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Florida Cardinal Caladium Plant Care — Tips You Should Know

Florida Cardinal Caladium Plant Care — Tips You Should Know

A relatively new Caladium, the Florida Cardinal, is a sight to behold. With red to scarlet-colored leaves enhanced by emerald green margins, the plant significantly improves the look of patios, decks, and balconies. 

Often grown for its foliage, the Florida Cardinal Caladium is exactly what you need in your houseplant collection.

The Florida Cardinal is a plant from the red, fancy leaf Caladium category, under the Arum family, colloquially popular as the aroids. 

The plant flourishes in several American states, including Florida. It also produces foliage all year long, making your garden look colorful and elegant.

The Florida Cardinal Caladium prefers tropical to subtropical climates. However, when grown in artificial environments like those in houses, the plant still manages to thrive exceptionally well. 

But for maintaining a healthy and progressive growth pattern, the Florida Cardinal Caladium must be kept in ideal growing conditions. 

We have prepared this simple guide outlining all the important tips and tricks for growing a happy Florida Cardinal to make things easier for you.

 

Florida Cardinal Caladium Plant Care

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant likes full shade to bright, dappled sunlight. It flourishes in high moisture and fertile, organic soils containing peat moss. Frequent watering and fertilizing help the plant reach its maximum potential. The temperature for the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant needs to be kept above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius).

 

Soil

The right soil type is an absolute game-changer for plants, including the Florida Cardinal Caladium. 

With the right components in the right amount, the plant reaches maturity reasonably quickly while staying healthy and productive. 

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant enjoys warm, well-draining, moist soils that contain plenty of organic matter

You can add dried, chopped leaves or mushroom compost. If you have another Caladium plant’s healthy leaves from pruning, you may add them to increase soil fertility. 

To retain moisture, a critical factor for the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant, I suggest putting mulch or sawdust in your potting mix. 

To ensure that the soil is evenly moist at all times, keep an eye on the soil’s top layer; this often tells if the soil is sufficiently humid or dry.

To minimize the probability of infections, avoid using heavy, clay-like soils. Such soils hold excessive water, increasing the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant’s susceptibility to fungal and bacterial infections.

 

Water

When it comes to the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant, another important growth determinant is water. 

It is pretty common to mistakenly underwater or overwater the Caladium plant, and it might be too late by the time you notice the outcome. Therefore, knowing exactly how much water to add is important. 

The Florida Cardinal Caladium likes being watered regularly. You can water it every two days, especially if the plant is in sunlight, or every three days, if it is in deep shade. 

In contrast, water the Florida Cardinal Caladium daily if your area has an intensely hot climate. 

The goal is to maintain a water level of two to three inches per week, similar to the plant’s native environment. 

An inconsistent or incorrect watering schedule can lead to a long list of problems, including yellow leaves and wilting. 

I also recommend using room-temperature water kept overnight to eliminate chlorine and other toxins.

 

Light

Sunlight is your plant’s best friend if you want a healthy and colorful Florida Cardinal Caladium plant. 

The sun’s rays help the plant form vibrant foliage as well as blooms that are long-lasting and fairly disease-resistant.

Furthermore, it helps carry out photosynthesis, which ultimately enables the plant to reproduce and repair.

The Florida Cardinal Caladium likes deep shade to bright, dappled sunlight. Most varieties prefer the latter, as these settings are easy on the plant and simultaneously help it thrive. 

Deep shade is also a good option; however, it is more suitable for the Florida Cardinal Caladiums growing in areas with intense sunlight.

Indoors, you can keep the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant next to west or south-facing window for filtered sunlight. 

On the other hand, outdoors, I suggest placing it under a patio or covered balcony. Gardens with trees are also a suitable option.

If you cannot find appropriate light settings indoors or outdoors for the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant, grow it under artificial growing lights. 

 

Temperature

Keep temperatures for the Florida Cardinal Caladium above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius).

Warm temperatures are imperative for growing the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant. 

It naturally grows in tropical to subtropical regions, and so the plant prefers temperatures higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius). 

Ideally, keep it where the temperature exceeds 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). 

If you grow the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant in temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius), it is highly likely to shed leaves and lose its turgidity.

Growing the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant will not be much of an issue if your area has a temperate climate. 

However, if you reside in a cold and dry area, things may be relatively tougher. Simply bring your Florida Cardinal Caladium indoors when the scale drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit to solve this problem.

You may even keep it at a safe distance from the heater to keep its surroundings warm. However, make sure it is well away from cold wind drafts. 

 

Humidity

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant thoroughly enjoys high humidity. In its native rainforest regions, it receives over two inches of rain per week, which keeps the soil as well as the surroundings pretty moist. 

Thus, in its artificial growing environment, it expects the same.

Please keep the humidity level higher than 50% for the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant. Anything lower will most likely result in adverse effects, such as discolored foliage and failure to thrive. 

You may use a humidifier or put all your houseplants in one room for fair moisture distribution to increase humidity levels. 

To accurately measure the room’s moisture, buy a moisture meter. To further enhance the humidity, mist your Florida Cardinal Caladium plant.

 

Fertilizer

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant is not a heavy feeder. In fact, it may survive even if you fertilize it only twice during the growing season, unlike most of the Caladiums that like to be fed monthly. 

However, for the greatest results, a proper fertilization schedule is essential. 

Feed the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant every two to three weeks with a high-quality liquid fertilizer that has a balanced NPK (nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium) ratio. 

Some gardeners advise using a low-phosphate fertilizer for optimum foliage color.

Alternatively, you can apply a slow-release fertilizer every month to wet soil, but be sure to work it into the soil for efficient absorption. 

Both feed types are suitable; however, liquid, instant release fertilizers mostly perform better.

Please refrain from overfertilizing your Florida Cardinal Caladium plant. 

An overly-fed plant will cause the leaves to become greener and lose their characteristic red and white central colors, the feature that makes it most appealing. 

The plant also suffers if the fertilizer is applied directly onto its leaves. 

Therefore, maintain an appropriate feeding schedule and remain consistent for optimal productivity.

 

Repotting

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant does not demand frequent repotting. Changing its pot after a good two to three years is sufficient to maintain a progressive growth pattern.

However, refreshing the soil’s nutrients is imperative, and this may have to be done sooner than two years. 

Repot your Florida Cardinal Caladium when you see its roots poking out of the bottom or outside, around the pot’s borders. 

The plant itself will also most likely grow much slower than normal, and the pot will drain almost all the water you add.

I suggest repotting the Florida Cardinal Caladium into a one-inch larger pot with three or more drainage holes. Additionally, the Florida Cardinal is toxic, so please wear gloves while handling it.

 

Pruning

Pruning the Florida Cardinal Caladium becomes necessary when it forms dead, damaged, or discolored foliage. 

The plant’s growth may not be affected; however, its aesthetic value drops if not cut back when needed. 

Getting rid of diseased and unruly vines is also a good way to stop the spread of infection. 

Furthermore, pruning promotes faster growth as the plant’s energy is directed more towards the younger foliage after removing older leaves.

Please remember to clean each of your pruning tools before using them on your plants. You may disinfect them with bleach or alcohol; this will limit the transfer of infections.

 

Propagation

For successful propagation, plant the Florida Cardinal Caladium in the spring season, when the soil is at 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).

You will need a mature Florida Cardinal Caladium plant, knife, water, appropriate soil mix, and digging tools. 

  • Start with taking out your Florida Cardinal Caladium from its container or soil, if outdoors. 
  • Cut the plant into half or more sections if it is very thick.
  • Gently shake the Florida Cardinal Caladium to rid it of excess mud on the roots and stems.
  • Now look for healthy tubers with some roots.
  • Carefully separate the tubers with a knife and shorten each tuber’s roots slightly. 
  • Next, put the tuber in the prepared soil mix containing organic matter (worm casting, peat moss, etc.)
  • Now set the roots in the soil, ensuring that they are untangled and evenly spread out. 
  • Add some more soil around the tuber and set it with your fingers.
  • Now put some water so that the soil remains moist. You may also add mulch.

Put the Florida Cardinal Caladium in bright, dappled sunlight if you plan to grow it immediately. 

However, if the environment is not warm enough, place it in a dark and dry room till the temperature is high enough. 

Additionally, refrain from adding fertilizer in the first two to three weeks, but keep the soil moist.

 

Blooms

The Caladiums do not produce showy, large flowers. They are mainly grown for their foliage; thus, gardeners mostly discourage growing flowers.

The blooms typically are inflorescence type and form in the summer season. The flower is called a spadix, which is either accompanied by or partially enclosed in a spathe. 

The flowers do not have significant aesthetic value.

 

Growth

The Florida Cardinal Caladium has a moderate growth rate. 

Ideally planted in the spring, the plant thrives in the summer season when the soil and weather are warm, higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius).

When planted in deep shade to partial sunlight, the plant reaches a height of 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.7 centimeters) and spreads to about 15 inches (38 centimeters). 

The Florida Cardinal Caladium grows easily through USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. For adequate growth, plant each bulb with a spacing of 6 inches (15 centimeters). 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Common Problems for Florida Cardinal Caladium

 

Leaf Discoloration

The Florida Cardinal Caladium plant is popular for its foliage color. Therefore, if the plant’s leaves lose their characteristic red central region with green borders, it drops most of its charm and value.

Various reasons can cause this may occur; one reason is excessive fertilization. Due to surplus minerals, the leaves develop a deep green color entirely, eliminating the red color. 

Other causes are exposure to direct sun rays and applying fertilizer to leaves directly instead of the roots.

To prevent leaf discoloration, fertilize the plant only when needed or follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging. 

Moreover, keep the plant in bright, dappled sunlight and apply feed to wet soil only.

 

Insects and Pests

The Florida Cardinal Caladium is a fairly disease-resistant plant. However, it may fall prey to various insects and pests occasionally. 

Its frequent attackers include caterpillars and aphids, which feed on the plant’s cell sap or nibble on its leaves.

An infected plant will most likely have foliage with ragged margins or abnormal-looking leaves. They also lower the yield and strip the Florida Cardinal Caladium plant of its nutrients.

To treat such a plant, handpick the creatures as soon as you see them. Moreover, maintain good hygiene and remove weeds promptly.

 

Fungal Diseases

The Florida Cardinal Caladium is quick to catch fungal infections. This happens because either the plant’s tubers have been stored in unfavorable conditions or the plant is kept in excess moisture. 

Frequently, pathogens like Pythium and Rhizoctonia infect it.

To prevent an attack, immerse the Florida Cardinal Caladium’s tubers in hot water, heated to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). Additionally, keep the leaves dry.

 

Tips for Growing Florida Cardinal Caladium

  • Plant in the spring season, when the soil is warm. 
  • Grow the bulbs at a six-inch distance from one another.
  • Plant the tubers at least 2-inches deep.
  • When planting, ensure that the puckered side is facing up.
  • Maintain a regular watering schedule.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Florida Cardinal Caladium Plant Care

 

Which fertilizer is best for Florida Cardinal Caladium?

High-quality fertilizers with low phosphorus and a balanced NPK ratio are ideal for the Florida Cardinal Caladium plants.

 

Can Florida Cardinal Caladiums grow easily in Florida?

The Florida Cardinal Caladium grows exceptionally well in Florida due to the warm compatible weather and adequate moisture. When given the right care, the plant produces vibrant, colorful foliage throughout spring and summer.

 

Do Florida Cardinal Caladiums multiply?

The Florida Cardinal Caladium bulb multiples, producing up to ten bulbs.

 

Conclusion

The Florida Cardinal Caladium is a wonderful houseplant with bi-colored foliage that catches the eye of all observers. 

Easy to grow, the plant likes filtered sunlight, plenty of moisture, and regular watering. Grow this beauty in hanging baskets or warm porches in summer and spring. 

Florida Cardinal Caladium’s toxic to both animals and humans, so please avoid chewing or tasting it.