During a visit to the flower show or to a Botanical Garden, you must have seen these beautiful plants with multi-coloured foliage and you desired to grow and possess these colourful plants in your garden.

Most of the garden lovers have grown their favorite flowering plants but only a few have ventured into the world of foliage plants that provide brilliant colourful look to any garden. Every garden has some shady area where the sunlight does not reach. This is where you can grow these beautiful plants.


These colourful foliage plants are the Caladiums, originally the natural habitants of tropical rain forests of South America. It is a member of the Araceae (Arums) family of plants and is valued and grown in a garden for their beautiful and colourful foliage. These plants display heart shaped and multi-coloured. The leaves may vary from 15 to 60 cm in length. The color of their leaves ranges from green and silver white, green and red, pink with green edge, white with red blotches or green veins and some have lavender spots. They do flower during the season but these are overshadowed by the beautiful and colourful leaves.  They grow best in warm and moist atmosphere with a minimum summer temperature of 20-25°C and a minimum winter temperature of 10-15°C.

The Botanical name is Caladium x Hortulanum.


Outdoor Beds

Soil Type:

Any location which has good drainage and no water logging. If you soil get water logged after the heavy rains, you can improve it with the addition of organic material to raise the level 5-10 cm as this will improve the drainage. Caladiums prefer rich well drained sandy loam. The acidity of your soil will also help to determine the color of your caladium leaves. A high acid level will cause the darker colors to be most dominant.

Light requirement:

They do best in a partially shaded area. In case the caladium plants are grown in completely shaded area of the garden, the green color will be most dominant.

Planting method:

The right time to plant the Caladium bulbs is spring time (mid February). Plant them direct into soil beds or the pots with eyes facing up. However, the best method is to take a wooden box or a shallow wide clay pot and place some leaf mold in it. Place the Caladium bulbs on it and slightly moisten them. Apply a regular spray of water so that the mold remains moist. This is to be done till the roots emerge.

Dig holes in the soil beds or pots and plant the caladiums 5 cm deep. The bulbs should be planted 20-25 cm apart depending on the mature size of the variety.

After planting, water your caladiums generously, soaking the soil.  Roots and sprouts will form in 7-10 days.

Water requirement:

They require regular watering in order to keep the soil moist. However, ensure not to drench the soil as this will damage the roots. Between watering and during the afternoons the leaves should be given a light water spray as this enhances the beauty of the foliage. 

Care of the bulbs:

During winter the foliage dies back. At this stage, trim off any yellow foliage. You may keep the bulbs in the soil and these will group during the next season. Avoid watering them during the winter months. In colder zones to save your caladium bulbs for next year, dig them out and wash them to remove the soil. Apply suitable fungicide like Captan (Captaf, Hexacap or Bangtan), and dry them for a few days. These bulbs should then be placed in paper bags or boxes filled with peat moss.

Some growing tips:

  • To plant caladiums in pots, fill the pot with good quality, well-drained soil.  Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine.  Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; caladium tubers must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.
  •  Place the pots where they will receive filtered sunlight, bright indirect light or partial shade.  In the hottest areas full shade is fine.  Caladiums have big leaves that can be damaged by strong winds, so it's best position caladium containers where they have some wind protection.
  • When planting caladiums dig holes and plant the caladiums 5 cm deep.  Look for the sides of the bulbs that appear to have the most "eyes" or growing points. Plant the bulbs with the eyes facing up.  Plant the bulbs 20-25 cm" apart depending on the mature size of the variety.
  • After planting, water your caladiums generously, soaking the soil.  Roots and sprouts will form in 7-10 days. 
  •  Water regularly as needed during the growing season. 

Some recommended varieties:





Fancy Caladium or Angle Wing Aaron

White with wide feathered green margins


Caladium 'Apple Blossom'

Wide pink leaves with white shading and green borders


Caladium 'Florida Cardinal'

Rich red foliage with contrasting green borders


Caladium 'Gingerland'

Variegated green leaves with cranberry splashes


Caladium 'Miss Muffett'

White with chartreuse edges, pink veins and burgundy speckles


Caladium 'Postman Joyner'

Red leaves with a deep green border


Caladium 'Red Flash'

Brilliant dark red with fuchsia spots and wide green margins


Caladium 'Rosebud'

Leaves have deep pink bursts, a white background and green edges


Caladium 'Sparkling Shade Mix'

Red, pink, white and green leaves with bright contrasting markings


Caladium 'Sweetheart'

Mauve pink foliage with seer suckered green edges