How to Grow Caladiums from Bulb

Caladium is a tuberous plant native to the tropics of Brazil and is part of the Araceae family. There are about fifteen species and many many more hybrid varieties.

Caladium is an ornamental aroid often grown in containers or planted as a border plant. They are valued for their bright foliage. 

The shape of the leaf resembles the Alocasia, however, its leaves are much thinner, allowing light to pass through. Leaves, which can grow up to 40 cm long, are mounted on stems measuring 90 cm in height.


General information

  • Ships as: Bulb/tuber
  • Plant type: Herb
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5) to Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
  • Maximum recommended zone: Zone 13
  • Other info: Deer and rabbit resistant, humidity tolerant
  • Warning: Toxic to cats and dogs

Caladiums NEED light and heat to grow. If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm up before planting. For example, in my area, I will only be starting to plant my caladium bulbs in June.

If you don't have a warm enough environment, you might need to invest in a horticultural lamp, heating mat, and small greenhouse.

Do not soak the bulbs before planting. Do not leave the bulbs in damp conditions as they are prone to rot. Water only when soil is dry.


Starting your caladium bulbs

Light, heat and humidity are the three keys to germination.

Chose a shallow, not too big container to start your caladium. A plastic pot will do just fine, allowing some humidity but also very good drainage (make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes). Set up your pot in a bright spot.

Plant the caladiums bulbs about 2" deep with the eyes facing up, 8-12" apart. Don't plant them too deep. They should only be covered by a thin layer of soil.

Plant the side of the tuber with the most "eyes" (like a potato) facing upwards. Don't overthink it though -- even if planted upside down, they will find their way.


After planting, water your caladiums generously. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soils and air temperature. Do not worry if you do not immediately see growth. It can take up to 6 weeks for them to show any signs of life.

Always allow the substrate to dry between waterings: it should be kept slightly damp, but never soggy. Check regularly the potting substrate and water it only when it is dry.


A mix of houseplant potting soil, heather soil with a good handful of perlite will work just fine. Sphagnum moss and compressed coconut fibre are also good additions to the soil mix.


Caring for your plant

Be patient! After about two months, if you are caring for your bulb correctly (see above!), you will start to see growth.

Once the first leaves have unfolded, you can then repot it into a larger pot (terracotta is okay at this point). Be sure to continue using a well-draining substrate (perlite).

Due to its tropical origin, caladium loves heat and humidity, so it is very important to provide it with a very bright location. The more light, the more vivid its colors! Caladiums also need high humidity, so it can help to spray the foliage with filtered water or to install a humidifier.


During its growth phase, you can add special diluted liquid fertilizer for indoor plants to the water.
Be careful, do not let the fertilizer come into contact with leaves. Always respect the dosage indicated in the instructions.

Wintering your caladiums

At the end of autumn, the foliage of the Caladium wilts. Gradually reduce watering. Once it has completely wilted, cut down the last stems, and dig up the bulb.

Let it air dry for a few days, then store on in a bed of wood shavings, peat moss, or perlite. Keep the tubers in a completely dark, well-ventilated, dry place that never goes below 15 degrees C. Your caladiums will sleep for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.


Other information

  • Please note that Caladium Rhapsody is a late variety and may take 8-9 weeks to germinate.
  • Caladium Pink Panther is a NEW variety, producing relatively smaller plants, ideal for growing in containers.


Buy our caladium bulbs here.

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