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Caladiums: A Kaleidoscope of Patterns

Dr. Robert D. Hartman & Alessia Mach
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The excitement and interest of growing and buying caladiums has increased exponentially due to the versatility of caladiums thriving in sun and shade. You can design both indoor and outdoor garden ideas. Caladiums come in a wide range of tropical colors and their leaves are constantly changing, offering a kaleidoscope of patterns. The color transition can vary over time as light and temperatures change throughout the seasons.

These lush foliage plants are the perfect way for gardeners of any level to bring a tropical feel to their landscapes, borders, patio containers, garden beds and even their living room!

Success in Landscapes, Combos & Hanging Baskets

No other plant can compete with caladiums during the period of late spring to early fall. They’re great for sunny and shady areas due to their bright colors, color duration and low maintenance habits. Caladiums are an easy way to bring tropical foliage colors to landscapes. Consumers are noticing the unique looks and patterns that are different from the older varieties.

Article ImagePictured: Combine Proven Winners Bottle Rocket with Diamond Snow to create the Starboard container recipe.
Pictured: Proven Winners Heart to Heart Scarlet Flame and White Wonder in a terrace landscape.

Pictured: Create your own interior foliage combo utilizing Heart to Heart Va Va Violet, Heart and Soul, or White Wonder.

Borders of caladiums can brighten walkways. As a rule, the shade varieties are usually taller. The sun varieties make excellent border plants in front of the shade varieties or other plants to give a tiered effect. Shady areas can now be filled with many different colors that can last from late spring to fall. Caladiums are great plants for sunny areas, as many varieties do well across multiple zones and regions.

Caladiums thrive outside in quart and larger containers, which make them a great patio addition in a container or a hanging basket. Caladiums provide great thriller or filler components, as they’re always in color for combos or underplantings. Caladiums can be blended with many other types of plants like patio roses, cannas or upright elephant ears.

Bringing Caladiums Indoors

Consumers have increased demand for houseplants and caladiums can meet the demand by providing several months of vibrant foliage. Caladiums prefer a warm location with bright light or by a sunny window. Frequent misting can help keep the humidity up around your tropical houseplants. Outdoor potted caladiums can be moved indoors in early fall and kept actively growing as a houseplant for a few months until they naturally enter a resting period.

Article ImageCombine any of your cut caladiums leaves with flowers for a new, contemporary look in floral arrangements. Cut a few leaves from your indoor or outdoor caladium and add to your cut flower arrangement. The intricate pattern of the leaves will add out-of-the-ordinary color and texture to your next floral arrangement. Since caladiums are a tropical foliage plant, they’re longer lasting than cut flowers. Try creating a vase exclusively of caladium leaves for a standout floral arrangement.

Pictured: Combine red and pink roses with the Heart to Heart variety Heart and Soul for a cut flower arrangement.

Tips for Retail Success

Retailers should place interior caladium displays in the brightest locations available. They may need supplemental lighting to keep plants from stretching. Space caladiums relative to their size for proper air flow and to keep the plants as healthy as possible. Exterior displayed caladiums prefer filtered light or morning sun. Sun varieties and newer genetics can be displayed in full sun with proper spacing and watering.

Merchandising the display by striping or blocking the colors on the bench will aid in better sell through.  Separate similar colors to define each plant variety. Caladiums should be rotated to keep plants fresh and uniform. Retailers may need to move exterior displays to warmer locations to prevent damage from cold weather, especially in the spring season when temperatures reach 55 to 60F (12 to 15C).

About Those Bulbs

Cured bulbs generally have more uniformity than “green,” less-cured bulbs. Results have shown properly cured bulbs finish weeks earlier than freshly harvested less-cured bulbs. Early (January to February) forced caladiums commonly finish in 10 to 12 weeks. Later plantings (May to July) finish in as early as four to six weeks.

A well-drained soil mixture containing organic matter is recommended. A pH-adjusted peat moss, pine bark and perlite mix has proven successful. When the bulbs begin to sprout, it’s critical to keep the soil temperature above 70 to 75F (21 to 23C) with 60% to 85% humidity. Water temperature above 60F (15C) is critical to prevent bulb damage. As bulbs are sprouting, treat with a preventative broad-spectrum fungicidal drench. Once sprouted, keep soil and air temperatures above 70F to grow and finish. Maintain moist, but not soggy, soil conditions for optimum results.

Potted Potential Year-Round

As a reminder, caladiums are tropical perennials and therefore require consistently warm conditions to perform properly. Traditionally, potted caladiums are sold as Easter, Mother’s Day and as summer crops. However, with improvements being made in genetics and bulb storage, potted caladiums can be used year-round.

Caladiums are one of a minority of plants that can be grown successfully in sun or shade. Incredible applications include landscapes, borders, containers, hanging baskets, interior foliage and cut flower arrangements.

In 2022, Heart to Heart will introduce an additional seven caladium varieties: Bold ’N Beautiful, Burning Heart, Clowning Around, Hot 2 Trot, Hot Flash, White Star and Xplosion. The worldwide innovative breeding has led to new and different caladiums with more adaptive uses than ever before.

Classic Caladiums, LLC. is the breeder of the award-winning genetics behind Proven Winners Heart to Heart caladiums. This partnership has won multiple awards across many regions of the U.S. and internationally for their resilient performance. GP

Dr. Robert D. Hartman is President of Classic Caladiums, LLC, and Alessia Mach is the National Marketing & Sales Coordinator. Find out more at


About Heart to Heart Caladiums

The award-winning partnership between Classic Caladiums, LLC and Proven Winners has allowed for groundbreaking genetics and innovative production techniques to produce high-quality caladium bulbs. Dr. Robert Hartman, President of Classic Caladiums, LLC—the largest breeder and producer of caladiums in the world—partnered with the #1 Plant Brand of Proven Winners to create the successful collection of Heart to Heart Caladiums, which continue to trend upward in popularity and demand. Order your Proven Winners caladium bulbs from your broker of choice!