Caladium Bulbs

Planting and Growing Tips

We can’t say it often enough or loud enough– caladiums love hot weather. 
We can’t say it often enough or loud enough– caladiums LOVE hot weather. 
We can’t say it often enough or loud enough– caladiums love HOT weather. 
(Starting to see a pattern?)

 Hot days with cool nights can make for very slow germination.  Caladium bulbs are safely planted outdoors when night time temperature are staying consistently above 65 degrees. Caladium germination rates can range widely from as little as 2 weeks to over 12 weeks.  Once again, that "warm thing" concerning temps has to be stressed concerning planting dates.  The hotter the air and ground temperature when you plant the faster your caladiums will begin to put on their show.  Below is the approximate times for germination and perhaps the typical gardeners' thoughts on it all.

90* days/75* nights - 2-3 weeks (oh boy I can hardly wait)
80* days/60* nights - 6-8 weeks (these crazy things are never going to come up)
70*days/50*nights - 10 weeks or eternity (uhgggg. I give up…….oh wait here they come)

When caladiums are exposed to cool temps they can be thrown back into dormancy and then must start the germination process all over again.  You will ALWAYS have better results when you plant your caladiums later rather than sooner. It is never too hot or too late to plant caladiums.

Planting caladium bulbs is super easy.  Caladium bulbs should be planted about 2 inches under the soil.   If sprouts are identifiable, plant in upright direction.  If you have no idea about top and bottom just plant it any which way and it will be OK.  They are foolproof in this aspect. 

The following chart shows our recommended planting distances if you are planting a large bed.  These spacing distances will typically result in a nice full bed with no gapping between plants.    These same measurements also work for row planting.

                        Grade               Bulb Diameter              Planting Distance
                          #2                       1”-1 ½”                             2”-4”
                          #1                      1 ½”-2 ½”                          4”-7”
                        Jumbo                 2 ½”- 3 ½”                         8”-10”

Water moderately when first planted. A soil that retains some moisture, but does not allow the bulbs to have wet feet is ideal.  Caladiums will let you know when they need watering once they are up. 

Ideally, caladiums should be planted in a partially shaded area, but most are capable of growing in full sun.  Caladiums grown in full sun will require more water and will have a bit shorter life span due to the harsher growing conditions. 

Caladiums will grow in most all soil types.  Bulbs may not last for multiple seasons in less than ideal soils, but they will grow just fine for a single season (even in hostile mediums).  Fertilizer, if needed should be applied lightly.  Caladiums like acid soils with an approximate Ph of 4.5-5.  Choose a fertilizer that will help you achieve this based on your soil type.  Blood meal works well, but apply lightly.  Slow release fertilizers also work well with caladiums.  "Miraculous growing" fertilizers will work for caladiums, but the heavy nitrogen content is notorious for changing caladium colors.  Applier beware!