The large showy leaves of caladiums are always a big draw especially if you have a shady area that needs color. The plant grows 12-20″ tall and has leaves that are 6-18″ long and range in color from red and pink to white with various shades of green, and feature attractive veining as well. The color develops best in partial shade and lasts all season; too much sun may scorch the leaves while too little light leads to less color. There are two different kinds of caladiums: one group has arrow-shaped leaves and are tall the other has lance or strap-shaped leaves and are shorter. The lance-leaved caladiums produce more leaves and are more compact. Throughout a warm growing season, inconspicuous yellow to green flowers appear on a spadix surrounded by a yellow-green spathe. Caladium is a good container and house plant and valued for use in shady areas of the garden but may be toxic with contact or if ingested. Caladium, also known as angel’s wings, is native to tropical Central and South America and is a member or the arum family, Areacea, that also includes peace lily, anthurium, and jack in the pulpit. The genus name, Caladium, is from the Malayan name for plants of this genus,  kaladi. The specific epithet, bicolor, comes from the Latin words bis meaning twice, and color, meaning color and refers to the leaves.

Type: Tender herbaceous perenial

Bloom: NA (Grown for colorful leaves).

Foliage: Large, white, pink, red and green, arrow-shaped leaves with midribs, veins and margins in contrasting colors.

Size: 12-30” H.

Light: Partial shade.

Soil: Fertile, moist.

Fertilizer: Caladiums are nitrogen sensitive and may stretch or fail to develop good color if over fertilized.

Hardiness: Zone 10-11.

Pests and Diseases: Generally considered pest free but can be susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, thrips, white flies, slugs, snails, nematodes, Fusarium tuber rot, and root rot.

Propagation: Division of tubers.

Companion Plants: Ferns, astilbe, tiarella and other shade loving plants with fine foliage.

Outstanding Selections: There are many fine cultivars showing many variations in colors.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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By Karen