How to Start Caladiums


Caladiums (Caladium hortulanum), part of the Araceae family, "are tropical American in origin, with many of them coming from the Amazon basin in Brazil," according to the University of Florida. Caladiums come in two types: fancy-leaved with heart-shaped leaves, and strap-leaved that produce elongated, narrower leaves. Both types of caladiums come in numerous varieties that produce beautiful foliage in various colors. Start caladiums from tubers after the last chance of frost has passed and the soil is warm.

Step 1

Select an area for growing caladiums that provides filtered sunlight, morning sun only or partial shade. Choose sites with rich, well-draining soil; or amend the soil with compost, peat moss and well-rotted manure before planting caladiums.

Step 2

Dig holes 2 inches deep for starting each caladium. Place the tubers in the holes with the side that has the most "eyes" facing upward.

Step 3

Space the caladium tubers 18 inches apart, and firm the soil around the tubers to remove any air pockets, suggests the University of Florida.

Step 4

Soak the soil with water after planting caladiums. Supply an inch of water weekly throughout the growing season, if rainfall is less.

Step 5

Cover the area around the planted caladiums with a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain the soil moisture and prevent weeds from emerging.

Step 6

Apply a balanced fertilizer as directed on the label, four to six weeks following planting. Reapply fertilizer to the caladiums every eight weeks throughout the growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Hand trowel
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Florida: Caladiums for Florida
  • Iowa State University: Growing Caladiums in the Home Landscape
  • Easy to Grow Bulbs: Caladium Growing Information

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois: Caladium
  • Plant Care: Planting Caladium Bulbs
Keywords: Caladium hortulanum, start caladiums, growing caladiums, planting caladiums

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.