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Sweetheart Caladium Care – All You Need to Know!

Sweetheart Caladium Care – All You Need to Know!

I’m a huge fan of plants with colorful foliage. Now, I’ll share about one of my favorite pink-leafed Caladium

It’s a pink lance leaf Caladium. This rosy pink Caladium is an actual sweetheart. It adds a charming look to your garden or indoor setting. 

They have heavy variegation, which makes them stand out among regular green plants. This Caladium variety’s oftentimes referred as Caladium Hortulanum. 

Traditional Caladiums are found growing in South and Central America. This species is an interspecific hybrid plant. 

This plant is not just stunning but also rare to find. Whether you focus on the color, leaf shape, and pattern, there is so much drama about this plant. 

No other plant offers so many features with an easy-care schedule. One thing to remember about Caladiums is that they have no tolerance against frost. 

You can either grow this Caladium variety in pots or in a landscape. The beauty of this plant can win anyone’s heart with the ruffled red leaves!

 

Sweetheart Caladium Care

When grown indoors, indirect sunlight is best, but outdoors it should be kept in full or partial shade. The temperature range for it is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.2 to 29.4 degrees Celsius), and humidity of at least 50% is needed.

 

Soil

This plant can tolerate acidic, sandy, loamy, or clayey soil. But, it shouldn’t mean you won’t put some effort into creating a suitable soil mixture for it. 

Your soil mixture should be rich and well-draining. The bulbs should be panted 1-2 inches deep in the soil. 

This Caladium”s hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. If you are situated in zones lower than this, you should bring the plant inside in winter or dig up the bulbs. 

Most growers have noticed that this plant produces few leaves if planted in compacted soil. Therefore I would recommend planting the bulbs in a porous and loose soil mixture. 

 

Water

Watering the plant right after planting is important to trigger growth. 

But remember trying to keep the soil moist will also make it prone to overwatering, so find the right balance based on the growing environment. 

This plant is of a tolerant nature, but it does not like extra water in the soil. This tropical plant should be watered every week. The exact frequency varies on the temperature and light. 

You can easily check the moisture of a potted Sweetheart Caladium by inserting the finger in the top 2 inches of the soil surface. If it’s dry, water it immediately; otherwise, check back later. 

This Caladium should be grown in a moist soil medium, so regular watering is needed throughout the growing months. If it’s growing in a hanging basket or a container, it will require more water. 

Don’t leave the soil completely dry in the active season. I would suggest following a strict schedule to make sure you never miss watering. 

Winter is an exception, and Caladiums should not be watered after dormancy until spring arrives. 

 

Light

If you have already grown some Caladiums, you know that they love the shade. But this variety can handle more light than others. It can tolerate few hours of morning or evening sunlight.

It should be planted in the shaded corner of your garden bed. Direct sunlight is a big no for this plant as it burns and scorches the gorgeous leaves.  

This plant prefers partial shade or filtered sunlight when growing indoors and outdoors. 

You can transfer this plant to a semi-shaded spot in your front yard or garden when the last spring frost has passed. You can also use shaded window boxes to grow them in. 

 

Temperature

This is a heat-tolerant plant that loves to grow in hot climates. It thrives in temperatures of about 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.2 to 29.4 degrees Celsius). 

Avoid planting the tubers in the ground until the temperature at night is higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius). Planting the tubers in frozen or cold soil will kill them. 

It can also serve as a winter houseplant if protected from cold temperatures. The pink and green in this plant will give a warm touch to your house in winter. 

 

Humidity

Just like heat, this plant also loves the humidity. Never let the air humidity drop lower than 50%. Frequently mist the plant to humidity the environment. 

If misting on a daily basis is an issue, you can permanently keep the plant in a humid area of your house like the bathroom or kitchen. 

You can also use a water-and-pebble-filled shallow plate to increase humidity. 

 

Fertilizer

This plant will love a light dose of fertilizer in the growing months. It will help in fighting stress and keeping it healthy. 

You can use a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer that has a high ratio of potassium and phosphorus. 

Feed the Caladium plant with a slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. For liquid or foliar feeding, repeat the application after 8 to 15 days. 

Stop feeding the plant in autumn and winter. 

 

Repotting

The Sweetheart Caladium should be repotted after 2 or 3 years to help it grow more leaves. 

Repotting should be done at the end of the winter in early spring. 

 

Pruning

Your plant will lose most of the leaves in the fall. Pruning will get rid of the dying or yellowing leaves

You should also perform pruning when winter ends to cut back the remaining foliage. 

You might break a petiole or two while pruning the plant. Don’t be disheartened because you didn’t lose the leaf. 

If some brown part of the bulb is still attached to the bottom end of the petiole, it can be used for propagation. 

 

Propagation

Propagation should be done in spring using the division method. Prepare all your tools after washing them with a dish soap mixture or rubbing alcohol to get rid of harmful bacteria. Soak them for 30 minutes. 

Loosen the soil around the pot’s edge to take the plant out. After removing all the soil from the root system, trim any damaged parts in the root system. You should also trim damaged foliage. 

Divide each bulb into separate sections and replant in new pots. I always dust the bulbs with a fungicide to prevent infection in newly divided bulbs. 

Take special care of the new bulbs in terms of temperature, water, and light. 

Individual petioles with leaves and bulbs can be propagated in soil or water. If you don’t have room for a full plant, you can simply enjoy a petiole with one or more leaves. 

 

Blooms

Apart from the showy leaves, this plant can also bloom from July till the first frost. But blooming takes lots of effort, and you’ll need to replicate its natural environment. 

The flowers of this plant have no ornamental significance. 

If your Sweetheart Caladium grows spathe-like flowers, I would recommend trimming them so all the energy is used for producing healthy leaves. 

 

Growth

This strap leafed Caladium grows large leaves, but the plant itself stays compact. This bushy plant has thick foliage. The leaves also have frills at the edges. 

Each and every leaf on the Caladium Sweetheart has a green border. Once mature, this plant looks very photogenic, so I would recommend keeping it with other houseplants in your house. 

A popular variety of this Caladium is Florida Sweetheart, developed by the University of Florida. It was created to withstand the harsh weather of Florida.

The center of the leaves shifts from bright pink to baby pink and white. You’ll also notice the dark pink veins.  Even the stems are bubblegum pink. 

This plant grows vigorously in summer. The green leaves with a rosy pink center is a showstopper in your garden. 

The broad, colorful leave will keep your garden alive when everything else dies in the summer heat. 

The mature height for this plant is 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45.7 cm), while its width is around 15 inches (38 cm). 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Common Problems for Sweetheart Caladium

This plant will only be bothered by pests like aphids, spider mites, and scales that too rarely. All these are sap-sucking pests that will slowly chew all the foliage on the plant. 

They do not pose any serious threat. However, leaving them on the plant means you will have ugly foliage. Continuous feeding will also weaken the plant system. 

Start treating them with a water hose. This will wash away a large population of pests. 

Now use oil, neem oil, or horticulture soap to wipe the leaves. This kills the remaining pests, but it requires multiple applications. 

We have a detailed article about using neem oil for houseplants. 

 

Tips for Growing Sweetheart Caladium

  • Spread some straw or mulch to lock moisture in the soil if the temperature is too high. You can also spray the leaves to keep the Sweetheart Caladium happy. 
  • Overwintered bulbs should be stored in a dry, frost-free location. 
  • Maintain at least 12 inches of spacing if more than one bulb is planted. 
  • This plant should be protected from sun damage, whether it’s young or mature. 
  • When the dormancy starts after shedding the leaves, stop watering the Sweetheart Caladium and move it to a warm location. 
  • This plant should be mix and matched with other variegated Caladiums for a powerful display of colors and greenery. Remember, this gorgeous plant will pop out against any background. 
  • Whether it’s day or night, this plant needs warm temperatures at all times. 
  • If you want to grow it as a patio plant, place it in a slightly shaded location that gives protection from sun and wind. 
  • If your region experiences very cold temperatures, it would be better to plant it in pots or containers, so it’s easier to move them inside. 
  • The overwintered bulb should be kept in a paper bag or a loose mixer of compost. 
  • This plant is toxic, hence, must be kept out of children and pets’ reach. 
  • This plant can tolerate urban pollution, so growing it in cities can bring a touch of nature. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Sweetheart Caladium Care

 

What is the best spot for this colorful Caladium?

You can grow it anywhere in your garden or indoor pots where it’s protected from the sun. They look best around the edges of the garden bed, shade garden, and with other perennials. The pink leaves create a colorful display when planted among other green houseplants. 

 

What causes dry leaf edges on the Sweetheart Caladium?

Dry leaf edges or a wilted plant means the soil is too dry. Revise your watering schedule and water your Sweetheart Caladium more frequently. 

 

What’s the most common overwatering sign for this plant?

If you notice that leaves are turning entirely brown or have irregular brown patches, it means your Caladium has been overwatered. 

 

What is the active growth season for this Caladium variety?

The Sweetheart Caladium keeps producing leaves from spring to fall. It grows really fast during this time. 

 

When should you resume watering and feeding for a dormant Sweetheart Caladium?

When the risk of frost damage is over in the spring, you can move the dormant plant to a location with bright light. You should resume watering at this point. 

 

Why is the new growth on my Sweetheart Caladium losing all its color?

Your Caladium plant’s suffering from too little sunlight. Relocate the Sweetheart to a new location with better lighting but still protected from the direct harsh sun. 

 

Conclusion

Try it once, and your garden will soon be the talk of the town because this exotic plant is admired by gardeners and non-gardeners. 

Home and professional gardeners believe that it is one of the most tolerant summer plants. 

With layers of symmetrical and colorful leaves, Sweetheart Caladium is a top recommendation for exotic plant collectors. It goes well with other ferns, foliar and annual plants in your garden. 

The only negative about this plant is the toxicity, but that won’t be an issue if you keep it away from kids and pets.