How To Plant Caladium Bulbs - Shiny Plant

How To Plant Caladium Bulbs

Caladium is a tuberous tropical plant grown for its spectacularly colorful foliage.

Although tropical plants, are faster to grow as an annual plants during summer in cooler climates and can be enjoyed as a houseplant all year long. 

If you want an easy-growing houseplant, you can consider caladium. They have large pointed arrow-shaped foliage different in colors ranging from pink, white, green, cream, and red.

If grown as an annual they do not bear flowers, but the foliage dazzling show in the pots with minimal fussiness and care.

In this post, I have described all about caladium. Learn how to plant, grow and care for caladium.

How To Plant Caladium Bulbs

Let’s get started.

When to plant 

To plant caladium outdoors, first plant them indoors in pots 3-4 weeks before the last frost. Transplant it when the soil warms outdoors. Plant in peat pots, they make transplanting easy.

Caladium varieties 

  • Caladium bicolor “Frieda Hemple”
  • Caladium bicolor “Little Miss Muffet”
  • Caladium bicolor “Pink Beauty”
  • Caladium bicolor “White Christmas”

Related Post: 10 Best Colorful Foliage Plants To Make Your Garden Beautiful

About Caladium 

Here are some facts you should know before growing caladium:

Caladium grows perennial only in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. If you live in these zones, you can plant them and be able to enjoy their foliage for years.

However, they can be grown as annual plants or overwintered as tender bulbs. Plant in pots so that in winter you can bring them inside the house to overwinter.

In the cooler climate, it’s better to plant them in pots indoors one month or so before the last frost date, this gives them a head start before planting them outdoors.

Caladiums usually grow up to 18-24 inches taller in height, however, some varieties dwarf varieties peak at 8-12 inches. The width of the plant depends upon its cultivar and age.

Caladium grows as an annual and is stored as tubers during winter do not get lush as much as the plant left in the ground or grown as a houseplant.

Companion Plants

You can plant caladium in a shade garden to have a bright spot. When grouped, they look like they are in bloom. The white spike of their foliage reflects every flicker of light and brightens any shady corner. 

Caladium grows equally well in large containers or in the garden. 

Plants like fern, astilbe, and ornamental grasses, and shade-tolerant iris make wonderful companions with caladium. You can also plant colored blooms of Fuschia and Impatiens.

How to buy

You can purchase caladium with some leaves or start with less expensive tubers. 

Choosing a plant already with some leaves has the advantage that you know the foliage color when it grows mature; however, tubers also have pictures on the packet to determine its appearance.

The tubers purchased from the nursery have a knobby appearance, each knob is actually an eye from where the leaf starts growing when planted.

Sometimes it’s difficult to spot knobs, but they should be rehydrated and sprouted. Tubers ordered directly from growers will germinate faster. 

Sometimes it is hard to determine from where the roots of the tubers will grow, leaves and roots grow from the side of the leaves.

Trust the tuber to know what to do, sow the tuber facing up and bury it 2 inches deep in the knobs, the stem will find the sun.

Caladium Care Indoors & Outdoors

You can divide caladium tubers in the spring season to grow more plants. Just cut tubers into a section with contains at least 1 knob or eye and plant it in a pot.


Caladium does not grow well in full sun, excessive sunlight can burn its foliage. Plant them in spots where they get a partial shade or full shade where they produce flashy and colorful foliage without any bloom. 


Start planting them with a 50:50 ratio of potting mix soil in the pot. They like slightly acid soil, with soil pH in the 5.5-6.2 range. In the beginning grow them indoors, once they get 5-6 inches taller move outdoors into indirect light.


As caladium likes to grow in shade they do not require much water, water only when the upper soil looks dry. Water directly into the base of the plant. Avoid wetting foliage, wet foliage for a long period will invite fungal diseases.

Stop or minimize water caladium in autumn, as the plant starts to go dormant and stop growing till next spring.

Humidity and temperature

Being a tropical plant, caladium grows well in warm climates. In cold climates, either they grow as annual or you have to bring them indoors over winter. Do not wait till they hit frost, bring them inside at the start of winter.

Common pests and diseases

Although caladiums are carefree growers, they can be subject to some problems if not provided in ideal conditions.

  • Leaf spot
  • Tuber rot
  • Southern blight
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Indoor plants should be monitored for aphids and spider mites.

Is caladium toxic?

Caladium can cause skin irritation if rubbed against bare skin for too long, Usually, they do not bother human skin, but wear gardening gloves while handling them. 

Caladium can be poisonous if ingested. Do not consider them, if you have small kids or pets that like to eat plants.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant-growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.