Instructions on Storing Caladium

Overview

Caladium's colorful and large leaves make it a great border garden plant. Plus, caladium is quite hardy, so it often requires less care than other plants in the garden. However, caladiums are quite sensitive to cold. If grown where the winters freeze, your caladiums must be uprooted and stored indoors as soon as the temperatures drop in fall. Otherwise, they may freeze or rot in the ground and you'll have to replant next year.

Step 1

Dig up your caladiums as soon as the leaves begin to lose color and wilt (but before all the color is gone). If you cannot get to them immediately, they must be dug before temperatures fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Dig out the caladium's tubers. Use a garden fork to dig around the plant. Start 4 or so inches away from the base of the plant and loosen the soil in a circle. Move in closer to the plant, loosening in smaller circles until the tuber comes out of the ground easily when you gently pull on the base of the caladium's foliage. Take care not to nick or scrape the tubers. This will leave them susceptible to fungal disease and insect infestation while they are in storage. Dig the first caladium tuber out with your hands to get a better idea of where the plant's tubers are located.

Step 3

Dig around the soil near the caladium you dug up, using your hands. A few caladium bulblets may have sprouted from the parent plant. These can be stored and replanted in the spring.

Step 4

Spread the caladiums out indoors (the temperature should not fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit) in a dry, shady place to dry for one week. Turn them once daily to make sure that they dry evenly on all sides.

Step 5

Brush off any clinging soil once the caladium bulbs are dry. Inspect the bulbs. Discard any that are damaged, rotten or significantly smaller than the others.

Step 6

Cut away the caladium's foliage as soon as it shrivels and dries out, using pruning shears.

Step 7

Line a container with 1 inch of dry sphagnum moss and lay the caladium tubers on top of them. Do not allow any of the tubers to touch. If you must stack the tubers, place 2 inches of sphagnum moss between each layer and stack them no more than three tubers deep. Cover the top of the caladium tubers with 1 inch of sphagnum moss.

Step 8

Store the caladium tubers in a dry, shady place that does not fall below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on them periodically and remove any bulbs that have begun to rot.

Step 9

Replant your caladium tubers in late spring when daytime temperatures are around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Garden fork
  • Pruning shears

References

  • North Carolina State University: Caladiums for the Home Landscape
  • Teas Bulb Info: Caladium Matters
  • Caladium Blog: 7 Tips to Store Caladium Bulbs in the Fall
Keywords: caladium tubers, store caladium, dig caladium, winter caladium

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.