Caladium is a tropical ornamental plant that is native to the Amazon river region of Brazil. Use these shade-friendly plants to brighten up any shaded areas of your yard, like as ground cover under a tree, or as indoor ornamentation. If you are planning to plant caladium outdoors, follow these tips for a smooth and successful transplant.
Consider the Planting Timeline
There aren’t many plants that gardeners will grow from seed outside, and caladium is no different. These should be started indoors roughly 6 weeks prior to the end of the last frost. These naturally tropical plants hate the cold, so make certain the soil has had a chance to warm before doing your transplanting.
Peat pots go a long way to making the transplanting process easier. You can either start your caladium in peat pots, or transplant them to peat pots while still growing indoors for a few weeks. This way, you do not have to worry about removing them from the pot when the time comes to transplant them outdoors. This will reduce the risk of transplanting shock, which in turn increases the chance of successful growth outside.
On a side note, one sign of transplanting shock is caladium leaves flopping and dying, rather than standing straight up as they should. However, while this is a sign of dying leaves, it is completely natural. In a short time, new leaves will grow in as normal and you can prune away the flopping leaves.
The Proper Location and Soil
Consider the right location as well as the right soil before transplanting your caladium outside. Again, these were originally tropical plants, and so they prefer rich, moist soil. To add nutrints before planting, dig up about a foot or 2 of soil and mix it in well with cornpost and manure.
Additionally, you should make sure to choose a location that is shaded and well-draining. Alongside your house on a wall with an overhang may work for shade, as well as under trees and other obstructions. Just make sure that your location gets little to no direct sunlight.
Making Your Soil Drain Better
If your soil doesn't naturally drain well, there are a few options you can implement. You can add soil and raise up the area in which you want to plant so that it sits above other nearby hills in your yard. To prevent run-off with the loose soil, you may want to build or install a retaining wall. Another option that can be used in conjunction or even in place of the raise planting bed is to dig down deep and replace any hard, clay-like soil with looser soil, possibly even mixing your soil with some sand.
Transplanting Back Indoors
If you wish to save your caladiums for the next year, it is important that you know when to dig up tuber roots. Leaves begin to flop when temperatures drop below 60 degrees; this is a good time to start digging. Remove tubers before the temperature drops below 50 degrees, and store at temperatures above 65 degrees.