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Genus: Caladium.

Species: Caladium.

Common name: Caladium
Family: Araceae
Botannical name: Caladieae

Caladiums are grown for their coloured and patterned leaves in various combinations of green, red, pink and white. Many have a delicate translucent consistency. Leaves have an "elephant ear" form, although generally not as large as other Aroids commonly referred to as "Elephant Ears". They can also be commonly referred to as 'angel's wings'.

They grow from an underground corm (like a bulb) and multiply easily. The heart shaped leaves are beautifully coloured and patterned, and may vary from 15 to 60 cm in length. The leaves provide a striking contrast with the green foliage of other plants, especially when planted in the foreground.


Caladiums can be grown in pots, as specimens, or massed in beds or borders to provide summer colour in shady locations. Several varieties change colour (or become more colourful) as they grow – please be patient if leaves on your small plant are not yet their final colour.

Location: In tropical and subtropical areas they can be grown in a sheltered spot in the garden. In cooler areas they are suitable for indoors or a glasshouse.

Temperature: Caladiums like warmth and humidity, with a minimum summer temperature of 23 degrees and a minimum winter temperature of 12 degrees.

Sun: Caladiums need protection from full sun for best growth and colour. Some varieties will tolerate full sun for a couple of hours daily, but all prefer dappled or moderate shade. If bulbs are planted in deep shade, the green colour of the caladium will tend to dominate.

Planting: They require a warm, moist soil to grow. Planting in cool soil results in slow growth or tuber rot. Plant the tuber about 2-3cm under the soil. Water frequently and thoroughly, keeping the soil evenly moist to touch but not saturated. Do not let caladiums sit in water if planted in a container.

Watering: Although caladiums enjoy warm weather, they don’t tolerate dry conditions. In beds and borders, water plants weekly during dry weather. To help conserve soil moisture, apply a 5cm layer of mulch around the plants. Caladiums in containers should be checked regularly and watered when the potting soil begins to dry out.

Fertilizing: Fertilize caladiums regularly with a soluble fertilizer to promote strong foliage growth.

Frost: They are frost sensitive. They are generally dormant in winter.

These plants are very cold sensitive and prefer temperatures above 65 F. and lots of moisture. If the plants get cold, the leaves will wilt and the tubers will go into a resting stage for eight to ten weeks.

Dry weather will also cause dormancy, as the roots will dry up and the plant goes to sleep. This is a natural occurrence in the tropics where the seasons are more noticeable between wet/dry than cold/warm.

The flower of a caladium consists of a spathe (the fleshy outer covering) and a spadix (the conical inner stalk that contains the male and female flowers). The male flowers are at the tip of the spadix, a sterile area of tissue is in the middle, and the female flowers are at the base.

Caladiums are “protogynous”, which means that the female flowers are receptive before the male flowers shed their pollen. This is why you rarely observe seed on your caladium flowers. The female flowers have to be pollinated from pollen of another flower on the plant or another plant.

Photos of this plant

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