Generally, when it comes to planting, I find Caladium Kathleen the easiest yet the most beautiful plant to begin my planting season with.
I say that because of this plant’s brilliant and appealing colors, little maintenance to grow, and the fact that it is typically repellent to pests.
They are the best choice to pick as an indoor plant as it adds to the beauty of my place.
This plant is best for indoor use, primarily because of its low maintenance. It will work best under sunny conditions; in fact, its blooming time is also from July till the first episode of snow.
Caladium Kathleen belongs to the Araceae family, most commonly known as arums.
They originate in Central America as well as North America and are planted in the summers as they have almost zero capacity to bear the frosting season.
The plant grows little flowers in its blooming season; however, most commonly, they remain hidden under the bright and large salmon-pink-colored leaves.
I find these plants very environment-friendly as they keep the air clean, add to the appearance of my room, and also are super easy to plant indoors as well as outdoors.
The tubers can be dug deep inside the soil or placed in garden containers indoors when the frost arrives. This will help to store the plant until it’s ready to rise again in its distinct season.
Everything about this radiant plant is shared in this guide to help you produce a bountiful Caladium Kathleen.
Caladium Kathleen Plant Care
Caladium Kathleens grows in USDA zone 9 and 10. This Caladium can bear a minimum temperature of 30 to 40 Fahrenheit (-1.1 to 4.4 Celsius). Aim for 65-degree Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) or more for optimal grow. They’re best planted during the summer in acidic soil while watering regularly. Make sure to place this plant in partial shade. Use liquid fertilizers to avoid leaf scorch.
Caladium Kathleen grow best when they are provided with moderately acidic soil, ranging from a pH of 5.5 to 6.2.
Using moist and enriched soil composed of soil and peat, you can embed the plant with almost 8 inches of soil beneath.
The soil used should be damp, enriched with compost, or else, if compost is not accessible, organic mulch can be used.
Organic mulch is referred to as those natural components that can act as a substitute for compost as they decompose naturally and serve the same purpose.
Caladiums need partial sun and partial shade; therefore, it is recommended to plant them indoors.
If that is not a convenient option, growing them outdoors in a container should serve the same purpose by restricting the direct sunlight.
However, if careful monitoring is not done outdoors, the leaves will burn and shrink in no time.
As the leaves broaden in shape, their tolerance for sunlight reduces. Therefore, as the leaves increase in width, take your plant indoors and keep a regular check on its sunlight.
To keep the soil fairly moist, you should keep water it regularly. Beware that you don’t have to water the plant unnecessarily.
Look out for visible dryness of the soil when you touch it. Water it only when you don’t feel the moisture on your finger.
Aim for 65-degree Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) when it comes to Caladiums. The warmer the temperature is, the better it is for the plant.
Make sure that there is no exposure to sunlight once the leaves have shed off. You can either store the tubers in a plastic bag or dig them deep inside the soil until the spring of next year.
Caladium Kathleen requires high humidity. If you have this plant indoors, you can maintain a fairly humid environment by filling a saucer with pebbles and water and placing it under the caladium pot.
The evaporation resulting from this will maintain the humidity for the plant’s efficient growth.
Also, make sure that the plant is not placed near heating vents which may cause wilting of the leaves by blowing the air nearby.
Avoid using granular fertilizers or the ones with strong effects as they may enforce the burning of the foliage.
Use light and liquid fertilizer and apply it away from the leaves to prevent scorching of the foliage. Don’t do this more than once weekly.
Refer to our guide for the best fertilizers for Caladium to learn more about it.
Propagating Caladium Kathleen should not take much of your time or any material.
All you will need are the tubers that you have recently got or the ones that you had kept stored since the last summer.
Simply follow the steps given below to continue:
- Choose a spot in your garden (outdoors) or a place (indoors) where the plant has moderate access to sunlight, not too much and not too low.
- Prepare the soil mix with a little bit of compost or organic mulch and fill the container to about eight inches.
- Next, place the plant bulbs in the soil with an approximate distance of about 8-12 inches.
- Cover the tubers with another inch of enriched soil.
- The plant should begin to bear leaves after about 6 to 8 weeks, once the frost has finished.
Although the Caladiums are grown as plants with clusters of leaves, they may bear fruits at times, beginning with a small pinkish spathe, giving rise eventually to white berries bearing few to many seeds.
I prevent my Caladium Kathleens from weeds with the help of mulch. Weeds can be a disaster if you allow them to grow.
It is always recommended to use mulch so that soil moisture is maintained and weeds are kept at a fair distance from the plant.
Water the plant with a trickle system so that soil is watered evenly and is not under pressure.
Once in full bloom, Caladium Kathleen grows up to 24 inches high and about 60 cm wide.
These plants require rest for about five to six months before rising again from spring to fall.
Ensuring the right amount of sunlight and watering it only when it is dry at the touch are the key components for the sustainable growth of Caladiums.
Common Problems for Caladium Kathleen
Bacterial Leaf Spots
These spots originate as minute holes in the leaf, starting from the midrib towards the ends. These bacterial leafy spots are due to a pathogen called Xanthomonas.
The most common causes of these spots are pH above 7.0, waterlogged soil, or extreme sunlight to the plant.
To prevent these spots from expanding to the other leaves, cut those leaves and do not plant those tubers next time. Also, take care of the watering schedule.
Caused by a dangerous plant fungus named Fusarium exospore, this is a terrible disease for your Caladium that you certainly do not want to experience.
This disease originates in the roots of the tubers and extends itself to the stem up to the leaves. It first causes very little wilting of the leaves, followed by small leaves of the fungus itself.
Once your plant has contracted this disease, there is no going back. You will have to cut down the plant immediately.
However, on a more positive note, if the fungus is in the initial stage, i.e., it has not spread to the leaves yet, you can dip the tubers in an effective fungicide to eliminate the growth of the fungus.
Aphids are yet another problem you may face when caring for a plant such as Caladium Kathleen.
Aphids are insects belonging to the family Aphidoidea, which suck the underside of your brilliant heart-shaped leaves of the Caladium.
To deal with this, you should attract those insects into your garden, which are attracted to aphids, such as wasps, so that these sucking insects are naturally removed from your plants.
Moreover, you can also use light and harmless insecticide spray to get rid of these aphids.
As slugs prefer tender leaves, your Caladium Kathleen may be the perfect treat for them. They usually carry this operation at night when there is no external interruption.
To catch these insects, you can plan a trap for them using a cup of beer or a bowl full of cornmeal.
Slugs love beer; you can use this to your benefit and allow them to feast on it while you put a lid on the cup and trap these small insects.
Cornmeal is indigestible by slugs, and therefore, they will be killed automatically once they swallow it.
As the name suggests, Sunscald refers to the impact strong sunlight has on the leaves.
These extreme and almost intolerable rays of sunlight turn the leaves into brown and white leaves with crispy edges, prone to fall off.
To tackle this issue, simply place the container where the leaves can have exposure to an eastern side or a northern side.
Frequently Asked Questions about Caladium Kathleen
Is it possible to grow beautiful flowers in my Caladiums?
Very rarely, but yes. You don’t have to do anything to grow the flowers, and they automatically will bloom if proper nourishment is provided. However, the plants may cause the leaves to drop off sooner than they are supposed to.
My Caladium tubers have not sprouted, and it has been three weeks. Is it normal?
The caladium tubers have a span of two to twelve weeks to sprout. It all depends on how much sunlight it is provided with, what are the humidity and temperature conditions, and how often the plant is watered.
What is the life span of Caladiums?
A Caladium Kathleen plant has an average lifespan of about five or five and a half months before the frost arrives and they are sneaked back into the soil.
Is chewing Caladium okay for my pet dog?
This plant can be highly fatal to pets. If your pet is displaying any signs of agitation, excessive drooling, or unease, contact your vet at the earliest.
Do Caladiums have any other name?
Caladiums are most commonly known as Elephant Ear Plants in Southern America due to their resemblance with an elephant ear.
Can I divide my Caladiums?
You can. By using the accurate steps given in the article, you can propagate your plant.
My caladiums are shorter than usual. Why is that?
Stunting of Caladiums may be due to higher temperatures when storing the tubers for six months. Make sure your tubers are stored above a temperature of 60 degrees.
How should I plant my Caladium Tubers?
Always plant your tubers with the knobby side on the upside, as this is the place from which the stem will arise. Making this mistake often results in the suspension of Caladiums.
Can Caladiums grow from Seeds?
They can either be cultivated through tubers or seeds. You can conveniently find both at your nearest planting store, especially when you are a citizen of South America.
Can I use Epsom Salt on my Caladiums?
Since Epsom Salt works to increase the content of magnesium in the roots, you can add one tablespoon of Epsom Salt in the soil surrounding one tuber, and it will help in the growth and maintaining the strength.
Due to its friendly impact, little attention required, and the amazing look, Caladium Kathleen proves to be a great plant, indoors as well as outdoors.
Make sure that it is given the right temperature, humidity, water, and sunlight, and this plant will do wonders for you.
Although this plant rarely bears fruit or a flower, the immense coloring in its leaves will have a long-lasting effect on your mood and your wellbeing.
Following the instructions carefully given in this article for the propagation and growth of the plant and preventing any chances of weed and insects, you will find this plant to be a great addition to your garden and have a special place in your heart.
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.