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Tips-info on planting & growing Caladium Bulbs


How to plant caladiums - Tips & Information

More on planting and care tips: 
We have a FAQ page if you want to submit a question

Planting caladiums is a breeze, these hardy plants just need a little warm soil and some occasional watering and chow to see vibrant colors all season long.

  • Caladiums like well drained soil.
      If the area puddles after a good rain, you might want to look elsewhere to plant your bulbs. "Mound" an area for better drainage. Keep the newly planted bulbs moist - not soggy. Our farm is sandy, caladiums grow well in a variety of soils.

  • Shade is Good!
      Where most plants don't tolerate shade very well - many caladiums love shady areas! When your favorite flower will bloom for a week or two, caladiums will provide wonderful leaf color and texture all summer.


  • Easy Planting
      Plant the bulbs about 1 to 2 inches deep with the knobby side up (these are actually the "eyes" or growing points. If you blow it and plant the wrong side up, don't despair; you will just loose a few days while bulbs figure out what to do). A bit of bone meal would make your caladiums happy. Water a bit after planting. More info in bulleted tip just below.
       BIG TIP -Bulbs should be planted in the landscape in the spring after the last frost.  The USDA temperature zone chart provides the following guidelines, however temperatures can vary in specific locales therefore nothing substitutes for local knowledge for exact planting dates. The secret (and the reason they seem to be slow starters up north) - these plants are originally from tropical rainforests - they like it when it's warm. Generally; your bulbs will sleep until the soil temp rises to approx 70◦, then they will get happy and grow like crazy. If you are planting caladiums in northern climes, start the bulbs earlier in a warm, moist (not soggy) place inside and give them a head start (see the interesting tip from Ed Groff at the bottom of this page).

  • Bulb Size Tips - Planting Separations by bulb size
       Yup, it's true: bigger bulbs yield more foliage - go figure! Caladium bulbs are sold in various size grades based on the diameter of the bulb.  Generally the larger the bulb you purchase the better the performance as the bulb is the source of energy reserve for the plant, therefore the larger the bulb the larger the energy reserve thus the opportunity for better performance. Bigger bulbs should be planted farther apart - jumbo bulbs about 12"-18" apart, smaller bulbs, 6" to 8" apart.

  • End of season
      When the temps go below 60 and look like they may stay there (say the onset of fall/winter), harvest the bulbs & leaves, let 'em dry for a week or so, trim off the tops and store the bulbs in a dry (use paper bags or peat moss) warmish area (60 or better) for planting next spring. Caladium bulbs go dormant in the winter -  they like to take a nap.

  • Height and Color
       Individual conditions vary greatly in the US. Caladiums in shade tend to have bigger leaves and want to be taller to catch the light as opposed to caladiums in direct sunlight that don't have to work so hard, colors can vary according to sunlight and feed or soil.


Potting caladiums in assorted containers works very well -inside of your home or office, on the patio or front porch - use your imagination (send us some pictures)!

Moonlight Caladiums (click to enlarge)

Sun Tolerant Caladium Tips
Sun tolerant caladiums generally require more watering than caladiums planted in shade, the length of exposure to sunlight is the determining factor.  Dark colors of leaves tend to need more watering than light colors. All of our varieties are grown in the full sun at our central Florida Farms. Overexposure results in holes with brown edges in the leaves - you see these - you may have to much sun.

Caladiums are poisonous - you would have to ingest  quite a bit to get sick and we have never heard of anyone this has happened to - but we don't recommend the leaves being used for tea...

Every time we get to thinking we have all the answers -
our customers come up with some winners!

  • Ed Groff from PA has some tips on starting bulbs early in northern climes and extending the growing season

LSU tips on caladiums - leave them in the ground over the wintertime