The plant genus (caladium) is not short of varieties, which consists of over 1000. Most are hybrids from the C. bicolor and sold with by the name of C. x hortulanum (hybrids). Many other common names are used for these hybrids including the rosebud, frieda hemple, lord derby and a fair few others.
These are low growing foliage plants that only grow up to 25in (60cm) tall, with large leaves growing up to 18 inches (45 cm) long.
How it looks: The arrow or heart shaped decorative leaves are very thin and have a papery texture. These leaves grow up from the tuber buried in the soil on quite thin stems. Some of the eye catching color mixtures are impressive, such as the lord derby that displays green and pink leaves with green veins and the candidum with white leaves displaying prominent green veins.
Growing caladium indoors: The caladium is a tuber plant so the foliage only lasts from late spring until the beginning of fall, but they are well worth having around for the summer displaying their attractive colors.
Tubers can be placed in moist potting soil (about 2 -3 inches deep) at the beginning of spring with temperatures of no lower than 75ºF (23ºC). Once shoots appear begin taking care of the plant as advised below.
Growing Tip! If you would like to encourage tubers to begin growing quicker then place the pots on a heating mat.
After the growing period: After the yellowing leaves have started to wilt; remove the tubers from the pots and allow the tuber to dry out "anywhere in the house that's warm enough". Remove any excess stem; they're now ready for planting in potting soil and stored away until next spring returns.
Displaying: The heart of Jesus plant is best placed in a window box or container and they make a great plant for growing around garden borders. They look much better in a row than one single plant, although it's up to what the individual grower prefers and wants to do. These also make great balcony and patio plants, if the temperature is warm enough.
|Names:||Heart of Jesus, angel wings, elephant ear, fancy leafed caladium (common). Caladium bicolor or Caladium hortulanum and others. (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 25in (60cm).|
|Poisonous for pets:||Toxic to cats and dogs.|
|Temperature:||Above 70ºF (21ºC) is the best temperature to provide, and no lower than 60ºF (15ºC).|
|Light:||In their natural habitat the heart of Jesus plant grows in shaded areas. Indoors that can be artificially provided with a fairly bright room, without direct sun light. Direct sun will scorch and damage the leaves.|
|Watering:||After the tubers show signs of growth (small shoots) water frequently - and keep the soil moist.|
|Soil:||A nutrient rich and well draining potting soil is required.|
|Fertilizer:||I would feed every week with a diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing season.|
|Re-Potting:||These are taken out of the pot when the foliage dies down during fall and then re-potted (as mentioned above).|
|Humidity:||In it's natural habitat this plant is likely to grow with higher humidity levels than we have in our homes, but the average levels within a home should be fine.|
|Propagation:||Tubers can be divided before planting in spring. When dividing a tuber make sure at least one growing eye is available, so a stem can begin to grow.|