Apartment plants

Caladio - Caladium x hortolanum


Caladium is a very decorative plant: it is particularly appreciated for its colorful, large and specially shaped leaves. Unfortunately, being a tropical plant, it is not easy to grow because it prefers mild temperatures and a high level of humidity. It can be used permanently to decorate interiors or placed in the garden, in flower beds or borders, but only during the summer.
The Caladium x hortolanum It is a perennial tuberous herbaceous plant native to South America. It has long slightly arched, fleshy and smooth stems, which at the apex bear large rounded or heart-shaped, pointed, two-colored or three-colored leaves, white, pink, red and green, varying in size between 25 and 60 cm, shiny and thin.
There are numerous hybrid species of caladium, so we can see caladio colored in the most varied ways, usually with the edges and veins of contrasting colors with respect to the central part of the leaf page.
The colors of the leaves are more intense if the plant is grown in a bright place; a very acid soil will cause leaves with darker and more determined colors.


The caladium during the vegetative period, it wants a very bright exposure, but the direct sun must be avoided.
Caladium x hortolanum love positions in half-shade or full shade, as far as possible from direct sunlight that could ruin the leaves. They fear the cold very much, so they should be taken outside only in late spring and in the summer, the rest of the year they spend in the house, in a bright and airy place.
Wanting these plants can be grown as the most common tuber plants, such as dahlias for example; therefore they can be put to dwelling in full earth in spring, to create an exotic and particular flowerbed, in shaded place.
With the arrival of the cold the leaves will begin to dry out, then the tuber can be unearthed, the now-dried leaves cut, and the plants kept in a dark and dry place, such as a fabric bag filled with peat and sawdust; the bags should be stored away from cold winter weather.


Family, genus, species

Araceae, Caladium, 12 species
Type of plant Plant with decorative leaves, from a greenhouse or apartment
Maintenance maintenance
irrigations To read to frequent
humidity 70/80%
fertilizing Every 15 days, for green plants
Growth fast
Minimum temperature 13 ° C
Ideal temperature 20-25 ° C
Place of cultivation Cold or temperate greenhouse
Exposure Slightly luminous (West exposure)
Environmental humidity High: about 70%
Container Vase or raft
Substrate Bark, coconut and palm fibers, a little peat
Height Up to 50 cm
Flowers On stems, up to 10
colors White, pink, orange, lilac, red, brown
Perfume Very fragrant
Propagation Division


In the vegetative period, from March to October, the plants of Caladium x hortolanum need abundant and regular watering, especially if they are grown in the open ground, allowing the substratum to dry slightly between one watering and another and checking that stagnation does not form water hazardous to the health of these plants. In the cold months thin out the watering if the plants are grown at home. Every 20-25 days add some fertilizer for green plants to the irrigating water.


Repotting / Division

March April
Rest (no irrigation, 16 ° C, dark) November to March
Frequent irrigations summer
Modest irrigations Spring autumn
Composting Spring-autumn, every 15 days%


The plants of caladio they prefer loose, slightly acid soils, rich in organic matter and very well drained. Use a compound consisting of peat, balanced soil and sand in equal parts.
They must be grown in small containers (maximum 8-15 cm, depending on the size of the bulb). In this way the plant will develop faster and counter the danger of rot. They adapt to grow in mixtures for green plants but the ideal is to create the substrate ourselves.
A good mix is ​​land of leaves, peat and sand in equal parts, possibly adding some garden soil. On the bottom a thick draining layer is important. Repotting takes place every year at the end of winter by placing the bulb at a depth of about 2 cm.
It is necessary only from spring to autumn: we supply a liquid product for green plants every 15 days.


The tubers of this plant often produce shoots, which must be separated from the mother plant with a sharp knife, and must therefore be grown as new plants. It is also possible to multiply the Caladium x hortolanum by seed, but, due to the great genetic variability, the plants obtained with this technique cannot fail to have the same characteristics as the mother plant.

Pests and diseases

These plants can be affected by aphids or radical rots if the environmental humidity is too high.
To counter the problem of aphids it is good to intervene quickly with the use of a specific insecticide, or with the use of natural compounds based on garlic, to boil in water and to vaporize on the affected leaves.

Species and varieties

The genus consists of one fifteen species but, given the success as a greenhouse or apartment plant, today there are a large number of hybrids and interesting cultivars for the different sizes and colors of the foliage.
The Caladium bicolor is high from 30 cm to 1 m and presents very colorful leaves, in all shades and color combinations. The so-called Caladium hortulanum is an interspecific hybrid widespread on the market. It is smaller in size than the previous one (maximum 40 cm) and with rounded leaves, similar to hearts.
Also in this case the colors are multiple. We report some interesting cultivars: Bombshell (pink leaves with green border), Modern Art (green, spotted with white and red), Raspberry moon (silver with red spots), Summer Breeze (silver with fuchsia veins), Candidum (silver with green veins ), Carolyn Worthon (rose with green and white edges); Fannie Munson (antique rose with green edges).


These are tropical plants and to grow at their best they would need almost constant temperatures and humidity during the growing season. The cold is absolutely to be avoided as they suffer as soon as it falls below 13 ° C. The ideal is to keep between April and October between 20 and 25 ° C, perhaps making them grow in a heated greenhouse or on a veranda.
They can also adapt to apartments as long as they are always warm and there is good exposure. We avoid currents, especially cold ones: they can cause thermal shock and dehydration.

Irrigation and humidity

It is a crucial point: the greatest risk is in fact the rot of the bulb. In spring and autumn we distribute water only when the substrate is dry in depth; in summer the administrations will be more frequent, always keeping the roots fresh. In winter, however, it is better to suspend almost completely.
Also important is the humidity rate which must be around 70-80%, which is difficult to reproduce at home. To work around we can use electric humidifiers or spray the leaves several times a day with warm demineralised water.
In summer, if we have a garden pond, remember that this plant fits very well at the edges.

Rest period

In winter it is good to induce a period of rest by moving the pots in a cooler (about 16 ° C) and dark room. We suspend watering almost completely. If desired we can extract the bulbs from the jar and place them in boxes full of sand.

Caladio - Caladium x hortolanum: Propagation of Caladium

The caladium it multiplies by division of the tufts at the end of winter. It is sufficient to gently remove the lateral bulbs provided with at least one jet and place them in suitable soil. Keep them in the light and warm, regularly giving fertilizer and waiting for them to reach their final size.
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  • Caladium

    Caladio is a plant native to the tropical forests of South America, especially in Brazil but is pre

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