caladium bicolor care

Caladium Bicolor Care Tips For Indoor And Outdoor Plantings

Caladium bicolor is among the caladium plants that are a favorite of plant collectors because of the beauty of the heart-shaped leaves. Sometimes you get red with a green border, while other cultivars display pink, white, and green edges in mixed colors. No wonder they want to provide their precious plants with the best caladium bicolor care.

Furthermore, the care for caladium plants is not tricky. Or, we can safely say pretty easy. You just need to provide all their growing conditions to ensure they grow well.

Therefore, we help you understand the factors influencing their growth. From light intensity, soil conditions, humidity, and fertilizer to proper methods of propagation, we have compiled them all here. So, without further ado, let’s talk about caladium bicolor plant care!

What Is Caladium Bicolor

Before further discussing caladium bicolor plant care, let us introduce you to this caladium plant first! Caladium bicolor, popular with its common name ‘Heart of Jesus’, is a tropical perennial plant native to Central and South America. They are characterized by heart-shaped leaves with variegation, making these caladium plants look stunning.

Moreover, the motif colors vary, ranging from hot pink, magenta, and pale pink against dark green or lime green leaves.

Also, white dots are scattered on the upper leaves, making the appearance even more stunning. With these unique features, it is not surprising that Caladium bicolor is one of the favorite caladium varieties for ornamental plant lovers.

caladium bicolor care
What Is Caladium Bicolor

In addition, you can plant these fancy leaf caladiums indoors and outdoors. The outdoor caladium plants can thrive in the sun and shade and love moist soil but are well-drained. Slightly different in light intensity, indoor caladium plants need bright indirect sunlight to keep them flourishing and maintain their vibrant foliage indoors.

But unfortunately, the caladium bicolor lifespan is too short, around six months before they go dormant. But despite the short caladium bicolor lifespan, they are worth planting!

Therefore, we will provide tips and tricks to know how to care for caladium plants in pots and your garden. Plus, understanding the factors that affect the growth of your caladium plants. Just bear with us, and read this article thoroughly.

How To Care For Caladium Bicolor

In this part, we will know more about caladium bicolor care. Despite being easy to maintain, some plant collectors make mistakes in their maintenance, for example, underwater or overwatering, putting it in the full sun, and so on.

Therefore, we need to provide insight on how to care for caladium plants, especially caladium bicolor care, to avoid such mistakes from happening again. In addition, we include several factors influencing their growth below to better understand the plant’s behavior.

1) Light Intensity

Like other tropical plants, Caladium bicolor loves to hide under the shade with some lights. You can choose a site under the sun or shade if they are grown outdoors. However, they grow best under partial shade or shade with 2-4 hours of direct morning sun.

Suppose you live in warmer climates. In that case, do not put them under the full sun exposure for long as it will scorch their beautiful leaves. Contrary, these caladium plants can still enjoy the morning to late afternoon sun outdoors in the colder areas.

On the other hand, indoor care for caladium plants requires only bright but indirect light to maintain the plant’s health and keep the variegated foliage. This condition also encourages lush and large leaves to grow.

2) Temperature And Humidity Requirement

In addition to the previous factor, growing Caladium bicolor must also consider the temperatures and humidity as they are related. The best soil temperature for this perennial plant is around 70-75’F at a minimum. You can also try to plant caladium bulbs at night when the temperatures reach about 60-65’F.

caladium bicolor care
Temperature And Humidity Requirement

Despite tolerating cold temperatures up to 45’F, it may cause roots to rot before they can even sprout. Usually, these low soil temperatures occur in early spring. Hence, it is better to wait a little longer until the ground melts and it gets warmer.

Regarding the humidity level, Caladium bicolor prefers high humidity indoors and outdoors. Therefore, to care for Caladiums in pots, you can mist the leaves with water or place the saucer with pebbles and water underneath the containers. The water will evaporate and keep the moisture level high in your indoor area.

Meanwhile, water the Caladium plants weekly if they are growing outdoor to keep the soil moist, especially during hot days.

3) Watering And Drainage

As it loves moist soil, these leafy plants need regular watering at least once a week. But, do not give too much as overwatering will turn the leaves yellow, make the leaves drop, and root the tubers if the pots or soils do not have good drainage.

Watering And Drainage
Watering And Drainage

Similarly, underwatering also causes the same effects, only with dry leaves. So, how to determine the best time to water your Caladium bicolor?

You can check the soil surface. If 25% of the soil is dry, it is time to water the plants. Water the soil pot evenly moist. Ensure no waterlogging on the surface, and the saucer is empty to prevent roots from rotting.

To provide good drainage, choose pots with porous and proper holes to let the water escape quickly from the containers.

In addition, occasionally watering during winter as the plant enters the dormancy phase. Then, water them again in spring to wake them from their long rest.

4) Soil Conditions

Regarding the soil conditions, Caladium bicolor plants prefer rich, light, moist, well-drained soil to thrive in your garden. It also requires acidic soils with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.2. Moreover, growing caladium bicolor in pots is better for those with heavy soil in their yard.

You just need to provide an excellent potting mix with peat and fertilize the ground with compost before planting the Caladium. To keep them moist, provide weekly watering during summer heat and lessen the frequency when the winter approaches.

5) Fertilizing

Adding fertilizer to the caladium soil is essential to provide nutrients and produce good tubers for the next growing season. You can give your plant the 5-10-10 fertilizer every four to six weeks during their growing period. Apply one tablespoon fertilizer per square foot for optimum results in spring and summer.

If you choose liquid soluble fertilizer, you can add it once every two weeks to promote lush foliage with a fantastic pattern. Another option is 15-9-12 plus micronutrient fertilizer with six months release. No matter the type of fertilizers you pick, they all boost the nutrients for your plant’s growth.

6) Propagation

Propagation
Propagation

Since Caladium bicolor will be dormant in fall and winter, you can take the bulbs and plant them in the next growing season. Nonetheless, you must know how to properly propagate your Caladium. Therefore, check out the following steps carefully to have a new healthy plant with showy leaves:

  • First, wait until the leaves die and the soil dries in fall or winter.
  • Next, gently take out the tubers from the soil.
  • After that, keep the tubes in a storage box and store them in a dry and dark location with a temperature of around 55’F.
  • When the late winter or early spring approaches, take a sharp and sterile cutting tool to cut the tubers.
  • But before that, ensure the tubers have an eye or a knob as growing sites.
  • Then, set aside the tubers for a week. You will notice a callus on the cut ends.
  • Lastly, plant them again in the containers with the growing site facing outdoors during the growing season.

Caladium Bicolor Care Tips

caladium bicolor care
Caladium Bicolor Care Tips

Now, we are jumping into caladium bicolor care tips for indoor and outdoor plantings. You will find out tips to care for caladiums in pots and proper indoor care to make the plants thrive. Let’s take a look!

1) Indoor Caladium Bicolor Care Tips

Caladium bicolor plants are a favorite houseplant for many. And here, we would like to offer some information on how to grow and maintain the plants indoors. Curious? Find out below!

  • Choose a north-facing or east-facing window to avoid the mid-afternoon sun that may burn their leaves. These areas also allow required bright but indirect light to expose the foliage.
  • Keep the humidity high by providing a saucer with pebbles and water under the containers. It will release moisture that will maintain the humidity. You can also put a humidifier near the container area.
  • Water the soil whenever the surface is dry to touch. You can also mist the leaves with water.
  • Stay the plants away from your pets as they are toxic to them.

2) Outdoor Caladium Bicolor Care Tips

Even though Caladium bicolor is a well-known ornamental plant for indoor plantings, you can grow them outdoors. Here are the tips for growing Caladium bicolor in your garden or patio. Let’s find out!

  • Pick partial shade or shade sites as these stunning plants cannot tolerate bright direct sunlight. If you place them on your patio with pots, choose a north-facing spot as it provides morning sun for 2-4 hours without scorching the foliage.
  • Provide shelter for them during cold temperatures, especially in fall through winter, since they cannot withstand frost.
  • Spray insecticidal soap on the plants whenever you spot pests, like aphids, mealybugs, mites, and whiteflies.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is Caladium bicolor a perennial?

Caladium bicolor is a tropical perennial plant with heart-shaped leaves with beautiful patterns. And for this unique feature, these Brazilian species are the favorite of plant collectors. Like other caladium plants, they also thrive in wet and dry areas of tropical rainforests, particularly in Central and South America.

Is Caladium bicolor an indoor plant?

Despite loving to grow outside, you can grow Caladium bicolor indoors. It prefers heat and moist soil, so provide bright indirect light and humidity if you grow them indoors. Such a lighting level also stimulates lush growth and maintains their stunning leaves.

However, these caladium varieties can do well in the shade.

How do you keep caladium bicolor alive?

The key to keeping Caladium bicolor alive is to provide their growing conditions. Hence, knowing how to care for caladium plants is important. Check out the following tips for growing caladium bicolor healthily:

  • Sun exposure. Caladium bicolor care starts from sun exposure. Make sure you offer bright indirect light if growing Caladium bicolor indoors. And for outdoor plantings, sun or shade does not matter.
  • Soil conditions. Provide well-drained, moist soil, given they are tropical perennial plants whose natural habitat is in tropical forests.
  • Watering. It is crucial to offer regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist, especially during dry seasons and in the early stages of growth. But avoid soggy soil as it can make their tubers rot.

Why is my caladium bicolor dying?

You may wonder what happens to your precious plant if you observe signs of dying caladium. Some issues, such as underwatering or overwatering, may cause your caladium to turn dormant. They will gradually drop their leaves, and sometimes, they turn yellow.

In addition, cold temperatures can trigger wilting leaves since caladium bicolor plants are not cold hardy. They are tropical plants that love heat so much! Hence, offer shelter whenever the temperature drops. You can grow them indoors and provide proper indoor care to easily transfer the plants inside. 

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