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Caladium Blaze Care – Every Gardener’s Must-Have Guide

Caladium Blaze Care – Every Gardener’s Must-Have Guide

Caladium Blaze is a summer bulb and falls in the category of fancy leafed Caladiums. 

The true beauty of this plant lies in the leaves; they have a bronzy red center, olive green edges, and fuchsia pink veins. 

Caladiums were first discovered in the tropical areas of Brazil in the 1700s. It is believed that this variety was hybridized by a horticulturist named Henry Nehrling

He is responsible for introducing brightly colored Caladium varieties and grew up to 200,000 plants. Fancy leafed versions are the most popular ones among home gardeners.

Today this plant is grown by gardeners who love color and patterns on the foliage. The name blaze highlights the red color on the leaves. 

You can grow this fancy tropical plant as a landscape, bedding, or potted plant. Caladiums are flowering species from the Araceae family; the one we are discussing today is native to South America. 

This compact plant is easy to maintain. Let me share some tips and instructions about keeping it happy.

 

Caladium Blaze Care

Caladium Blaze needs protection from sunlight, but it still loves warm temperatures. It’s best to grow them in 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 to 21.1 degrees Celsius). For soil, combine peat moss and sand in equal parts. 

 

Soil

The tender bulbs for this Caladium variety are planted in the spring season so that they will create a foliar or floral display in the summer. 

Add organic matter to the potting soil to increase nutrient content or drainage. 

You can create a soil mixture using ½ part sand with ½ part peat moss. But gardeners have found a renewable replacement of peat moss, i.e., coco coir. 

Caladiums require moist, fertile, and well-draining soil (pH of 6-6.5). 

For USDA hardiness zones 4 to 7, May – June are the best planting months. And for zone 8 to 10, late March-May is more suitable. 

Roughly estimate the planting depth for your bulbs. The bulb should be 2-3 times deep in the soil. 

 

Water

This Caladium is found growing next to river banks or moist areas of the forest, so it thrives in consistently moist soil. 

You have to water this plant once weekly in the first year. Later decrease the frequency to twice per month. 

Carefully regulate your watering schedule; otherwise, the corm or bulb might start rotting under the soil.

They need water more frequently in summer compared to winter. You can spread mulch on the potting or garden soil to preserve the moisture within the soil. 

Planting it in a shaded spot means that you will spend less time watering in the summer heat. 

 

Light

This is a shade-loving plant so never expose it to full sun. However, it can still tolerate more sun compared to other Caladium varieties. 

Choose a shaded spot for this plant where it receives only 1-3 hours of the morning sun. I have placed my pots on a shady corner of the patio, and all of them are performing well. 

In simple words, more sunlight means your plant needs more fertilizer and water. 

 

Temperature

The bulbs for this variety do not love the cold frozen ground at all. Planting them too early in the season can rot the bulbs. So ensure that the soil’s warm before planting them, preferably around the 70-degree Fahrenheit mark. 

I planted the bulbs indoors for an early start. This should be done 4-6 weeks before the region’s last frost. 

The Caladium Blaze needs warm temperatures day and night. In fact, this plant flourishes in warm summer months and continuously produces new leaves in August. 

Keep it in 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 to 21.1 degrees Celsius).  

If you are situated in a cool climate area, you should consider growing it indoors or in a greenhouse. 

 

Humidity

This Caladium variety will enjoy growing in the humidity of 50% or more. There are various ways to increase humidity around houseplants. 

 

Fertilizer

Regularly fertilizing this plant with a half-strength bulb fertilizer will keep it healthy and sturdy. I would recommend a liquid fertilizer as it will easily reach the bulb buried under the ground.

Generally, Caladiums love potassium, bone meal, and phosphorus, so choose a fertilizer that contains these elements.  

Continue feeding it every two or three weeks for the warmer months. Regular feeding can also contribute to bloom or spathe production. 

This plant cannot tolerate salts in the soil, so never go too heavy on fertilizers. 

 

Repotting

To make sure the soil is refreshed and the plant has space to grow, repot it after two years in the spring season. 

 

Pruning

Pruning is a great technique to force your plant to produce more leaves. 

You can also remove the diseased or yellow leaves while trimming the foliage of this Caladium.  

 

Propagation

Propagation is the perfect way to have more free plants in your collection. Caladium Blaze is best propagated via the division method. 

The newly propagated plant should be kept in a stable atmosphere with optimum light and temperature. 

  • Wear gloves while handling this plant during propagation as it is toxic. 
  • Start the process by disinfecting all the tools that will be used for propagation. You’ll need a pruning shear or cutters. They should be thoroughly dipped in rubbing alcohol to keep the bacteria or fungus away from getting into the plant system. 
  • Rinse your tools with water, and they are ready to use. 
  • I would recommend growing the divided bulbs in a greenhouse if you have one. This ensures the right balance of light, temperature, and humidity. Potted Caladium Blaze is easier to propagate with the division method as the root system is confined in the container.
  • Avoid watering your plant right before propagation; otherwise, the soil will be soggy and difficult to remove. 
  • Loosen the soil by tapping the pot’s sides. Once you feel the soil has loosened from the edges, turn the pot upside down, and your plant will pop out with the soil.
  • If your Caladium was in a large container and the tapping method does not work, you can remove the plant by digging the soil.
  • Locate a group of stems on the mother plant. Each group grows its own foliage, so this is where you divide the plant.
  • The next step is to separate these groups and make sure each group has roots attached to it. 
  • Each division should be transferred to a separate pot so you will have lots of colorful plants to keep everywhere or share with others.
  • Tie the stem with a wooden stick to help it stand straight in the new pot. 
  • You can also use the Caladium bulbs instead of stems for propagation. Bury the bulb in an appropriate potting mixture. 
  • Plants become sensitive after propagation so take special care during the initial days. Water it well, and you will soon see leaves sprouting from the bulbs or new growth on the stems.

If you are curious about learning more about propagating a Caladium, you can read our article about how to propagate Caladium

 

Blooms

This plant is mostly loved for the showy leaves, and most home gardeners have not seen any blooms on it. 

According to some sources, this variety produces white or green flowers in the summer season.

 

Growth

The heart leaves are medium or large-sized, so once mature, this plant creates a bushy display of colored leaves. 

It will stand out among other spring and summer plantings in your garden with the multicolored foliage. The maximum size is around 1 to 1.5 ft. 

 

Over Wintering the Caladium Blaze

I would suggest digging and overwintering the bulbs if you want to enjoy the red-colored beauty again next year. This method is necessary for Caladium Blaze growing in USDA hardiness zone 8 or lower. 

For higher zones, you can leave the plant in soil and wait for it to show up again when the temperature warms up in spring. 

The plant should be over-winterized before the temperature starts dropping below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius). 

Only dig the plant after the foliage yellows or falls down. Wash the root system with a water hose to loosen the soil. 

After making sure all the dirt and soil have been removed, let the bulb cure in your garage or garden shed for about 2 weeks. 

Remove the remaining leaves and wrap the bulb in peat moss and sphagnum moss. Store the bulb at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit (7-10 degrees Celsius) room temperature. 

Potted Caladium Blaze should be brought inside when the weather gets cold. You should avoid feeding or watering it in the dormant stage. 

 

Common Problems for Caladium Blaze

 

Bulb Rotting

The texture of rot can help you decide whether it was fungus or bacteria. Bacterial infection results in a slimy rot, whereas fungal infection results in chalky rot. 

No matter the type, the root cause behind rotting is overwatering. The extra water in the soil helps the bacteria or fungus thrive. 

Keep your Caladium Blaze away from moisture for few days. It’s best to replace the overwatered soil mixture with a fresh mix of soil. 

 

Leaf Spots

Xanthomonas causes the leaf spots on Caladium Blaze. This bacteria grows in moist conditions. To avoid bacterial leaf spots, avoid leaving water on the foliage. 

You should also increase spacing among plants so that there is adequate airflow around the Caladium. 

 

Tips for Growing Caladium Blaze

  • If you plan to grow the Caladium Blaze from bulbs, they should be planted only after the threat of frost has passed. 
  • After digging up the bulbs, store them in a cardboard box (with holes) or paper bags to help them breathe. Avoid using plastic bags and regularly inspect the bulb for any sign of rotting. 
  • Partially shaded locations guarantee the right light levels for growing this plant.
  • If you started the plant indoors, it is important to harden it off in indirect sunlight before planting it outside. The plant should be protected from harsh wind, sunlight and chill during this period.
  • If the soil temperature is higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius), you can add a layer of mulch to cool down the soil. 
  • Over-fertilizing a potted Caladium Blaze can kill the bulbs because all the nutrients are trapped within the potting mixture. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Caladium Blaze Care

 

Why should you soak the Caladium Blaze bulbs prior to planting?

Soaking the bulbs will give them an early start. Submerge the bulbs in warm water for about an hour. This stored water will be what the bulbs use to grow when they’re planted. 

 

What is the ideal spacing for planting multiple Caladium Blaze bulbs in the garden or landscape?

Multiple plants of Caladium Blaze in the garden definitely will beautify it. Space them at 12 inches or 30 cm for airflow and root development. 

 

Is this plant toxic for my pets? 

Keep your furry friends away from the leaves of this plant as they contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals. Consumption can irritate the mouth and esophagus of your pet.

 

What is the USDA hardiness zone for this Caladium variety?

This tender perennial is hardy in USDA hardiness zone 9 or above that. The cold can ruin the plant, but you can dig the bulbs up and store them later when you replant them.  

 

What temperature is suitable for starting the Caladium Blaze bulbs indoors?

Pre-sprouting the bulbs indoors gives you a head start, but you need to maintain adequate temperatures for it. I have successfully sprouted the Caladium Blaze indoors in temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 23.8 degrees Celsius). 

 

Conclusion

Caladium Blaze is an easy plant, and with little maintenance, it will last for several years. This variegated Caladium is perfect for mass or large container plantings. 

The striking combination of olive, bronze, red, and pink is to die for. 

One or two pots of Caladium Blaze will adorn your landscape or driveway.