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Introduction: Caladiums, commonly known as elephant ears, are tropical plants known for their large, heart-shaped leaves in vibrant shades of green, pink, and red.
These low-maintenance plants are easy to grow, making them a great choice for beginner gardeners.
Read on below – explore everything you need to know about how to grow caladiums in your garden, step-by-step!
Choosing the Right Location
Caladiums thrive in warm, humid environments, making them ideal for growing in the southern United States. They prefer partial shade to full shade, as direct sunlight can scorch their delicate leaves.
When choosing the right location, pick a spot with well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If you live in a cooler climate, you can grow caladiums indoors as houseplants.
The planting process for elephant ears is simple. Just follow these 5 easy steps:
- Plant caladium bulbs in the spring, once the soil has warmed up to at least 70°F.
- Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the bulb.
- Place the bulb in the hole with the “eyes” facing up.
- Cover the bulb with soil, and water thoroughly.
- Space the bulbs 8-12 inches apart to allow room for their leaves to grow.
Watering and Fertilizing
The most important points to remember about correctly watering and fertilizing caladiums are:
- Caladiums need to be watered regularly, especially during hot, dry weather.
- Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, to prevent the bulbs from rotting.
- Fertilize your caladiums every 2 to 3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer to encourage healthy growth.
Before you fertilize your plants, we recommend learning more about the proper type of fertilizer and procedures to use for fertilizing caladiums.
Caring for Caladiums
Caladiums are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they do require some care. Here are the main steps to successfully caring for them:
- Remove any dead or yellow leaves as soon as you notice them to prevent disease.
- Pinch off any flower buds that appear, as they can divert energy away from leaf growth.
- In the fall, when the leaves begin to yellow and die back, dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place until spring.
Are you growing your plants indoors, rather than outside? If so, make sure you understand the difference between caring for caladiums in pots and taking care of caladiums outside in flower beds.
Growing Climbing Caladiums
While most caladiums are grown as upright plants, there are also climbing varieties that can add a unique touch to your garden. Climbing caladiums grow vines that can reach up to 6 feet in length, so they need a sturdy support structure to climb on.
You can use a trellis, fence, or even a nearby tree to provide support. Plant climbing caladium bulbs in the same way as upright caladiums, and provide plenty of water and fertilizer to encourage growth.
A Final Word About How to Grow Caladiums
With their bold, colorful leaves and easy-care nature, caladiums are a great choice for gardeners of all skill levels. By following these simple steps, you can grow healthy, vibrant caladiums that will add a tropical touch to your garden or home.
Suggested Reading: How to Grow Carnations: Gardening Guide
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