Caladiums are tuberous-rooted plants with heart-shaped leaves on stalks rising directly from the tubers. The leaves may be patterned and veined in white, green or pink. A small lily-like flower grows in Summer.
Water Caladiums moderately, enough to make the mixture moist. As the leaves begin to dry out and die down, reduce the frequency of watering.
Apply half strength standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in the active growth season only.
Use peat-based compost and plenty of clay pot pieces in the bottom of the pot for drainage. Dormant tubers should be potted in fresh potting compost in the Spring. A 3 inch pot is best for small tubers, 5 inch pot is best for larger plants.
Detach small tubers from the parent at the time of restarting into growth.
Caladiums require bright light but must not have direct sunlight. They must never be exposed to drafts or the leaves will crumble up within an hour. Store dormant tubers in the dark. The tubers require a rest period of about 5 months from early Autumn through early Spring. During these months they should be watered only once a month.
Tubers should be buried at about their own depth --- plant an inch thick tuber an inch below the surface. Start tubers into growth at a temperature of at least 70ºF.
All Caladiums need unusually constant high humidity to maintain healthy foliage. After the leaves have died down, dormant tubers can be kept in their pots.
High degree of humidity is essential for Caladiums. Pots should be kept on trays of moist pebbles or keep pot in outer pot filled with damp peat. If possible stand plant with other plants. Do not spray overhead or leaves may be damaged.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.