Essential Tips for Growing and Caring for Caladiums

In the spring, carefully remove the caladium from the ground, making sure not to damage the fleshy root. If you saved tubers from the previous year, those can be used as well. Cut off the tuber with a sharp knife, leaving at least one “eye” or bud for each piece. Allow the cut area to develop a callus by drying the pieces for a few days. Afterward, plant the tuber in an area that is both sunny and well-draining, with the “eye” facing up. The “eyes” should be one to two inches below the soil surface. Depending on the caladium variety and its expected mature size, try spacing the tubers about a foot apart. To enrich the soil, add organic material.

You can propagate new caladiums by dividing these tubers. To do this, dig up the tubers when the temperature drops and store them in a warm place (50°F to 60°F) until it’s time to replant.

Caladiums are relatively free of pests and diseases, but they can be susceptible to caterpillars and aphids. Maintaining a healthy soil, sun, and water balance can help prevent infestations. If you notice marks or holes in the foliage, treat them with insecticidal soap. This treatment should also help avoid mealybugs, mites, thrips, and whiteflies. In the case of only a few pests, remove them by hand. Deer and rabbits occasionally graze on caladiums.

Fungal pathogens such as Rhizoctonia and Pythium species can infect the tubers. Infections like these, along with blight, can destroy the tuber.

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