Caladiums produce colorful tropical foliage that brightens shady areas of the landscape. The color depends on the variety, but most feature variegated leaves in hues of green, white, cream, pink and red. Since caladiums originally come from tropical climates, they can only remain outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 10 and above. In cooler areas, the tuberous roots are dug up and stored indoors for winter or the plants are treated as annuals. Arranging the caladiums in the garden correctly ensures healthy growth and an attractive bed.
- Select a partially shaded garden bed after soil temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The bed should have rich, well-draining soil. Incorporate a 2-inch layer of compost into the top 8 inches of soil to further improve the soil quality.
- Determine the size of the caladium tubers before arranging them. Those below 2 1/2 inches in length require an eight-inch spacing between plants, while those larger than 2 1/2 inches require a 12-inch spacing.
- Set the tubers on top of the soil at the correct spacing. If the caladiums are presprouted in pots, arrange the pots on top of the soil. If you are planting multiple rows of caladiums, offset each row so the bed looks fuller.
- Arrange the caladiums in the rear of the bed if you are combining them with low-growing plants in a bed that is only viewable from one side, such as in a wall border planting. Place the caladiums in the center of the bed if they are sharing it with lower-growing plants in a bed that’s viewable from multiple sides. Caladiums can reach up to 30 inches high. If you combine them with taller plants, place the caladiums in the forefront of the bed instead.
- Dig the planting holes with a trowel after you have determined the best arrangement. Plant the tubers 2 inches deep or transplant potted caladiums at the same depth they were at in the pot. Water the plants once or twice weekly so the soil remains moist.