Store the bulbs in a box of sawdust or clean sand.
- You can start your bulbs indoors after dormancy if the outdoor temps are still a bit low.
- Hold off planting caladium outdoor until the risk of frost has passed.
- Water your potted caladium plants at least once a month to keep them from drying out and store them in a dark spot during dormancy.
- Caladium will grow on its own when it is done being dormant. This is why it is important to check your plants and bulbs regularly to provide what it needs when it is ready to grow.
- Resume normal care for your caladium when it is no longer dormant.
Storing and winterizing caladium bulbs is easy, but it does require a little care if you plan on replanting later them in the spring.
Whether you are storing bulbs or potted caladium, keep an eye on them during dormancy to detect when they are ready to grow and thrive once more.
Bring them out of the cool, dark space, re-pot them if needed and provide plenty of sun.
Indoor Caladium Care
Caladium does well indoors if you provide it with plenty of indirect or filtered sun.
Do not put the caladium in direct sunlight while making sure that the soil doesn’t get too dry inside the home.
Caladiums are native to tropical regions, so they thrive in humid conditions.
Generally, indoor caladiums are watered a couple of times a week.
Speaking of dormancy, caladiums are tropical perennial plants that grow best during wet months and that go dormant during the dry season, by nature.
You can extend their growing season organically by providing an environment that is warm and humid or send the plant into dormancy with cold temperatures or too little water.
The length of the plant’s dormancy depends on different variables but typically can last up to a couple of months before it will resume growing again.
Frequently Asked Questions about Caladium Care Over Winter
How do you store caladiums in the winter?
You can dig up your outdoor caladium bulbs to take inside during winter, and to replant in warmer weather. Generally, consistent temps of 60 degrees Fahrenheit are recommended for replanting caladium outside.
How long will it take for caladiums to sprout?
The soil must reach consistent temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the caladiums to sprout and grow. Warmer soil will hasten growth, too. Make sure that you are planting the caladium bulbs about five inches deep and five inches apart for best results.
When are Caladium plants dormant?
Caladiums are dormant in cold, dry weather. Since they are tropical perennials, these plants grow the most during hot, humid weather before going into a state of dormancy, which may last up to a couple of months.
How do you re-pot a caladium?
Caladium plants do not like too much room in their container or pot. Too much space interferes with the plant’s ability to absorb the water. If you are going to re-pot a caladium, use a bottom layer of aggregate or other drainage material and then fill the pot with a well-draining, loamy potting soil.
Caladium is a tropical-looking ornamental plant that fits both indoors and out.
Use these tips to take care of your caladium during dormant seasons and winter months and consider cultivating your own caladium this year!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.