Caladiums Are Incredibly Bright And Moderately Capricious. Room Care. Photo

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Caladiums Are Incredibly Bright And Moderately Capricious. Room Care. Photo
Caladiums Are Incredibly Bright And Moderately Capricious. Room Care. Photo
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There are not so many decorative leafy pets among tuberous crops. And Caladium is a true star among the variegated inhabitants of interiors. Not everyone can decide to start a Caladium. This plant is demanding, and first of all - to care. But still, rumors about the extraordinary capriciousness of the Caladiums never justify. Care and attention will help you avoid any difficulties. And a plant can almost always forgive small mistakes. Gorgeous shades of leaves and intricate patterns of charming, daring and at the same time so delicate caladiums can enchant anyone.

Caladiums are incredibly bright and moderately capricious
Caladiums are incredibly bright and moderately capricious

Content:

  • Caladium - plant description
  • Types of indoor caladiums
  • Growing conditions for indoor caladiums
  • Caring for Caladium at Home
  • Diseases, pests and problems in growing caladium
  • Reproduction of caladiums

Caladium - plant description

Caladiums are often referred to as some of the noblest indoor crops. Not having hard leathery leaves, but remaining thin-leaved and delicate, they are truly unique in their character, and in the choice of varieties, and in the impression they make in the interior. Caladiums are perceived as classic, but bright plants, real aristocrats with their own special disposition.

The charming representatives of the Aroid family are endemic to the flora of Latin America. All caladiums are found in humid forests, mainly in tropical, but sometimes subtropical climates. The popular nicknames of Caladiums are a clear evidence of their beauty. This plant is known as angel wings, elephant ears, heart of Jesus, and angel tubers.

Caladiums (Caladium) are tuberous decorative deciduous herbaceous perennials. Rough, flattened, large, up to 10 cm in diameter, plant tubers seem very massive. The adventitious roots are fibrous and small, develop evenly at the bottom of the tuber.

The height of the plant directly depends on the variety and ranges from 20 cm in the most compact varieties to 30-40 cm in most hybrids and almost 70 cm in the largest-leaved specimens. But all the same caladiums remain compact enough, they never look massive and overwhelming. It is a fast growing, albeit special plant that looks like a lush, bushy bush of leaves.

In the development of all caladiums there is a pronounced dormant period: the plant sheds its leaves and "hibernates" with one tuber. Caladiums develop somewhat unevenly: it usually takes almost two weeks for them to unroll the first leaf, but then the plants start growing much faster and turn into lush bushes with numerous leaves in a fairly short time.

Modern hybrids often release leaves from the soil throughout the year or have a shifted dormancy period. Traditionally, Caladiums shed their leaves in the fall and remain dry all winter. But plants, like any tuberous plants, can be driven out at other times.

Bright and large, very beautiful, whole leaves of Caladium are irresistible. Heart-shaped, with a very pointed tip and a very beautiful base, the leaves of the caladium appear translucent and very light. They are not as dense as your favorite large-leaved indoor competitors. Leaves grow on very long and fleshy petioles.

Leaf shapes can range from narrower and more elongated to more rounded, but the heart-shaped base of the leaves makes it easy to identify Caladium even from a distance. Leaf sizes range from 10 to 30 cm, while the width is almost always half the length.

Caladiums bloom, and quite effectively, but rarely indoors
Caladiums bloom, and quite effectively, but rarely indoors

Caladium colors and flowering

The luxurious, small, intricate patterns of caladiums are a trait without which this plant cannot be imagined. On, as a rule, a fairly light base color, contrasting veins appear - white, pink, red patterns. They resemble either marble or complex ornaments.

Caladiums have a limited range of colors, but no one would call it boring. It is believed that this plant has the most original and varied colors among all perennial decorative leafy stars. White-green or red-green combinations are embodied in different shades and unexpected contrasts. Bright scarlet, raspberry pink, creamy, creamy, silvery white combined with all shades of medium and dark green highlight caladiums against any background.

Despite the status of a purely ornamental leafy plant, caladiums bloom, and quite effectively, but rarely in indoor conditions. The peduncle of the plant begins to grow after the full disclosure of the fourth leaf. Caladiums produce ears of a light yellow tone surrounded by a white-light green blanket. The plant fades in a few days; when pollinated, spherical berries of the fruit quickly develop at the place of the ear.

Types of indoor caladiums

In room culture, caladiums are mainly represented by hybrid, varietal plants, in which even the original species are not always indicated. Most often on the shelves there are large-leaved, relentlessly releasing leaves almost all year round, famous for the marble contrasting patterns on the leaves, hybrid varieties of two-color caladium.

Caladium bicolor (Сaladium bicolor)
Caladium bicolor (Сaladium bicolor)

Caladium bicolor (Caladium bicolor) is a luxurious species with very large leaves, which the tuber releases tirelessly, without a long dormant period. Heart-shaped or arrow-shaped, large leaves up to 30 cm long sit on very long petioles and create surprisingly airy bushes that do not seem heavy even because of their leaf size.

All varieties of this caladium are characterized by a marble effect; contrasting dark patterns are found in modern varieties as often as regular white or red ones.

Will not leave indifferent fans Caladium and luxurious leaves Caladium Linden (Caladium lindenii) - like a luxury boom, perfectly symmetrical, they are rising on the long and thick stalks, conquering glowing white veins, put in unusual patterns.

CALADIUM Schomburg (Caladium schomburgkii) - plant with contrasting patterns between the veins and the heart-shaped elongated-shape leaf in diameter can grow up to 15 cm.

Humboldt's Caladium (Caladium humboldtii) - once one of the most popular caladiums. Famous for its smaller arrow-shaped leaves. With a length of only up to 10 cm, the leaves of varieties of this species always flaunt with a light or white spot in the center, blurring towards the edges, and lighter radially diverging veins.

Caladium lindenii
Caladium lindenii
Caladium schomburgkii
Caladium schomburgkii
Caladium Humboldtii
Caladium Humboldtii

Growing conditions for indoor caladiums

Caladiums are not accidentally known as real sissies. They are so demanding on temperatures during the period of active growth, so cold-fearing that it is not always easy to provide them with a comfortable environment, even by lovers of other tropical exotics.

Caladiums pay the price for their extremely stringent temperature requirements with their ability to adapt to milder lighting conditions. But here, too, their unpretentiousness is very relative.

Lighting and placement

Caladiums are considered plants that adapt well to the place inside the interior. But they cannot be called shade-tolerant, let alone shade-loving. They do not lose patterns on leaves and growth rates only in partial shade or in diffused bright light, and in the back of rooms they cannot develop normally.

Of course, it is not necessary to display them on the windowsills, but the lighting should still remain bright enough. When choosing lighting for Caladium, it is worth remembering that the more contrasting patterns and the more flowers appear on the leaves, the more light-loving the plant is.

The delicate, slender leaves of Caladiums are hypersensitive to direct sunlight. They are instantly covered with burns and do not even tolerate midday rays. Lighting for caladiums should be diffused, and special attention should be paid to protection from direct sunlight on hot days. They are comfortable on the western and eastern windowsills, but not on the southern ones.

For caladiums that have entered the dormant stage and are outside or in the soil in a completely dry and warm state of wintering, lighting does not matter. Tuber pots can be placed even in a dark room. If the tubers are removed from the soil for a dormant period, they must be protected from light and kept in slightly damp sawdust or peat, paper bags, preventing the tissues from drying out.

Caladiums are ideal candidates for landscaping those areas where the natural environment is warm and high humidity. Bathroom and kitchen are great options for this culture. But only if protected from temperature surges.

It is better to place caladiums separately in living rooms: their leaves are much inferior in density to the chosen favorites, and against the background of other decorative deciduous plants, caladiums may look slightly nondescript.

Caladiums work best with plants with very small leaves and beautiful flowering, crops that tend to look sloppy and sprawling.

Temperature regime and ventilation

Caladiums are one of the most thermophilic plants. Only temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius are considered normal for this culture. Even when dropping leaves and hibernating outside the soil, tubers should not be kept cool; the permissible minimum air temperature for wintering remains 18-20 degrees. At extremely high temperatures, tubers dry out quickly and it is difficult for them to find the right storage conditions.

During the period of active growth, it is better to keep caladiums in a stable heat, but without heat. The ideal range for plants to fully reveal their decorative effect is 22-25 degrees Celsius.

Caladiums love stability. They are extremely sensitive not only to temperature extremes, but also to any drafts. The plant should be placed in a secluded, cozy place with an almost unchanging atmosphere.

Caladiums are extremely sensitive not only to temperature extremes, but also to any drafts
Caladiums are extremely sensitive not only to temperature extremes, but also to any drafts

Caring for Caladium at Home

Many gardeners find Caladiums whimsical, capricious, and very difficult to grow. The thing is that they are extremely dependent on the indicators of air humidity and cannot develop normally in the dry air of living rooms. High humidity for them is mandatory and vital, while watering the plant, and feeding it too, must be very careful.

Watering and air humidity

Caladiums don't like dampness. They are moisture-loving only in relation to air humidity. Overflows, wetting tubers for caladium are very dangerous. The uniform moisture content of the caladium substrate is maintained by frequent, but not abundant watering. The potted soil should dry out partially in the upper half, remaining slightly damp at all times. Drought, complete drying of the substrate stops the growth of caladium, so skipping water procedures for this capricious plant is undesirable.

After the leaves fall off the caladiums, watering is completely stopped. But it is better to cut them from the moment when the caladium stops growing and without waiting for all the leaves to drop. Watering is reduced gradually, making it increasingly rare. The resumption of watering is carried out immediately after transplantation.

Caladiums are lovers of high air humidity. The more stable these indicators, the better the plant develops and the more beautiful the leaves. Plants love spraying (subject to fine dispersion of droplets). They grow well when installing pallets with water, moss or expanded clay. Providing at least average humidity values, you can achieve much greater decorativeness from the plant.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

For caladiums, fertilizers can only be applied during the period of active growth. It is very easy to select the frequency and period of feeding for this plant: as soon as the growth of shoots resumes, standard feeding is included in the care program (2 times a month). But the amount of fertilizers is reduced in comparison with those recommended for the first 4-5 procedures.

Caladium starts feeding not when the first sprout appears, but after the first leaf has unfolded. In the first few weeks, the plant is quite content with the reserves of nutrients in the soil.

For caladium, you can use two types of fertilizers - special for Aroid or tuberous and bulbous, in extreme cases - fertilizers for decorative deciduous crops. If possible, it is better to choose complex, mineral-organic preparations or alternate fertilizing with mineral and organic fertilizers.

Caladiums love foliar feeding. After deploying more than 5 leaves, part of the dressings can be replaced with foliar procedures. The temperature and quality of water for foliar feeding should be carefully monitored: soft, warm water and a standard dose of fertilizers according to the manufacturer's instructions will help to avoid mistakes and the appearance of spots on the leaves. For caladiums, solutions are sprayed from a long distance, preventing large drops of water from accumulating on the leaves.

Pruning and shaping caladium

The main mistake in growing caladiums is cutting off dying leaves. Like bulbs, in caladiums, the tuber absorbs nutrients from the leaves. And when they wither before the dormant period, it is worth waiting for them to dry out.

The main mistake in growing caladiums is cutting off dying leaves
The main mistake in growing caladiums is cutting off dying leaves

Containers and substrate

The substrate for caladiums is selected from among very light, permeable earth mixtures. For this plant, it is better to choose special substrates for caladium or for Aroids, in extreme cases - for bulbous and tuberous crops, be sure to add sphagnum to improve the structure.

If the soil is compiled independently, it is advisable to use a mixture of peat and leafy earth with quartz or coarse sand and additives of ash and moss. Non-potable soil mixtures are best sterilized. Soil pH values ​​should remain within neutral values.

Caladiums prefer medium-sized, but deep enough containers. Their size is selected according to the size of the tuber, adding no more than 4 cm in diameter. Caladiums are traditionally planted one plant at a time, only small tubers are grouped during growing, leaving 2-3 cm between them for growth and development.

A high drainage layer is laid on the bottom - at least a third of the height of the container itself. It is better to add charcoal to any material, but caladiums develop best when using expanded clay as a drainage layer.

Caladium transplant

Caladiums are transplanted annually. Regardless of whether the tubers were taken out of the soil and kept dry outside the substrate, or the tubers were left in pots, transplanting in early spring - in March or late February - “starts” a new stage of development. If tubers are bought, they are first germinated, allowing the buds to "hatch", and then planted. When digging up tubers, you should immediately separate the daughter plants.

A high drainage layer is laid at the bottom of the containers. Tubers that have been preserved outside the soil are carefully examined, removing dry roots and damaged tissues, treating wounds, soaking in a solution of fungicides of low concentration and first germinating in sand or perlite, in bright light and in warmth. And only then they are planted in the main container (in caladiums it is not always possible to determine the top and bottom of the tuber, and usually the buds are pecked before planting).

When transplanting caladiums overwintering in the soil, the tubers are completely freed from the soil, cleaned and planted in light soil, trying to maintain the same level of deepening. Deep planting is contraindicated for caladiums: it is advisable to set the tubers strictly horizontally, buds up, leaving about 1 cm to the surface if you want to get smaller and thicker leaves, up to a third of the tuber height - for larger and fewer leaves. The standard planting depth is 5 to 10 cm.

Watering after planting is best replaced with gentle spraying of the soil for very light moisture. Since they wake up, the plants start growing just after transplanting, the pots with caladiums should be immediately exposed to a sunny place and warm.

Removing the upper kidney can stimulate more even development. But under good conditions and without this procedure, caladiums grow lush leaves. Normal watering is resumed only after the first leaf begins to grow. Top dressing is introduced into the care program only after the first leaf has fully developed and the plant begins to actively grow.

Caladiums are considered hardy plants
Caladiums are considered hardy plants

Diseases, pests and problems in growing caladium

Caladiums are considered pest-resistant plants. The only pest that threatens them in indoor conditions is aphid, which simply adores the colored leaves of caladium. Of course, with constant dampness of the soil, caladiums suffer from rot, which can only be fought with an emergency transplant with the removal of damaged parts and treatment with fungicides.

Reproduction of caladiums

This tuberous plant is easy to propagate vegetatively - by separating daughter tubers as independent plants. The separation is carried out when the tuber is excavated from the soil before a dormant period or transplant. It is advisable to plant each plant in a separate container; in the first days the conditions should be mild and optimal for fast and high-quality rooting.

If the tubers develop poorly, are very large, the number of babies is unsatisfactory or they are not formed at all, you can also divide the large caladium tuber by cutting it into pieces with 2 or 3 buds in each. Charcoal cutting and drying require accuracy and impeccable cleanliness. The plots are planted in light soil and rooted with very light substrate moisture.

Very rarely, but caladiums are propagated by leaf cuttings. Cutting is carried out at the very base of the cutting. Rooting is best done in water, keeping the temperature slightly warm. Cuttings can only be planted in the ground after the formation of tiny nodules. For the first period of dormancy, caladiums obtained by cuttings are sent only after the tubers grow to 5-6 mm in diameter.

The seeds of the plant very quickly lose their germination, when buying you need to be careful and follow the dates indicated on the packages. Sowing is carried out in a standard substrate, under a hood or film. Caladium seeds can sprout only at temperatures from 25 to 30 degrees.

Despite the fact that caladiums sprout quickly, growing plants is not easy. Very high air humidity in combination with light soil moisture, the requirement to irrigate with warm and purified, soft water and extreme sensitivity to falling temperatures make you tirelessly care for young plants. Seedlings are planted after the formation of small, but full-fledged nodules.

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