Caladium plants are known for their foliage and growth cover, and are also referred to as Angel Wings in common vernacular. The general species is a frost intolerant tuberous perennial, and there are many different varieties and sub species.
The Caladium Candidum, amongst other types, is native to South America.
The Caladium grows largely in rainforest environments, under the canopy and by river beds. Grown now across several continents, this stunning plant adds a splash of bright white to any garden or home.
- 1 Caladium Candidum Care
- 2 Common problems with the Caladium Candidum
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Caladium Candidum
- 4 Conclusion
Caladium Candidum Care
Caladium Candidum needs to be set up with a regular care routine in order to thrive. Once you get going, it’s not that challenging, but it does require a little effort at the start. From soil care – you need a well-draining soil – to light – the plant prefers full or part shade – you need to get the basics right. From there it should be plain sailing. And don’t be surprised if you lose your Candidum over winter. This striking plant will die back to rest, with the tubers going into dormancy throughout the season. In cold climates, you may need to bring the tubers indoors to ensure they come back in spring.
Strikingly beautiful leaves on this perennial are the main feature. The Caladium Candidum is known for its beautiful and delicate white variants. Flowers aren’t the main focus of this plant’s beauty – although it does flower on occasion.
No, here the leaves are the show stealing feature, and any flowering is usually hidden anyway.
So delicate that the leaves at times may appear translucent, with striking green veins, this plant sure has a real wow factor. Some parts may also appear with a slight trace of pink too.
Look after your plant correctly by following these tips, and you can expect beautiful leaves from spring through to autumn. The Caladium Candidum is always a topic of conversation when visitors notice its unusual appearance.
The majority of the caladium species prefers light to dappled shade, although some newer variants can tolerate sunlight. For your Caladium Candidum, you’ll need to apply the same rules.
Look at the almost translucent white leaves with the green veins on this stunning plant. You’ll soon see why any direct sunlight would cause a problem.
Being so delicate, any strong sunlight will scorch your Angel Wings. So, whether you grow indoors or outdoors, you need to select an area which is exposed to indirect light, but in which the plant can sit in shade.
If you are growing this gorgeous and striking plant outdoors, it is therefore best to keep it in a container. This will give you more control over the position of the plant, so you can move it around and into shade if required.
Pay attention to how the leaves on your Caladium Candidum grow – if you have particularly thick ones you may get away with a little sun.
But generally they will grow broad and very thin, in which case you need to be really careful they don’t get direct sunlight. Watch out for sun damage to the plant so that you can take immediate recovery action.
Worst case is the damage is unsightly to the affected leaves, but new growth should come out unaffected.
In the wild, you would find the Candidum growing along the riverbanks in the rainforests of South and Central America, so you want to replicate this environment as best you can. Water your plants in the growing season as often as required to keep the soil moist.
Be careful too to not let the soil begin to dry out. Your aim here is to maintain lightly damp soil throughout, but not soggy.
You can stop watering over winter when the tubers rest, and begin again when you see the next season’s leaves beginning to appear. Your watering schedule should be around once a week for optimal conditions.
Look out for signs of overwatering – brown leaves – or under watering – leaves beginning to brown at the edge or wilting.
Now, let’s talk about soil. As with the watering advice, it is best to replicate the conditions this plant enjoys in its natural environment. So, select a mix that drains well but can maintain dampness.
A combination of soil and peat works particularly well. You want a slightly acidic pH ideally, around 5.5 or slightly above.
For outdoor keepers, if you are in an area that gets heavy rainfall on occasion, check your soil after the next big shower. If you see pools of water remaining around 5 hours after the downpour, you need to pick a better position.
Or, you could amend the composition of the soil by mixing in some organic materials. This should help increase the drainage. With that in mind, don’t let the Caladium Candidum rest for any time in pot of water or waterlogged soil. This will cause the tubers and roots to rot.
Caladiums love the warmth, and your Caladium Candidum will be no exception. A tropical plant, it will thrive in warm temperatures. Your little white plant will be delighted with temperatures over 65 degrees Fahrenheit (around 18 C.).
Even in warm zones, the Angel Wings will die back in the winter months.
They do not tolerate frost at all, so many prefer to bring the tubers indoors for storage over the winter. If keeping outdoors, plant in spring when the soil begins to warm up.
Once the temperatures begin to climb as spring progresses to summer, you should begin to see rapid growth.
Being a tropical plant, the Caladium Candidum loves humidity. So it’s quite a challenge replicating that environment indoors, especially as heating systems create quite a dry environment.
I guess the bathroom would provide some level of humidity indoors if you require. But remember, you want the plant to die back in winter.
So don’t go all out trying to keep the environment humid just to keep it alive over winter. If you do not give the tubers the time to rest over winter, the plant will exhaust its carbohydrate stores and die anyway.
Better to have it coming back in the spring refreshed for another season,
Propagating your Caladium Candidum is really easy! The plant takes to division well, and can be attempted even by novice enthusiasts.
Simply unpot your plant and loosen up the soil. Then, separate any stems that have their own root. This is the part that you can replant for propagation.
With your rooted stems now planted in their own individual pots, you can add soil. It is best to do the propagation in the spring as the temperatures begin to warm up.
The Candidum Caladium can grow up to 45 centimetres (up to around 18 inches). As soon as you see leaves beginning to grow, you can begin watering. Sprouting of Caladium Candidum happens usually in spring.
If your tubers were exposed to very low temperatures during the resting period (anything below 45 degrees Fahrenheit) you might experience a delay in growth by up to 6 weeks!
Your Caladium Candidum will grow well in a pot or garden bed, but you will want to lift the tubers out before the first frost, then dry and store them before replanting in the spring.
As mentioned previously, you might want to grow them in pots. This makes it easier to move the pot around if it becomes at risk of being exposed to sunlight.
The Caladium species is toxic to humans and animals, and the Candidum Caladium is no exception. If you have dogs or cats, it is best to keep the plants in an area they cannot access. This is also true for curious children!
If you suspect your pet has consumed any part of the plant at all, you need to take immediate action. Rinse the airways, nose and eyes of your pet and take it immediately to the vet.
Common problems with the Caladium Candidum
This plant has an advantage that it doesn’t usually get too much grief from insects. Sometimes however you may find the odd aphid or caterpillar nibbling at the leaves. Signs of an unwelcome guest can be little holes in the leaves, or ragged edges. You can simply manually remove any troublemakers. If you do by any change get an infestation, a caterpillar repellent might be something to consider. Aphids can be simply hosed off.
Those keeping their Caladium Candidum outdoors may experience problems with grasshoppers.
Be careful NOT to use any grasshopper repellent on your Caladium Candidum, as the likelihood is the leaves will be affected too. Instead, outdoor plant owners can try to attract birds to the garden with feeders and birdhouses.
Outdoor plants can also be affected by unusual visitors such as rabbits, squirrels and even deer! The tubers are ideal food for these guys.
For some reason, however, the white variety of the Caladium – our Candidum – is a bit more resistant to deer than the other types. You might even find the intruders feast on the tubers when they are planted in containers!
This can be really difficult to control, especially the presence of squirrels who are able to climb over any fencing you may establish.
You can try to place wire or mesh below and above the tubers, making it difficult for any animal to dig out from below or above.
Fungus and Disease
A bigger problem than surface pests for the Caladium Candidum are diseases of the growth tubers. Fungus can lie in even tubers that are dormant in the resting period, waiting to strike.
The main pathogens include Pythium and Rhizoctonia. You can avoid this by killing off any potential disease before you store your tubers for winter.
Simply place the tubers in water heated to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit and let them sit for around half an hour. This should do the job in removing any potential harmful agents in the tubers before storage.
Sunburn can be another problem for this plant, especially the white variety – the Candidum – featured here. If exposed to too much sun – even for a short period – you will see damage to the leaves.
The symptoms of sunburn include brown patches. They usually form in the spaces in between the veins, and look quite unsightly.
If you feel you won’t be able to fully control access to sunlight, you may want to go for a variety that tolerates some accidental light better. Red and pink varieties of the Caladium tend to survive better in such environments.
Frequently Asked Questions about Caladium Candidum
Is the Caladium Candidum Toxic?
Yes, the Caladium Candidum is toxic to humans and animals. Be sure to keep the plant away from any curious pets or children!
Can I keep by Caladium Candidum indoors?
You can keep the Caladium Candidum indoors, although it can be challenging to replicate the high humidity conditions required for this plant.
How can I stop my Caladium Candidum dying over winter?
You would need to replicate the temperature and humidity conditions required during the growing season to give the plant the chance to continue over the winter period. But this is not recommended! The Angel Wings need time to rest and enter dormancy, or they will exhaust their carbohydrate stores.
What happened to my Caladium Candidum leaves?
If you see brown spots on your Caladium Candidum leaves, or even holes appearing, it is likely the plant got a sunburn. The red or pink varieties of the Caladium plant perform better in the sun. The white candidum variant does not. Move it to a shady place and you may find that new leaves will be OK.
This beautiful plant needs a little special care to ensure it thrives at its best. Follow these basic steps and you will be able to enjoy the wonderful white leaves of the Caladium Candidum over the growing months!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.