Planting, storing and growing instructions for caladium bulbs and elephant ear bulbs

Caladiums have proven to be excellent bedding plants for full shade to full sun. (For full sun tolerant varieties see individual variety pictures). Caladiums will perform well in most any soil. Please check planting zone chart for ideal planting times. Caladiums are tropical bulbs. Therefore it is very important to keep them warm. When your bulbs arrive it is important that you unpack them immediately. They need to be in a well-ventilated area. Do not store in the shipping carton that they arrived in! They must be stored in a warm area with good air circulation until ready to plant. (70-80 degrees) Caladiums have a natural dormant period beginning sometime in autumn. The leaves will begin to die back, and this is the time to dig them if you want to store them. For long-term storing we suggest digging them before the first frost. Dry the bulbs in the sun with plenty of air circulation and store them in a mesh bag or in peat moss and keep them warm. For long-term storage 70 degrees is optimal.

Growing information

Many people think the larger the tuber the larger and better the plant will be. In general, a larger bulb will produce more and larger leaves quicker than a smaller bulb. But over the season the smaller bulbs, with proper care, will produce the same desired effect. They should be planted so that about an inch and a half of soil covers the tuber. The spacing of the tubers depends upon the size of the tuber planted and how full you want the effect to be. Generally speaking, for a full appearance, plant two #1 bulbs 2 to 4 inches apart, then space these plantings 12 to 18 inches apart-- plant jumbos 12 to 18 inches apart.

Again, it is very important not to plant the bulbs too early. Later is better than too early. Wait until all chance of frost is past. Caladiums may also be grown in pots, indoors or outside. They could be started earlier in pots in a warm part of your home and then moved outside when you desire. Also, the leaves are beautiful and very long-lasting in floral arrangements!

For a bushier potted plant (shorter and with more leaves) remove the terminal, or main, bud. This is called de-eyeing, and is common in commercial Caladium pot production. Moisten the soil well when planting tubers. Soil should be kept slightly moist until sprouting occurs. Usually the initial watering at planting time is enough until first sprouts appear. After sprouting, water often and well. When planting, mix in some ordinary garden fertilizer, such as 6-6-6 or 8-8-8, according to package directions. Any house plant fertilizers will work.