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When to Dig up Caladium Bulbs? Here’s the Best Time!

The caladium is a very popular plant that has many uses in the landscape. They can add color to a flower bed or garden or be used as potted plants or in baskets and containers.

The caladium can be found in residential and commercial landscapes through many regions of the country where they are hardy.


When to Dig up Caladium Bulbs?

The best time for you to dig up the caladium bulbs is when the leaves start yellowing and wilting. Don’t let the caladium bulbs die as this will make the process of finding them harder. Additionally, make sure not to dig into the bulbs to avoid accidentally damaging them. 


When to Dig Up Caladium Bulbs

The best time to think about digging the plants up is while there are still some yellow and wilted leaves on the plant.

Do not wait for the plant to die back completely because then it becomes even harder to find the bulbs when you do decide to remove them from the garden.

You are more likely to accidentally damage some bulbs by digging into them and unless you dig up the entire patch of ground you are likely to leave a few bulbs behind that may not survive the winter.

Once the plants are starting to look a bit worn and the colors are fading you can begin making preparations. This is one thing to know about digging up caladium bulbs many people ignore or simply are not aware of.


What You Need to Know About Digging Up Caladium Bulbs

While digging up your Caladiums may be the best option, it is important to understand other options that might be available to you.


Leave them in the ground

You can leave the plants in the ground if the bed they are planted in will stay relatively undisturbed and drains well.

Ensure the area gets a good layer of mulch to protect the bulbs from a hard freeze and let them overwinter in the ground.

However, if the area they are planted in has a habit of being damp and soggy during the winter, the bulbs are most likely going to rot and not survive till the following growing season.

Abnormally rainy winters and sudden thaws can also lead to issues with rotting, which is why many people opt to dig up their caladiums.


Dig them up

Aside from protecting the bulbs so they survive winter and are ready to go next season, digging them up can also help you keep your landscape looking its best.

By digging up the bulbs you free up that space for other plants that can provide foliage and flowers to brighten up that spot.

Instead of having a barren, empty patch in the garden, you can keep the space filled with plants that can survive the colder seasons and die off in time for the caladiums to be replanted.


Process for Digging Up the Bulbs

The process involved with removing the bulbs from your landscape is very simple and straightforward. Using a shove or pitchfork or similar tool, loose then soil around the plant, being careful not to hit into the bulbs as you dig.

Leave the foliage attached and allow it to die out naturally as this helps send the bulbs into a hibernation state. You will want to lay them out in a cool yet dry place out of the direct sun and protected from the rain.

They can also be placed bulbs down in an empty bucket to dry, provided they are not packing in too tightly so there is good airflow. Once the foliage has died off, you can store them away for the next season.


Caladium Bulbs Can Provide Vibrant Color Next Year

When they have been given growing conditions that are conducive for vibrant and healthy growth, caladiums should have grown in size and their bulbs should be bigger than when you first planted.

Heathy large bulbs like these are worth saving and reusing for the next growing season, whether they are left in term ground or dug up.

If the growing conditions were less than ideal then the plant likely used a lot of the existing bulb to feed self and the bulbs have likely shrunk in size.

If that’s the case, it may be best to dig up the bulbs, discard them, and buy new healthy bulbs for the next season.


Frequently Asked Questions about When to Dig up Caladium Bulbs


Do I need to dry the tubers when I dig them up?

The caladium bulbs will need to be dried prior to storing, a process that takes about 10 to 14 days. At that time, the foliage will be dry and papery and peel away from the bulbs easily. If there is a lot of soil and debris stuck to the bulbs they can be gently rinsed. However, they will need another few days to dry off fully before they are stored in any kind of container.


What is the best way to store caladium bulbs till next year?

When the bubs have dried, you will want to inspect them and throw out any that look like they are rotting, too small, or badly damaged. Once you have selected the bulbs you want to keep, choose a container that allows for good airflow. It also needs to be something that blocks out most of the sun and that is also waterproof or at least will protect from major water intrusion. The ideal container will be on that can ‘breathe’ and that never uses a plastic bag of any kind.


How do I keep track of the bulbs I dig up?

When digging up the bulbs and storing them, it can be helpful to keep track of the different types that you have and which bulbs are which. Labeling the batches and then the storage containers can help keep things separated and organized. This will make it easier to place the bulbs next year in a way that will look good in the garden. If you don’t know the specific names of the varieties you have, at the very least, labeling them with the main colors can make landscaping easier next season.



Caladiums are a popular foliage plant that can be grown in many regions across the country.

When it comes to determining when to dig up caladium bulbs and how to best protect them, this handy guide should serve as a great starting point for you!

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.