Caladiums: The complete guide to caring for the Heart Of Jesus houseplant

The Caladium plant which is also known as the Heart of Jesus or angel wings houseplant is an ornamental tropical plant that is native to tropical regions of South and Central America. 

Caladium

It features beautiful arrow or heart-shaped leaves that are riddled with displays of bright colored variegations ranging from white to red to pink and are each spread across in different patterns.

They are herbaceous tuberous plants in nature but can be toxic when eaten so keep them away from the reach of kids and pets.  

Botanical Name Caladium
Common Names Heart of Jesus, Angel  Wings
Origin Central, and South America
Family Araceae
Plant Type Tropical, Tuberous, Herbaceous plant 
Full Size From 12 inches to 30 inches tall, from 12 inches to 24 inches wide
Sun Exposure Indirect or shaded sunlight, can survive little direct sunlight 
Soil Type Well-draining, rich soil
Toxicity Toxic to both pets and people when eaten. 

Caladium Varieties

There are over 1000 caladium varieties and cultivars in existence, however here are a few popular examples;

  • Caladium White Christmas
  • Caladium Creamsicle
  • Caladium Puppy love
  • Caladium Miss Muffet 

Care For Caladiums

Care For Caladiums
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Caladiums are a little difficult to care for. To ensure their proper growth, meeting the various light, water, soil, and temperature or humidity requirements is key. 

Caladiums Light Requirement

Caladiums are shade plants that do well when grown under full shade or bright indirect sunlight. Newer varieties or cultivars can grow under full direct sunlight, but prolonged exposure can be bad for the potted plant as it can leave its foliage scorched. 

When grown outdoors, you would want to pick a shaded area, over time, as the plant matures, it should be able to withstand some high degree of sunlight. 

For Caladium indoor plants, you would want to place them in a room with adequate protection from the harsh rays of the sun. If you can’t regulate the intensity of sunlight the plant gets, you can make use of a light curtain to shield the plant. 

Caladium Water Requirement

The watering done on caladium plants should be done according to their growth stage. When it first develops leaves(which is in the summer ), ensure you water the plant once a week. Keep the soil moist not soggy and never let it dry out,

During the winter season, the plant falls into dormancy so stop watering at this point and resume during the springtime when the plant should be active again. 

Avoid using cold water when watering the exotic plant and ensure that only dechlorinated water is used. 

Caladium Soil Requirement

Caladium Soil Requirement

When planting caladiums, you should ensure that whatever soil type is being used is both well-draining and rich. 

To achieve this, mix one part potting soil, one part peat, and a little organic compost. Test the soil draining ability by pouring a little water into the mix, if it ends up muddy then more peat would be required. 

Keep the pH level of the soil between a little acidic and neutral and the pH value should be between 5.5 and 6. 1 

Caladium Humidity and Temperature Requirement

Humidity is an important aspect of Caladium plant care. The Caladium loves proper exposure to high humidity levels, so do ensure you meet such requirements indoors. 

Make use of a humidifier when growing the Caladium plant indoors, keep the level higher than 40%.

Temperature should range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect the plant from frost as exposure to excess cold could harm the potted plant. 

Fertilizer Requirement for The Caladium Plant 

Fertilizer should be used while the Caladium is in its growing season(summer and spring season).  

The best fertilizer to be used is a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer. If you do use a liquid fertilizer, ensure that it is diluted to about half of its initial strength and avoid spraying the fertilizer on the leaves, aim for the soil. 

Caladium Propagation Requirement 

Caladium propagation
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Caladiums are a tuberous plant, so they can be propagated by;

  • Tuber planting 
  • Tuber Division

Ensure you wear protective gloves when propagating Caladiums. 

Toxicity  

The Caladium plant is toxic when eaten, so it is recommended that you keep them away from the reach of children and pets. 

If you do suspect that a child or pet has eaten from the potted plant, do ensure you call a licensed professional and keep watch for any signs or symptoms that might develop. 

Common Health Problems of The Caladium

  • Thrips 
  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Yellow Leaves
  • Brown Leaves
  • Mites

Frequently Asked Questions

How much water does caladium need?

Caladiums require moist soil so it is recommended you water the plant once a week

What is the best time to plant caladium bulbs?

Caladium bulbs should be planted during the spring period.

Are Caladiums easy to care for?

Caladiums can be a little difficult to care for due to their high sun and temperature requirements.

Do caladiums do well in pots?

Yes, potting caladiums is an ideal way to ensure a proper stunning growth indoors.

Do caladiums multiply?

Caladiums can multiply when propagated by tuber division

Marijke Puts
About Marijke Puts
Marijke Puts has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science and is from The Netherlands. She has a certified master gardener and loves everything about houseplants and gardening.

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