Caladium is a tropical tuber plant that's a member of the Araceae family. Hailing from the Amazon basin in Brazil, caladiums are also found in North America. Caladium is known for brightening up shady spots of the garden with its striking foliage that ranges in shades of white, pink, red and green with spotted, striped and patterned versions. With more than 1,000 varieties of caladium, the advantages to a colorful landscape are endless.
Because of their versatility, caladiums are known as the geranium of the South. Hardy, they are not limited to just the Southern United States. In fact, these tubers can be potted and used year-round in interior gardens to create your own collection. In fall, the tubers can be dug up and overwintered in a dry area of the home to use again in early spring. Many caladiums are also insect- and disease-free.
The two types of caladium are fancy-leafed and lance-leafed. Fancy-leafed caladium is known for its large, heart-shaped leaves that grow up to 30 inches tall and thrive in part shade. Lance- or strap-leafed varieties are characterized by their elongated, narrow and compact foliage that is ideal planted along borders and beds or tucked into hanging baskets. Caladium colors include red, pink, white, mauve and green, each of which has an individual combination that sets it apart from the rest. For instance, caladium "Florida Fantasy" is all white with contrasting red veins and the variety known as "Gypsy Rose" has pink vines with green blotches along each leaf. The varied and unusual foliage colors and patterns make caladium an ideal plant to use throughout the landscape.
Caladiums provide bright bursts of color to shaded areas of the landscape like around a shade tree or shrub. They require part shade, although handle a smattering of sunlight. When planted in masses, the red, pink and white leaves help to create dramatic focal points to the landscape and provide an attractive contrast with green accent plants. When planted along shade-loving plants like lush ferns or hostas, caladiums provide a tropical, jungly feel to the garden. Caladiums thrive in containers or tubs to create a focal point to the landscape. They require fertile, moist soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter. When temperatures fall below 55 to 60 degrees F, bring the plant indoors to brighten up the home and provide a burst of indoor color during winter.