(image credit, IG: sheytheplantlady)
Native to the tropical regions of South America, namely Brazil, Caladium bicolor ‘Red Flash’ is adored for its appearance.
The Caladium bicolor variety ‘Red Flash’ features exquisite leaves of red and green. The red of which appears only in the middle of the plant, almost like blood-pumping veins.
Bordering this unique coloring of the plant’s leaf is dark green. It can often be seen speckled with white or pink.
The Caladium bicolor has been laced with common names that refer to the shape of its leaves. To name a few, this plant is known as the Elephant Ear Plant, the Heart of Jesus, or the Angel Wings Plant.
There are plenty of Caladium variations around. The variety name ‘Red Flash’ is also commonly used to describe this perennial but seasonal bulb.
- 1 Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’) Care Guide
- 2 Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’) Propagation
- 3 Common problems with Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’)
- 4 Frequently asked questions about Caladium ‘Red Flash’
- 5 Conclusion
Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’) Care Guide
Caladium ‘Red Flash’ plants are not as straight forward as some may hope. Although, once you have a care routine in place, it will be hard to do your plant wrong. These seasonal plants require moist, but well-draining soil. Rich and slightly acid soil is ideal but what your soil lacks in nutrients can be made up by regular fertilizing. Angel Wings Plants like to be fed frequently. If their soil is ideal, feeding once every other week will suffice. Humidity is a must and the higher the level the better. Aside from moisture in the air, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ prefers its soil to be kept evenly moist. They do not like to dry out. Keep your Angel Wings Plant out of direct sunlight. They prefer partial to fully shaded areas. But temperatures should ideally always be above 20°C (68°F).
Caladium ‘Red Flash’ plants like to have their soil moist but not soggy. To cater to this preference, you will need to make up a particular soil mix.
An appropriate type of soil to use may be loam. A potting mix of soil and peat will also do your plant well. To avoid sogginess the soil needs to be well-draining.
Additionally, the Angel Wings Plant grows best in soil that is rich and slightly acidic. If the soil is not rich, you should amend it with organic matter such as compost.
Susceptible to leaf burn, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ should be kept out of direct sunlight. However, this plant can adapt to a few other levels of light. And, will even adjust from one to the other if given adequate time.
Kept as a houseplant, you should keep your Angel Wings Plant in a spot with bright but indirect light. If your plant is kept in the garden, the light requirements are slightly different. This is for both Caladium ‘Red Flash’ in pots as well as planted directly into the ground.
As an outdoor or landscaping plant, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ should ideally be kept in a spot that is partially shaded. A fully shaded location will work perfectly well too. Only partial sun exposure is encouraged.
Partial sun exposure refers to only receiving a few hours of morning sunlight. Ideally, your Angel Wings Plant should only be exposed to two to four hours of morning sun.
Interestingly, the colors featured on this plant are known to be more vibrant when it is grown in a shaded area. The Caladium ‘Red Flash’ really is a shade-loving plant!
This beautiful and decorated plant requires quite specific water needs. However, this does not make them difficult to care for. All you have to do is keep a constant check on your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ plant’s soil.
Originating from the tropical area of the Amazon Basin, it is no wonder the Angel Wings Plant wants what it wants. And what it wants is to have its soil kept evenly moist at all times. But not soggy or water-logged!
To avoid waterlogging your Caladium ‘Red Flash’, you need to meet its soil requirements. This entails a soil that is free and well-draining.
You should not allow for your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ plant’s soil to dry out. Signs your plant is thirsty will start to show quite quickly. These signs include droopy leaves.
The watering schedule for your Angel Wings Plant should be adjusted according to where it is kept. Conditions that require schedule change is the climate you are growing as well as where your plant is situated.
The location your plant is in is relevant because the amount of sun your plant gets plays a role in the frequency of watering. Caladium ‘Red Flash’ that is in a full shaded spot will not need to be watered as often as one that is exposed to partial sun.
As this is a seasonal plant, watering during autumn to winter months is not necessary. This time is referred to as the Angel Wings Plant’s dormant or resting period.
Potted plants will require more frequent watering. A tip to retain moisture for your plant is to add mulch to its top layers of soil.
As a guide, you should water your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ every two days. However, it is important that you check your plant’s soil every day. This will avoid accidental drying out.
Being a tropical plant, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is better suited to warmer conditions. Both day and night time temperatures need to be warm. In regions where the night time temperatures are not higher than about 60 in °F (around 16°C), the Angel Wings Plant should be kept as an indoor plant.
If your region meets these minimum temperature requirements at night, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ will be perfectly fine outdoors. It is best to note that these higher evening temperatures need to be met consistently.
Overall, the temperature for your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ should be between 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C).
During the plant’s dormant or rest period in the autumn to winter months, temperatures can be on the cooler side. However, temperatures should never be below 55° (12.5°C). Caladium ‘Red Flash’ does not pair well with frost.
Due to the lack of tolerance for cold, it may be more beneficial to keep the Angel Wings Plant potted even when outdoors. This makes it easy to move your plant indoors when need be, specifically in colder temperatures.
When it comes to humidity, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ could think of nothing better. These plants are lovers of high humidity levels. Not only do they love it, but they also need it. Regular misting is beneficial.
Higher humidity levels are needed to prevent your Angel Wings plant’s leaves from curling. Another problem that arises with a plant that lacks sufficient humidity is the browning of its leaves.
If your plant is not receiving enough humidity as it is, there are a few ways to increase the humidity around your plant. Your first choice may be to try your Angel Wings Plant out in more humid rooms in your house. These include the bathroom or the kitchen.
If moving your plant to one of those locations is not possible or the humidity is still not right your next option is a pebble tray.
Pebble trays are easy to put together and work like a charm. All you need is a tray that will fit your plant’s pot, some pebbles, and water.
Simply fill the tray with pebbles. Next, pour some water on the pebbles. Finally, place your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ on top of the pebbles. And there you have it! All you need to make sure of is that your plant’s pot is sitting on top of the pebbles and not directly on the water.
The pebble tray works in increasing humidity around your plant through evaporation. As the water in the tray evaporates, so the moisture in the air around your Angel Wings Plant is increased. The pebbles are important and they elevate your plant’s pot out of the water.
If either of those options is not viable, there is still the option of surrounding your plant with other plants. This practice creates a miniature greenhouse effect. If all else fails, investing in a small humidifier is your last hope.
When the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is actively growing, fertilizer can be given to your plant every other week. Plant food that is water-soluble and is high in nitrogen works well. However, it should be diluted to only half the recommended strength.
The other way to fertilize the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ plant is by using organic compost. This should take place in the summer.
Be aware though, the Angel Wings Plant does not require an excessive amount of fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can end up causing damage to your plant. The damage caused appears in the form of your plant’s leaves starting to burn.
If the soil your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is in is nutrient deficient, you should fertilize your plant more frequently. Once every week should do your plant well.
The way to propagate your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is by dividing its tubers or bulbs. As they are seasonal plants and die back in winter, their bulbs can be collected and preserved. The following spring, you can replant them.
Although the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is a flowering plant, they are more often grown for their dashing foliage. When these plants bloom, their flowers are often hidden beneath their leaves.
The leaves on the Angel Wings Plant are large with the appearance of being waxy. These plants are considered to quite big and range in heights between 0.6m to 0.9m (2ft to 3ft).
Their spread is generally between 30cm and 60cm (12in and 23.5in).
Caladium ‘Red Flash’ has heart-shaped leaves that feature a red center. The way the color adorns the leaves makes it appear as if an artist has painted the vein-like patterns on.
Surrounding the red is a dark green color that can often be seen speckled with white or pink.
Angel Wings Plants are perennial but seasonal. They are only known to grow from the spring to summer months. When the temperatures begin to drop, this plant starts to die back. But this is completely normal.
After that, Caladium ‘Red Flash’ experience a five or so month-long rest period. This usually lasts the colder autumn to winter months. In the following spring, your plant will likely grow back again.
The Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is a fairly fragile plant. Their leaves are quite thin and are easily damaged when faced with strong winds or even drafts.
This plant is best suited as a potted plant due to its long dormant period. Angel Wings Plants are more than capable of being planted and grown directly from the ground. However, once they die back, you will need to collect their bulbs before the first frost.
You will need to store your plant’s bulb in a warm and dry place. Early in spring, you can replant your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ for it to grow again until the end of summer.
The reason it is beneficial to have your Caladium ‘Red Flash’ potted is you can easily move it around. Therefore, when the cold starts to set in, you can simply move your plant’s pot into a warm, dry spot.
Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’) Propagation
The best method of propagation is dividing the Angel Wings Plant’s tubers. This should ideally be done in the early spring after the plant has had its rest period.
When you are dividing the tuber, you need to ensure at least one growing eye is available. This is where the stem will start to grow.
Common problems with Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’)
Typically these plants are fairly problem-free. The few issues they may experience can be easily avoided.
In direct sun, the plant’s leaves may scorch. Cold temperatures and excessive moisture can lead to root or bulb rot. And as they are delicate plants, exposure to wind may damage the Angel Wings Plant’s leaves.
Tips to keep Caladium bicolor (‘Red Flash’) problem-free
To keep the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ happy is not too difficult to do. Simply meeting your plant’s ideals is all it takes for it to be healthy. This plant does not ask for much other than regular fertilizing.
But for a plant this beautiful, you can’t complain!
Frequently asked questions about Caladium ‘Red Flash’
Is the Angel Wings plant toxic?
The Caladium ‘Red Flash’ is highly toxic to both pets and humans. If ingested, they are known to cause diarrhea, vomiting as well as eye pain. Additionally, they generate a sap that may irritate the skin.
With the kind of elegance this plant portrays, it looks like a piece of art. Caladium ‘Red Flash’ makes for a colorful addition to any indoor or outdoor environment.
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.