Caladiums are tender perennials originating from Brazil and are grown for their colourful foliage. The plants are commonly known as Angel Wings or Elephant Ears.
Plant the Caladium tubers 5-7.5cm (2-3") deep in pots at a temperature of 21°C (70°F) which should be maintained until the plant has plenty of leaves and the roots have filled the pots. You will need a pot at least 15cm deep and large enough for the tuber itself and to allow space for the roots to develop. A well-drained multipurpose compost with added vermiculite or perlite for improved drainage would be suitable. Plant the nose of the tuber upwards but if this not clearly visible lay the tuber on its side. The compost should be kept moist but avoid over watering as the tubers will rot. Place the pot in an area that will get good light but not direct sunlight.
Once the danger of frost has passed and outdoor temperatures are warm the grown on tubers can be planted into the soil or patio containers. For better results mix a rich compost with the soil. Choose a well-drained, sheltered position in partial shade. The soil should be kept moist and not allowed to dry out. Any flowers that develop should be removed.
Caladiums can also be grown in pots using a multipurpose compost, in a greenhouse, conservatory or as houseplants. Once in growth the temperature can be reduced to 18°C (65°F). Grow the plants in bright light avoiding direct sun. Mist the plants two or three times a day to maintain a humid atmosphere. Feed container grown plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer at monthly intervals.
The plants are not hardy and should be lifted in the autumn when leaves start to fade and before the soil temperatures start to drop. Gradually reduce watering and store the dormant tubers at a temperature 13-16°C (55-65°F). During the dormant period keep the tubers almost dry and check regularly for any signs of rot.