Caladium Planting & Growing Guide

While some plants are renowned for their brilliant blooms, others are celebrated for their fantastic foliage, including Caladiums with their spectacularly vibrant leaves. Not only do these tropical plants provide an extremely long season of color, but they're exceptionally fast-growing and perfect for shaded garden spaces.

If you've never grown Caladiums, consider incorporating them into your garden display for long-lasting beauty that challenges even the brightest blooms. Here's everything you need to know about growing and caring for these stunning foliage plants.

  • Planting Depth
  • Planting Proximity
    Species dependent; 6-12"
  • Planting Season
    Spring to Summer
  • Plant Benefits
    Colorful tropical foliage in both shade and sunny areas.
  • Water Quantity
  • Bloom Season
    N/A; Grown for foliage
  • Sunlight Quantity
    Partial Shade to Full Shade
  • Hardiness Zones
    Zones 9-11 or indoors

Where to Plant

While Caladiums are tropical plants, they grow fast enough to be enjoyed as annuals during the summer in cooler climates or year-round as houseplants. These low-growing showstoppers are happiest when planted in warm, humid, shady areas where many other plants will not survive. They're tolerant of filtered sunlight, bright indirect, or partial shade, but prefer full shade in warmer regions. Provide them with well-draining soil, and if you notice water puddles 5–6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site or amend the soil with organic material to improve the drainage.

When to Plant

Plant your Caladium tubers outside in the spring after the risk of frost has passed and daytime temperatures stay above 70 degrees. These plants will only grow when the soil is warm, but if you're gardening in a colder climate and would like to get a jump start, you can always start them indoors 4–6 weeks before the average last frost date. Depending on the soil quality and air temperature, your Caladium tubers will develop sprouts and roots a few weeks after planting.

How to Plant

  • For outdoor landscape planting, find a spot where your Caladiums will receive filtered sunlight, bright indirect, or partial shade. Dig holes and plant the tubers about 2" deep and 8–12" apart with the growing points or "eyes" facing up.
  • For container planting, select a container with adequate drainage holes and fill it with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Plant the tubers about 2" deep with the growing points or "eyes" facing up.
  • Water generously after planting to settle the soil around the tubers.

How to Grow

  • Water your Caladiums enough to keep the soil slightly damp but never enough for it to be soggy.
  • Trim off any yellow foliage after the season has finished to tidy up the garden.
  • Dig up the tubers before the first frost in fall if you live in a climate with cold or very wet winters. Let them air dry for several days before storing them in a cool location with peat moss.
  • Allow your Caladiums to rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.

Caladium Tips & Tricks

  • Amend the soil with the addition of compost, finely ground bark, or composted manure to raise the level 2–3" and improve drainage.
  • Plant your Caladiums in areas with some protection from wind as their large leaves are prone to damage.
  • Expect roots and sprouts to form a few weeks after planting, with mature sizes reaching up to 25 inches tall.
  • Bear in mind the mature sizes of your plants when selecting a container.
  • Feel free to mix Caladiums with other plants in the same container, keeping in mind that all must have the same light and water needs.
  • Pinch off a few leaves during active growth to add some colorful charm to mixed arrangements.