If you love caladiums, you may be interested in learning how to care for them in pots. Caladiums are a tropical plant from the Araceae family. They grow on limestone outcrops in tropical rain forests, where they receive plenty of humidity. This helps them survive the winter. When it is colder, the foliage dies back, leaving the tubers dormant. However, when temperatures rise above 60 degrees, the plant can resume growth.
Overwintering caladiums in pots requires careful preparation. In addition to storing the plants, you also need to keep them healthy. These plants require bright light and humidity to thrive. The best time to overwinter caladiums is in late summer or early fall. Regardless of the season, the bulbs need to be planted in well-draining soil. It is important to water them regularly, especially in the summer. Otherwise, their vibrant colors may fade.
Before planting caladiums in pots, you need to decide where they will be located. Ideally, you should situate them in a sunny spot that gets four hours of filtered light. You should make sure the soil is loose, well drained and a little organic. Avoid placing them in drafty windows, as these can interfere with their ability to maintain moisture levels. Watering too much can burn their leaves.
During the growing season, you should also fertilize your caladiums. This is done in order to stimulate new leaf growth. Some experts recommend using a slow-release fertilizer. Others advise you to use a liquid fertilizer, diluted to about 1/4 strength. Be sure to avoid using fertilizers in the fall and winter, as this can disrupt the plant’s natural growth cycle.
For overwintering, you can either dig up the caladium tubers or store them in net bags or sawdust. Keep in mind that they will need a good five months of rest before they grow again in spring. If you choose to dig, be sure to follow the directions that come with your tubers. Dig the pots at least six inches deep. Do not over-dig the bed, as this can interfere with the tubers’ root growth.
You can also store caladiums in the ground. You should not let them freeze, however. Rather, dig them up before it gets too cold. Alternatively, you can store them in a cool, dry area, such as a basement or garage. Store them at 55 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a humidifier or a spritzer with a mist setting will help them stay healthy.
Once the growing season is over, you can start replanting your caladiums. You should wait at least a month before doing so, though. Your caladiums will not need much watering during this time. Just be sure to water them every other day. Afterwards, you can resume regular watering, once the leaves emerge.
The foliage of the caladium dies back in the fall. The flowers will also eventually wither, and you should remove them to leave more room for the foliage.
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