Grown from bulbs, not seed or slips, you should plant your bulbs when outdoor temperatures reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
Caladiums are tropical plants that will not come forth until the soil has gotten warm enough.
Like many plants, caladiums require very little care if they are planted at the right time, in the right location, in rich and well-turned soil.
The multi-colored leaves of the caladium make a fine backdrop for other plants or under a tree to take advantage of the larger plant’s shade.
As with all plants, if you get them started right from the beginning, it will ensure that your caladiums thrive during the garden season.
Read on to learn where to plant caladium bulbs for the best results.
Where to Plant a Caladium?
Caladium should be planted in flowerbeds that get full sun in the morning and late afternoon sunshine, along with midday shade. Note where the sun rises and sets. If you don’t have a yard, caladium can be planted in pots and needs to be placed outside or in a greenhouse because it needs humidity to thrive.
Caladiums Need Diffused Sun
Caladiums love sunshine, such as that under trees, bushes and nestled with taller plants that can offer shade. The most important way to successfully grow caladiums is by finding the best location for them that your yard has to offer.
Of course, you can choose to grow your caladium bulbs in a pot, and then you can place them where they grow best. Even in pots, your plants can be placed in the garden with other flowers and plants, because containers are not only for the patio.
Containers also give you the option of moving the plant around and finding where it likes it best. Unfortunately, you do not have that option once your caladiums are growing alongside your other plants.
You can move them, of course, through transplantation, but carrying a container is easier.
When full-grown, caladiums reach a height of 12 to 30 inches, and a few varieties get even larger. Keep this in mind when planting, because you do not want them to hide any plants behind them.
Prepare the Soil Before Planting
Caladiums have a preference for soil that is well-drained, and that can be easily dampened. Therefore, you should till the ground to a depth of seven or eight inches and mix it with peat moss and topsoil.
The soil’s pH level for your plants should be 5.2 to 6.2, which is slightly acidic soil. For bulbs that are planted in containers, the same applies.
Your caladium will need to be watered regularly, especially after you first plant them, then weekly once they begin growing.
During the warmer days of summer, your plants may require water more than once per week. An indication that your caladium needs water is wilting leaves.
Keep the weeds down around your plants as they grow, with weed cloth or mulch, which also helps with water retention.
Weeds will compete for the same nutrients and water that your plants need, which can stunt them when left unattended.
Planting Caladium in Containers
If you choose to plant your caladium in a container, choose one that drains well, or your venture may not last long. These plants, like well-drained soil and a pot that does not drain, could cause root rot.
Caladiums are not little plants, either, so a six-inch pot will not do unless that is where you start your plant.
A full-grown caladium will get tall enough to require a stable pot of one to two gallons in size, depending on the variety you grow.
The soil mix for your pots can be good quality potting soil mixed with sphagnum moss and a small amount of perlite to help with water retention.
Potted caladiums will need to be watered frequently when your plant is first getting started, then once a week after that.
Note that your plants will need to be watered more frequently if you have a dry, hot summer in your area. Potted caladiums do best when thoroughly drenched during watering, then allowed to dry out before watering again.
Caladiums: Annuals or Perennials
Caladium will grow as a perennial in USDA zones 9-11 and annual in zones eight and below. However, even in more temperate climates, many growers plant new bulbs every year.
The argument here is that the older a plant gets, the less prolific it is over time.
By replanting caladium bulbs every year, you can avoid plants that are not as vivid or have smaller than normal leaves. Replanting annually also allows you to re-till the soil where your bulbs are to be planted.
You can also use this opportunity to move them around your yard to decide where they are happiest.
Caladiums have companion plants, and learning these will help your plants while adding new specimens and colors to your garden.
Prepare a site for your caladium early in the spring. You will then know where your caladium is going when setting out new plants or planting bulbs.
If you want to speed the growth of your plants up, start them in pots in the latter part of the winter, and they will be ready to plant come spring.
Frequently Asked Questions about Where to Plant Caladium
Can I grow different varieties of caladium in the same spot?
Of course, you can, and mixing the different colors will give you a beautiful display once your plants are grown. However, when you combine varieties, be sure to plant the shorter types in front, so their taller neighbors do not hide them.
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.