How To Grow And Care For Caladiums Indoors As Houseplants
Native to tropical regions of South and Central America, caladiums delight gardeners with their attractive patterns and vibrant colors. When grown annually, these plants can be found throughout the summer landscape in places that would otherwise be well outside of their hardiness range. Many lovers of this ornamental have also found success growing caladium indoors, as an attractive seasonal houseplant.
Botanical name – Caladium
Height – 12-30 in. (30-76 cm.)
Spread – 12-24 in. (30-61 cm.)
Sun exposure – Part Shade, Full Shade
Soil requirements – Slightly Acidic
Hardiness zones – USDA Zones 8-10
When to plant – Spring
Can Caladiums Grow Indoors?
Though caladium plants are traditionally found growing outdoors in mixed beds and borders, they can also thrive in containers. Caladiums grown as houseplants are especially attractive and offer lasting color that brightens indoor spaces. However, they do require some special care in order to thrive indoors.
Caladium Indoor Care
In the garden, caladiums grow best in beds that receive ample shade throughout the day. These same low-light conditions should also be maintained indoors. Potted caladium plants should be situated near a window where they can receive sufficient indirect light. When moving the pots to a new location be sure to monitor the plants carefully, noting any sign of light-related stress.
Caladiums thrive with consistent moisture. During periods of active growth, the potted plants should be watered at least once each week when the surface of the soil has dried. As caladiums prepare for dormancy, reduce the frequency of watering. Once they’re dormant, potted caladiums do not require water until spring when a new growth cycle begins.
Temperature & Humidity
Warm temperatures and consistent humidity are essential to the health of this plant. Indoor caladium plants should be kept safely away from vents and/or any source of drafts within your home. Cooler temperatures may cause caladium to begin losing their leaves, or can even encourage dormancy. To maintain proper humidity levels it’s a good idea to do frequent misting. You can also place potted plants on shallow trays filled with rocks and water.
Though caladium plants appreciate consistent moisture, their soil should drain well. Caladiums will not tolerate soil that’s oversaturated or otherwise waterlogged. Most potting mixes are sufficient for growing caladium in containers. However, soil mediums specifically designed for use with acid-loving plants are also a good option.
Though caladium plants are not considered heavy feeders, they do benefit from the use of a balanced, slow-release feed at planting time. Caladiums in pots require fertilizer more frequently. Monthly applications of a water-soluble feed are ideal to encourage the production of new leaves.
Problems, Pests & Diseases
Caladiums grown indoors only seldom have problems with pests. Still, watch for noticeable signs of damage caused by insects like aphids or mites. Plant stress is especially common among potted specimens. Causes of stress include temperature, as well as levels of light and moisture. Less-than-ideal conditions may cause yellowing, the premature loss of leaves, or even cause the plant to go into dormancy.
If you’re growing caladiums indoors, you’ll need to prune them regularly. Remove dead or damaged leaves as they appear, helping to keep pots tidy and prevent disease. Clip back the plant's flowers as they appear, since allowing the plant to bloom can decrease its ornamental value. As caladium plants approach dormancy, their foliage will begin to die back. At this time, the entire plant can be cut back to soil level.
After dividing the tubers, allow each segment to dry before planting them. During this time, the cut section will form a callus which helps protect the new plant against rot and other diseases. Tuber sections can then be planted into individual pots. After a thorough watering, move containers to a warm location where they are able to receive bright, indirect light.
Best Caladium Varieties to Grow Indoors
Here's a short list of some favorite indoor caladium varieties:
Dots Delight Caladium
Florida Fantasy Caladium
White Lightning Caladium
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Caladium a Good Indoor Plant?
Caladiums as houseplants are an excellent choice to add life and vibrancy to indoor spaces. Growing the plant indoors through the coldest months of the year is also a good option for overwintering your favorite plants.
Can You Keep Caladiums Indoors All Year?
Under ideal conditions, caladium can be grown indoors all year long. Both warmth and light are required throughout periods of active growth to keep the plants looking happy and healthy. Caladiums grown as houseplants will still require a period of rest or dormancy through the winter, lasting until new stems begin to emerge in spring.
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