Caladium Care Indoors – Growing Caladiums As Indoor Plants

By: , Certified Urban Agriculturist
Potted Caladium Plants
Image by Matthew Lloyd

Caladiums are amazing foliage plants with colorful leaves that have absolutely no frost tolerance. Can you grow Caladium plants indoors? The plant’s special needs make using Caladiums as indoor plants rather challenging. However, a few tips on how to care for Caladium indoors might see you enjoying the attractive leaves for a bit longer than outdoor grown tubers. Moving your Caladium inside will save the tubers for spring growth and can possibly extend the foliar season.

Can I Move My Caladium Indoors?

Tender tubers and bulbs need to be lifted in fall before any chance of frost can terminate them. Caladium tubers are frost tender and will die if exposed to cold. As such, they need to be brought indoors in northern climates and will usually die back in winter even in warmer regions. This is all well and good, as the tubers from which the foliage is born, require some rejuvenating rest. Many gardeners try Caladiums as indoor plants. There are some special instructions on Caladium care indoors to keep the plants healthy and preserve the tubers.

Plants growing in regions that experience cold winters could be planted in containers to facilitate moving them inside when cold temperatures threaten. Growing Caladium as indoor plants has its challenges, though, as the plant requires high humidity and heated home interiors are generally quite arid.

Additionally, Caladium plants produce leaves only from spring to fall, and then require a rest period of around five months to recharge and sprout anew in spring. You can extend the foliar display a little bit by bringing containers indoors, but eventually the leaves will die back and the tuber will go dormant until warm temperatures arrive.

Still, bringing plants inside in containers will preserve the tubers and prevent them from sustaining damage in winter outdoor conditions.

How to Care for Caladium Indoors

Indoor Caladium plants require a medium light area with protection from midday sun, which will scorch the leaves. A northern or eastern window is usually the best exposure. Humidity is crucial to Caladium houseplant care as the tubers are native to South American tropical forests and produce seasonal foliage during the rainy, warm season.

Mimicking the plant’s native conditions is key to successfully introducing the plant to the home interior. Keeping the humidity high in a heated home may be done with misting and by placing a saucer filled with pebbles and water under the container. The evaporation will moisten the ambient air and provide the humidity necessary for your Caladium. Keep your plant away from heating vents which will blow dry air and drafty windows or doors.

While your plant is still in its foliar glory, you will need to keep it watered and happy. You should only fertilize the plant when it is actively growing during spring to late summer. In the fall and winter, no special food is necessary. Water the soil when it is dry to the touch.

Keep the plant in an area with temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.). When the leaves begin to die back, allow them to persist until fully spent and then cut them off. You can then either lift the tubers, allow them to dry and store them in peat in a breathable bag or leave them in the soil and suspend watering.

In spring, either plant out stored tubers or begin watering the potted tubers. Move the container to slightly brighter light being careful to protect new shoots from sizzling rays. Once the container has fully sprouted, gradually reintroduce it to the outdoors until fall and repeat the process all over again.

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