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The Caladium Chronicle: Where Every Leaf is a Party

Updated: Jan 14

ITS CALADIUM SEASON!

Caladiums are a genus of plants in the family Araecae. The Central & South American native plant has 1000+ cultivars with different color schemes using the 4 colors: white, red, green, & pink. They make incredible indoor plants, as well as outside container & in-ground plants under the right conditions.


We are offering a few different varieties in 4" & 1 gallon sizes.


Garden White Caladium in 1 gallon
'Garden White' Caladium 1 Gallon
Miss Muffet Caladium 1 gallon
'Miss Muffet' Caladium 1 Gallon














'White Christmas' Caladium 1 Gallon
'White Christmas' Caladium 1 Gallon


















'Freida Hemple' Caladium 1 Gallon
'Freida Hemple' Caladium 1 Gallon




Let's begin with a short introduction to Caladiums.

The ornamental value of caladiums depends on the plant's leaf characteristics. These distinctive elements can include shape, color, color pattern, & venation pattern (vein pattern). These leaf shapes are closely related to the specific plant's growth habit, it's stress tolerance, & tuber yield. The main vein colors of the leaf are often used for cultivar identification.


The easiest way to classify the unbelievable amount of Caladiums is by the shape of their leaves. There are 2 main shapes: the heart-shaped & the strap-shaped (or lance shaped).

Heart Shaped Leaves The heart-shaped leaved Caladiums are known for the shape of their leaves. They are known as a "heart shape" for their triangular or round-ovate leaves with 3 main veins on each leaf that are arranged in the form of an inverted Y. The leafstalk of this foliage is attached to the back of the leaf, attached to the lower surface instead of the margin. tend to be less sun tolerant, making them perfect for a pop of color in a shady area. They develop faster than other leaf-shaped Caladiums. From a tuber production stand point, heart-leaf shaped Caladiums tend to have the highest yields of the various caladium groups. Moreover, these Caladiums tend to be taller & have a more upright habit, making them more showy in any container, arrangement, or in-ground bed.


Strap Shaped Leaves

Aside from the aforementioned heart-shape leaf, soy7me Caladium foliage don a "strap" shape.

While the heart-shaped leaves have the










Caladium Care as an Indoor Plant

Can you grow Caladiums inside? Because the plant has special needs using Caladiums as house plants can be more difficult than planting them outside, but don't let this deter you. A few tips & you will enjoy this beautiful plant for a long period of time, sometimes even longer than those planted outdoors. Moving your Caladium inside will save the tubers for spring growth & will possible extend the foliar season!


Moving Your Outdoor Plants Inside

Because Caladiums cannot survive frost, if you live in an area where it gets cold enough to frost, it is your best bet to replace the plant. You can't forget tubers & bulbs are tender. They must be carefully lifted during the fall season (before the first frost, as they will die if they are exposed to cold weather). In light of the Caladium's cold weather problem, they need to be brought indoors. They will usually die back in winter even in warmer regions. This is beneficial to the plant as the new foliage is cultivated in the tubers, & they will need some rejuvenating rest.

Plants that grow in areas where they cannot stand cold weather are generally planted in containers that you can move inside once the weather drops. Sounds easy? And it is! But with proper care, you won't have any problems.

One of the biggest problems is when you bring your Caladium inside you are bringing them inside from a humid environment to your home, which in cold weather are heated & generally relatively arid. There are many ways to keep your plants humid without spending money. For instance

  • Bring your Caladiums into the bathroom while you take a shower. If you had to think of the most humid room in your house, which would it be? The bathroom! In general, bathrooms are a great place for house plants to live, but plants with high humidity needs will thrive in these conditions. Between using the sink, the bathtub, the shower -- there is usually water coming from some utility, which means there is always the process of drying during the day. You could even say wet towels are a significant source of moisture in the air.

    • Phalaenopsis Orchids, Bromeliads, Ferns, & Peace Lillies are other awesome choices for your bathroom.

  • Group your plants. Through a process called transpiration, plants lose water from their leaves through tiny pores called stomata. The water vapor enters the air in the immediate vicinity of the plant, or increasing local humidity. By grouping your plants together the amount of transpiration increases, & humidity levels will improve significantly.

  • Misting your plants. Using a spray bottle filled with water you can spray it directly on your plants. You want to make sure your spray bottle has the mist option. Some of the moisture will vaporize directly, increasing humidity, while most of it will land on the leaves of your plants & surrounding surfaces. This moisture will slowly evaporate, providing an increase in local humidity for several hours. While this method is quick & easy, it will only provide increased humidity levels for a few hours, so repeating the process frequently is needed.

    • This method is not our favorite because it allows stagnant water to sit on foliage if it does not evaporate quickly enough. This can & will harm your Caladium's leaves either by allowing them to rot -- which can lead to fungal or bacterial disease if it doesn't evaporate fast enough -- so we usually do not suggest it. But, with this being a post for everyone & misting plants being an exceptionally popular method, we felt like it had to be mentioned. Although! If you insist on using this method, to ensure rotting doesn't happen, make sure you mist in the morning. This guarantees the excess moisture has time to evaporate during the day, before temperatures drop at night. Ultimately, to make a meaningful impact on your Caladium's humidity levels, you need to mist several times per day, which is relatively impractical for most people. So again, finding a different method might work better for you for a number of reasons, but it is always beneficial to be informed of every method.

  • Use a humidifier. The best way to keep your plants humid over the winter with no fuss or problems is to invest in an electric humidifier. They can be relatively small & portable & can be turned on & off to create the perfect environment for your plants. If you spend a little more money, you can even find some that will maintain a particular humidity level or to operate only at certain times a day. It's basically putting a greenhouse level misting system inside your home! Humidifiers have other benefits to your home, rather than just for your plants. If you, or any other member of your family or house has dry hair or skin, a humidifier can solve these problems as well!

  • Use a pebble tray. This is a method I myself have personally not tried, but have heard only good things about. Not only is is it a really simple way to increase local humidity for one a small number of plants in an otherwise arid location, its inexpensive, utilizes minimal materials, & works well.

    • All you need is a drip tray that is about 2 x the diameter of the plant pot. Ideally, your drip tray could be a little larger, but if you don't have the space, don't worry about it. The tray should be at least ~1" deep to ensure that the water does not evaporate too quickly. Scatter pebbles that are roughly of equal size on the base of the tray & fill the tray with water to just below the top of the pebbles. Place your houseplant pot on top of the pebbles so that its rests securely, without the base of the pot being in water. These measures prevent soil from absorbing the water & the roots becoming water logged, ultimately causing the opposite affect of what you want -- stagnant water around the roots. The water will slowly evaporate into the air around your plant, increasing local humidity, while not significantly impacting the level of humidity of your house.

  • The Ultimate Problem. As previously discussed, you do not want stagnant water around you plant or roots. This will cause root rot, ultimately leading to your plant's demise. The constant pool of standing water can increase the risk of fungal or bacterial disease developing in your plants. This method can also, though seldomly, may attract pests. One of the best parts of this technique is how inexpensive, easy to put together, & ultimately a quick, simple solution. It needs minimal maintenance, aside from adding water to the tray once water level falls below the top rock line.

AND FINALLY (!!)

  • Giving your plants a bath or shower. If you are anything like me, I have seen an abundance of pictures on Instagram or Facebook of people taking their plants into their shower. If you live in an apartment, town home, or have a TON of house plants (especially thoese without a hose or water spicket). In this situation instead of bringing the water to the plants, you're bringing the plants to the water. Not only can you water a ton of plants at the same time using the shower head, OR if you use the faucet you can water each plant individually if they need specific water conditions (if water can't touch the foliage, etc.). Furthermore, pots with drainage holes can drain before moving them back to their specific places around the house.

    • Another reason I love watering plants this way is that you move all of your plants at the same time (you can always do this on a smaller level & only do a few at a time). When you have all of your plants in the bathroom, once you move them back to the areas they live you have the opportunity to change things up! Move that tall Sansevieria 'Wintergreen' & replace it with a plant in a tall stand!

  • Dry clothes in the same room as your house plants. Wet laundry is a great source of water vapor that your plants will love you for. While it will take your clothes to dry a bit longer to dry, the water evaporating from our clothes will increase the humidity level in the air & your plants can benefit.


PROBLEMS

Like any other plants, Caladiums have issues that may occur. So, lets talk about them & start some prevention techniques before they have the chance to sneak up on ya!


Maintenance Practices

The easiest way to prevent problems growing Caladiums is to do your research. Learn about the plant before you receive one to prevent improper cultural practices


Well Maintenanced Tubers

Caladiums grow from tubers that look like bulbs & if the tubers are injured, the plant can be stunted. When storing your tubers for stock, make sure the temperatures stay between 60 & 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder or hotter temperatures will create stunted growth in plants.


Sunlight

Caladiums like sunlight, but gradually. If your plants were grown during overcast & then are suddenly hit with bright light, the foliage may become sunburned. Think going hiking & not putting sunscreen because its raining outside. In the middle of your hike the sun comes up & by the time you get back to your car your shoulders are red as a 'Red Flash' Caladium 😂😩 The tell tale sign your plant is receiving too much light & should be moved into a shadier area are the brown blotches that will develop on their foliage. Simply move your plant to a darker area & watch as the new leaves come out blemish-less.


Wind

Regardless to the shape of the leaf, both types have almost paper-thin foliage that can be damaged easily in strong gusts of wind. When planting your Caladium outside it is important to plant them an area that doesn't receive forceful air currents, whether that be in a container indoors, an in-ground bed, or an outdoor arrangement.

Excessive Irrigation & Fertilizer

Too much water & fertilizer near the Caladium's tubers can create problems. Take care with how much you water your plant & even how close you water to the tuber & root ball to prevent any of these problems. Fertilizer goes the same way. You don't want to place your fertilizer too close to the plant's stems, tubers, & root ball.


Insects

Caladiums are typically not disturbed by many insects. With that being said, the plant has delicious cell sap & leaves that caterpillars & aphids like to munch on .

Caterpillars

The best defense against these buggers is attentiveness & care. Ragged margins on foliage are a sign that your plant is getting attacked by caterpillars. The easiest way to get rid of them are to simply use your hands & pick them off one by one. If the invasion is out of control you can use a insecticide called "Bt" (Bacillus thuringiensis) that is made for caterpillar control.

Aphids

While aphids don't pose huge threats to your plant, they can be a real problem if you don't get on them quick. Once they have babies they will multiply by what seems 1000! You can wash your Caladium's leaves with a hose or, if necessary, use neem oil to control them. From our research neem oil is your best solution for aphids & while wiping each leaf might be tedious, wait until you have 100's of them! Aphids are definitely one of the bugs you much stay most vigilant on.


Diseases

As previously stated (about 1,000,000 times) Caladiums grow from tubers. When these plants are infected by disease, these diseases are caused by fungal pathogens (Rhizoctonia & Pythium species). Sometimes, these fungal diseases can even be present in dormant tubers.

Prevention

To begin prevention from fungus issues, immerse the tubers in hot water (122 degrees Fahrenheit) before you plant or store your Caladium. Leave them in the water for more than 30 minutes to kill the harmful fungi. Before planting, make sure the tubers are thoroughly dry.












This concludes our quick guide to CALADIUMS ♡

Feel free to ask us any questions that may have been covered through the chat feature on this site or email us at




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