The Caladium plant offers a range types, making it a popular choice for those wanting to add different splashes of colour to their collection.
Native to Central and Southern America and part of the Araceae family, in the wild the Caladium grows along the river beds and under the canopies in the rain forest.
The Caladium “Thai Beauty” is a striking variant of this plant with pink leaves and green veins.
The Thai Beauty ended up being created as a hybrid in Thailand, hence it is also known by the local name “Hok Long”.
This gorgeous tubular perennial can be cared for at home with some special tips specific to the plant.
- 1 Caladium Thai Beauty Care
- 2 Common problems with the Caladium Thai Beauty
- 3 Frequently asked questions about the Caladium Thai Beauty
- 4 Conclusion
Caladium Thai Beauty Care
The Caladium “Thai Beauty” grows best in dappled light or shade. Comfortable in temperatures over 65 degrees Fahrenheit (around 18°C), it cannot tolerate frost or very dry environments. Water around once a week, ensuring the soil remains moist. Be careful however of overwatering, and always ensure your plant is not sitting in a pot of pooled water. The Caladium “Thai Beauty” also requires a well-draining, peaty soil, with a pH of 6 or above.
It is fair to say this plant has a wow factor. Known by a variety of names, including the “Fancy Leafed Caladium”, the Caladium in general is always a welcome addition to any garden or houseplant collection.
But the Thai Beauty? Wow! Consisting of stunning – at times almost translucent – pink leaves backed up with striking green veins, they sure are unusual.
The heart-shaped leaves grow directly out of the underground tubers, and can sometimes also have a white hue.
The Caladium Thai Beauty does not have flowers as such, the main feature being the stunning leaves that produce foliage cover. You can expect the gorgeous pink leaves to be on show from spring through to autumn.
Growth accelerates as the soil temperature heats up. As winter approaches, the leaves might fall off and the plant will die back underground to rest, especially in colder climates.
But don’t worry! This is a perennial, so you can expect to begin to see shoots poking their head above soil in the early spring again.
The Caladium plant thrives at best in conditions that replicate those it experiences in the wild. The native plants grow under the rainforest canopies of Central and South America.
Not surprising then that the Caladium Thai Beauty too likes dappled light, and can thrive in partial shade. With slightly thicker leaves than some other variants – such as the Caladium Candidum – it can tolerate a small amount of direct sunlight.
However, as with all Caladiums, you’ll need to be careful. Sunburn is a real risk for this plant, so best to ensure you can provide dappled light with good shade in high sun.
Since the plant thrives in shady spots, use it to brighten up areas of your garden that don’t get a lot of light.
The watering guidelines for the Caladium Thai Beauty mirror those applicable to other variants of the species. Since the parent plant grows along the bank of the river in the rainforest, you want to try to create these conditions for your Thai Beauty.
What does that mean? Well, you want to have the soil constantly moist, but never soggy. So, water the plant as much as required to maintain damp soil, but make sure you don’t over water. About once a week should be sufficient.
The plant should never be left to sit in a waterlogged pot of water. Oh, and you won’t need to water it during the dormant winter period. Just pick up with your regular routine in spring when you bring the plant back out.
If you are planting outside, you’ll also need to make sure your Caladium Thai Beauty is not at risk of becoming waterlogged. Control of this is dependent on two factors – the condition of the soil, and the location in which you are planting.
If you live in an area that is prone to large amounts of rainfall, you’ll need to ensure that water doesn’t end up pooling in the soil for an extended period of time.
Now you have learned about the water requirements of the Thai Beauty, you’ll understand the ideal soil conditions a bit better.
It is clear that good drainage is important here, but you also want something that can stay damp in between watering.
That’s an interesting combination that you will need to get right from the beginning. We find that a mix of soil and peat can provide these conditions. Mix about 50-50 and you will be OK.
Better if you can maintain a slightly acidic composition, with a pH of around 6
If planting outside, a good way to check if the location will be suitable for a Caladium Thai Beauty is to check the soil about 5 hours after a heavy downpour.
If you see water pooling in the soil at this point, your caladium probably won’t like it. Extended exposure to pooled water will cause the underground tubers to begin to rot.
Either pick a different location, or change the soil consistency with a mix of organic material to make for better drainage.
With the parent plant native to Central and South America, and the hybrid originating in Thailand, it is not surprising the Thai Beauty loves warm environments.
The ideal temperature in which to keep your plant will be over 65 degrees Fahrenheit (around 18 C.) Be careful even in the spring that the danger of frost is well away – in some regions you can get random attacks of frost weeks after you thought the worst of the winter had passed.
If keeping it outside, you will need to bring the plant indoors before the first frost, if this is something your area experiences. Generally, it will have died back anyway.
You can keep the tubers stored indoors in an area of low light over the winter, and bring back again as the temperatures increase in spring.
Be careful in the dormant period of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees centigrade). This can badly affect the next season’s growth and result in delays in sprouting of up to 6 weeks.
Given the origin of this species, this plant enjoys high levels of humidity. It can therefore be difficult to replicate these conditions indoors.
This is particularly true for the winter months, when modern heating systems create particularly “dry” indoor conditions. Some recommend moving the plant into the bathroom over winter if you are trying to keep it from going dormant.
Note though, it is best to let the plant die back. Caladiums need a rest period so as not to exhaust their carbohydrate stores. This will guarantee you strong growth and colour in the next growing season.
The propagation of a Thai Beauty Caladium comes from the tubers. It is relatively easy to do, and generally recommended in the spring. Once you have un-potted the plant, check for any tubers that have generated their own root.
You can separate these little guys easily and pot them in their own tubs. Then, it’s all about creating the ideal conditions mentioned above to ensure your new shoots thrive!
The Caladium “Thai Beauty” will grow under optimal conditions to between 15” and 20”. You may find growth slow in spring, but it will soon accelerate as the temperatures warm up.
It won’t be long until you see the first shoots appearing. Note, that if your tubers were exposed to very low temperatures over the dormancy period, you might be disappointed with the initial growth.
Extremely low temperature can cause a delay to the first shoots – in some instances even up to 6 weeks. This can also be true for newly acquired tubers that might have been stored or transited over winter by suppliers.
You might wish to grow your Thai Beauty in a pot. There are a number of advantages for this. Firstly, it is easier to move indoors if you are experiencing low temperatures but the plant is still in bloom.
It is also easier to control shading and light requirements for this sun sensitive plant. Either way, you will find the plant grows quickly once it takes off, provided you ensure the soil and temperature needs are met.
The Caladium family is toxic to animals and humans. For pets particularly, the calcium oxalate crystals within the leaves and the stems are the issue.
If you suspect your pet or child has ingested any part of the plant, seek medical attention immediately. If possible, keep your Thai Beauty Caladium in an area that cannot be accessed by curious pets and kids.
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Common problems with the Caladium Thai Beauty
Diseases common to the Caladium species in general
Certain types of fungus can attack the plant if you don’t keep an eye on it. This is particularly true for the underground tubers. They are often affected by Pythium and Rhizoctonia, which can lie in the dormant tubers over winter waiting to attack.
You can take a simple precaution against this before storing your tuber for winter. Place the tubers in water heated to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees C) for around 30 minutes, then dry before storage.
The Thai Beauty, like other variants, generally experiences low levels of pest invasion. Look for ragged leaves or small holes, and you might see the odd caterpillar. These can generally be removed by hand.
Aphids too can pay a visit, these you can remove with a water spray and they will usually disappear. Outdoors, grasshoppers seem to love these plants! Ensure you keep a few bird feeders around and you’ll find the problem abates pretty quickly.
The underground tubers are a desirable food for rabbits, squirrels and deer. Even if you keep your Thai Beauty in a pot, you may find it has been dug up one morning!
Fencing off the area can help, but squirrels in particular will be able to navigate this challenge. You can try to put some fabric mesh or wire under and above the tubers in the ground. This should help deter any digging from either end.
Keep the Thai Beauty out of full sunlight. Dappled shade as we have mentioned is best. If you do not adhere to this rule, you may find brown burned patches on the delicate leaves.
Don’t fear if this happens once – simply cut off the burned leaves and move the plant. You will find that the next leaf growth is usually unharmed by the experience.
Frequently asked questions about the Caladium Thai Beauty
Why has my Caladium Thai Beauty died?
Are you sure it has died, or has it just “died back”? This is normal behaviour for the Caladium species. Generally, they go into a dormant period over winter. Store them in a dark place until spring, then bring them out and water them. You’ll soon see green shoots appearing!
What are the Caladium Thai Beauty Origins?
The parent plant has origins in Central and Southern America. The Thai Beauty is a hybrid, coming recently out of Thailand. Rumour has it that is was requested by the Thai Royal Family. The plant shares many common features with other Caladiums, but the leaves tend to be slightly waxier.
Can I grow my Caladium Thai Beauty inside?
You can grow your Thai Beauty indoors, but it can be difficult to maintain optimal conditions. This is particularly true of the humidity requirements of this plant, as it needs high levels.
Especially over winter, heated indoor interiors can be very dry. Try keeping it in the bathroom if you wish, or let the plant fall into the typical dormancy period. It will come back with vigour in the spring anyway!
Look after this beauty by following the above tips and you can expect to have months of beautiful pink leaves from spring through to fall.
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.