Caladium Plants: Leaves, Flowers, Types and Care (With Pictures)

Caladium plants are stunning tropical perennials with beautiful heart-shaped colorful leaves. Varieties of caladiums have spectacular leaves in colors such as pink, white, green, and red. Many multicolored caladium plants have vibrantly colored veining on the leaves and contrasting margins. Other caladium cultivars have splashes or speckles of contrasting color combinations.

The two types of caladiums—fancy leaf and strap leaf—are usually cultivars of the species Caladium bicolor. Both types of these ornamental tropical plants have leaves in the shape of a heart or arrowhead. The leaves grow on the end of long stems that grow directly from caladium bulbs or corms.

This article is a complete guide to some of the most impressive caladium plants. Descriptions of the fancy leaves and pictures will help you decide on the best caladium to brighten up your home décor.

Caladium Plant Care

To care for caladiums, grow the tropical leafy plants in the shade. Caladium plants grow best in rich, porous soil that retains moisture but has excellent drainage. Water the plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. To encourage healthy, lush foliage fertilize every two weeks during spring and summer.

Caladium Plant Facts

Caladium is a genus of tropical foliage plants in the family Araceae. In their native habitat, caladiums thrive on the shaded floor of tropical rainforests. Although famous for their colorful foliage, caladiums also produce spathe-like flowers, like most types of aroids.

Most cultivars with colorful heart-shaped leaves are from the species Caladium bicolor (also called Caladium x hortulanum). There are over 1,000 caladium hybrids and cultivars.

Caladiums plants grow outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12. The minimum temperature for growth is 65°F (18°C). So, you can grow caladiums as annuals or tender perennials in pots outside during warm summers. Or you can grow caladiums as perennial houseplants for shaded, humid rooms.

A feature of all caladium plant growth is the fact that they die back in the fall. If you live in tropical regions, you can leave caladium bulbs in the ground. In temperate climates, you must dig the bulbs up to overwinter then in a dark, cool room indoors. For caladium bulbs to survive the winter, don’t allow temperatures to drop below 55°F (13°C).

Caladium cultivars grow around 2 ft. (0.6 m) tall and 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide. However, caladium size depends on the specific cultivar. Many types of caladiums grow as dwarf, compact houseplants, and thrive in most indoor environments, apart from direct sunlight.

Caladiums have common names such as ‘Heart of Jesus,’ ‘angel’s wings,’ and ‘elephant ears.’ These colorful foliage plants are related to other elephant ear plants such as Alocasia, Xanthosoma, and Colocasia.

Related reading: How to care for Alocasia plants.

Types of Caladium

The two main types of caladium are the fancy-leaved types and the strap-leaved types. Types of fancy leaf caladiums are identified by broad, heart-shaped leaves on long petioles that attach close to the leaf’s center. Types of strap leaf caladiums are characterized by narrower lance-shaped leaves with short petioles that attach to the leaf base.

Caladium Leaves

caladium leaves

Caladium leaves come in a wide array of beautiful color combinations

Caladium leaves create some of the most striking foliage from any tropical houseplant. Both types of caladiums—fancy-leaved and strap-leaved—typically have pronounced, vibrant, contrasting veins, colorful pink, red, or white midriffs, and green margins.

The leaves on fancy-leaved caladiums grow up to 6” (15 cm) long and 3” – 6” (7.5 – 15 cm) wide. The rounded heart leaves grow on the end of long petioles (stems) that are between 12” and 30” (30 – 76 cm) tall.

Strap-leaved caladiums have pointed, arrowhead leaves that are slenderer than the fancy leaf varieties. The colorful, showy leaves often have ruffled margins. Compared to the fancy leaves, strap-leaved caladiums have more compact foliage with narrower lanceolate leaves growing on the end of 12″ (30 cm) petioles.

Caladium Flowers 

caladium flowers

Close up pictures of caladium flowers

Caladium is a flower tropical plant species that produces a single flower that looks like a calla lily. Caladium flowers consist of a small white spike (called a spadix) surrounded by a pink or white spathe. Compared to the foliage, caladium flowers are insignificant. In any case, it’s rare for caladiums to bloom indoors.

Caladium Bulbs

Caladium plants grow from tuberous corms or bulbs. Caladium bulbs are not tolerant of cold weather and its vital to winterize them indoors during cold winters. The small caladium bulb has a bumpy, knobby end which is the top. When planting caladium bulbs, the bumpy end should be facing up.

Types of Caladium Plants (With Pictures)

Let’s look in more details at breathtaking examples of multicolored caladium plants.

Heart of Jesus Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

Heart of Jesus Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

The ‘Heart of Jesus’ (Caladium bicolor or Caladium x hortulanum) is the main species of the colorful tropical plants. ‘Heart of Jesus’ plants have thin, papery, bi-colored leaves. The pointed, heart-shaped fancy leaves of the various cultivars typically have stunning leaves in multiple color and pattern combinations.

Caladium bicolor plants grow best in porous potting soil that drains easily. Put the caladium pot in full to partial shade and water regularly during summer to keep the soil evenly moist. However, avoid overwatering the ‘Heart of Jesus’ plant as the caladium bulb starts to rot in waterlogged soil.

Like all types of caladium plants, the ‘Heart of Jesus’ dies back to the ground in winter. If growing the caladium indoors, you can remove the foliage. Keep the bulbs in dry soil over winter ready for replanting the following spring.

Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’ (Caladium bicolor ‘Florida Sweetheart’)

Florida Sweetheart Caladium (Caladium bicolor ‘Florida Sweetheart’)

The ‘Florida Sweetheart’ caladium is a strap-leaved caladium with rosy red heart leaves, green margins, and dark pink veins. The slender, lance-shaped leaves have wavy, ruffled margins that add to the plant’s ornamental value.

This small compact caladium grows between 6” and 12” (15 – 30 cm) tall. The green and pink arrow leaves will brighten up any shaded room or corner of your yard. This species also tolerates some sun without losing the pinkish-red vibrant colors.

Caladium ‘Red Flash’

Caladium bicolor red flash

The Caladium ‘Red Flash’ has huge, heart-shaped leaves that are green, pink and red. The rounded olive-green leaves have vibrant red veins that seem to bleed into the green leaves. The beautiful caladium leaves are adorned with pink speckling to add to the fascinating foliage patterns. A spathe flower sometimes appears; however, it’s usually hidden by the broad leaves.

The fancy-leaved ‘Red Flash’ caladium is a tall tender perennial that grows between 18” and 30” (45 – 76 cm) tall. Although it grows best in partial shade, the stunning container plant’s foliage holds its eye-catching colors in bright, indirect sunlight.

Outdoors, the Caladium ‘Red Flash’ grows best in colorful borders or containers.

Caladium ‘Florida Red Ruffles’

Caladium ‘Florida Red Ruffles’

Also called Angel Wings ‘Florida Red Ruffles,’ this caladium type has dusty pink-reddish and lance-shaped leaves with wavy green margins that look almost lobed. The large, pointed shiny leaves are mostly pinkish-red with thin green margins. The tropical foliage colors don’t fade even when growing in bright sunlight.

You can grow ‘Florida Red Ruffles’ elephant ear plants as annuals in sunny summer gardens. The stunning red and green container plant is also ideal as a tropical houseplant for the shade as it doesn’t grow taller than 12” (30 cm) tall.

‘Moonlight’ Caladium (Caladium bicolor ‘Moonlight’)

caladium moonlight

The Caladium bicolor ‘Moonlight’ is a fancy-leaf caladium with white, luminescent large leaves, with green margins and veins. ‘Moonlight’ caladium leaves can grow up to 6” (15 cm) long.  The frilly margins of these white and green leaves only add to the plant’s attractiveness.

‘Moonlight’ caladium grows best in morning sun or full shade. Direct sunlight can burn the delicate white translucent leaves. To care for this caladium, water it often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.

Caladium ‘Candyland’ (Caladium bicolor ‘Candyland’)

Caladium ‘Candyland’ (Caladium bicolor ‘Candyland’)

The Caladium ‘Candyland’ is a strap-leaved caladium with leaves that are green and white with a hint of red and pink flecks or spots. Depending on the plant’s age, the pointed arrowhead leaves can have a lot of red colors, making the leaves look red, white, and green. Another feature of ‘Candyland’ caladium leaves are its rippled green margins.

The bushy foliage and large colorful caladium leaves grow up to 18” (54 cm) tall. To prevent the longs stems from wilting, it’s crucial to water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Research found that caladiums will droop after four days without any water.

Fancy-Leaved Caladium ‘Aaron’

Caladium ‘Aaron

The Caladium ‘Aaron’ has elongated triangular green and white leaves. The pointed leaves are dark to medium-green with creamy white veining running through the leaves. On some Caladium ‘Aaron’ cultivars, the white veins merge, giving the heart leaves a white and green appearance.

The Caladium ‘Aaron’ is a shade-loving plant that thrives in warm soil. Although this caladium can withstand some sunshine, too much will scorch the delicate triangular leaves. As a tall, bushy caladium, the ‘Aaron’ cultivar grows well in containers, along shaded borders, or as a tall tropical houseplant.

Caladium Lindenii

Caladium Lindenii

The Caladium lindenii has breathtaking dark-green with contrasting silvery-white or creamy veins running vertically and horizontally. The creamy white veins give the plant’s leaves a striped appearance like the African mask plant. This large houseplant has long petioles and grows between 2 and 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m) tall.

To grow a potted Caladium lindenii indoors, keep the room temperature an even 70°F (21°C) and high humidity. The Caladium lindenii species prefers bright, indirect sunlight and is easy to grow as a houseplant.

Caladium ‘Strawberry Star’ (Caladium bicolor ‘Strawberry Star’)

Caladium ‘Strawberry Star’

The Caladium bicolor ‘Strawberry Star’ is a beautiful ornamental plant with translucent creamy-white leaves, delicate dark spider veins and speckles of strawberry-red colors. This fancy-leaved caladium’s foliage is made from huge white and green heart-shaped angel wing leaves. The bright, attractive leaves brighten up any shaded corner of a room.

The Caladium ‘Strawberry Star’ grows about 18” (45 cm) tall. The fancy triangular white, green, and pink fancy leaves grow at the end of slender petioles. Grow this rare caladium in partial shade and water it frequently to keep the soil moist.

Caladium ‘Bombshell’

caladium bombshell

The fancy leaf Caladium ‘Bombshell’ has green and crimson red leaves. The angel wing leaves are characterized by bright red veins running down the center and to the margins. Reds and pinks seem to bleed from the veins, creating an intense red patch of color in the center surrounded by green margins.

The Caladium ‘Bombshell’ is a sun-tolerant caladium that grows just as well in the shade. You can grow the ‘Bombshell’ caladium in a sunny garden as a tender perennial or annual, depending on your growing zone. This red fancy-leaved caladium adds dramatic color to gardens or interiors.

Caladium ‘White Dynasty’ (Caladium bicolor ‘White Dynasty’)

White Dynasty Caladium (Caladium bicolor ‘White Dynasty’)

The Caladium ‘White Dynasty’ is a fancy-leaf caladium with variegated creamy white leaves and dark green margins. The wavy white and green leaves also feature some red veining and speckles, adding to this decorative plant’s aesthetic appeal. The heart-shaped leaves grow en masse, and their translucent white appearance brightens up shaded borders or rooms.

As a low-maintenance caladium, the ‘White Dynasty’ grows best in the shade and constantly moist soil. The recommended plantings for ‘White Dynasty’ caladiums are in outdoor containers, hanging baskets, or as an indoor houseplant in humid rooms.

Caladium ‘Carolyn Whorton’ (Caladium bicolor ‘Carolyn Whorton’)

Caladium ‘Carolyn Whorton’

The angel wings ‘Carolyn Whorton’ is a stunning foliage plant with sizeable heart-shaped green, red, and pink leaves. The bright pink leaves have dark green margins and intense pink or red veins. Small flowers like calla-lily flowers sometimes bloom, but only rarely indoors.

Like many pink and green caladiums, the ‘Carolyn Whorton’ tolerates the sun fairly well. Grow the ‘Carolyn Whorton’ caladium to brighten sunny borders or plant in containers to add color to patios, decks, or balconies. This caladium grows between 1 and 2 ft. (30 – 60 cm) tall and is also an ideal indoors tropical houseplant.

Caladium bicolor ‘Thai Beauty’

caladium Thai beauty

The Caladium bicolor ‘Thai Beauty’ is a strap-leaf caladium with breathtaking pink and green leaves featuring green or sometimes white veining. The unusual pointed pink leaves have intricate network patterns that appear hand-painted. The variegated triangular leaves are some of the most stunning among the Caladium bicolor species.

Grow ‘Thai Beauty’ as a perennial houseplant by planting it in a loose, porous soil mix. Water the potting mix regularly to keep it moist during the growing season. In winter, prune the caladium foliage to the ground and store in a cool, dry place that is 50°F to 55°F (10 – 12°C).

In early spring, replant the caladium bulbs in fresh potting soil to encourage the stunning tropical plant to regrow.

Angel Wings ‘White Queen’ (Caladium ‘White Queen’)

Caladium ‘White Queen’

The Caladium ‘White Queen’ has beautiful large white leaves with green margins and red veins. The ornamental foliage provides a stunning focal point to any tropical garden or indoors. This caladium can reach 18-24″ tall (45 – 60 cm) and is easy to grow.

‘White Queen’ Caladium can be planted in a shaded location, but can tolerate some indirect sun.

Angel Wings ‘Miss Muffet’ (Caladium ‘Miss Muffet’)

Angel Wings ‘Miss Muffet’ (Caladium ‘Miss Muffet’)

‘Miss Muffet’ caladium has heart shaped light green leaves with dark pink splashes. This cultivar is a smaller type of caladium that grows up to 12″ (30 cm) tall with smaller leaves and short stems.

This dwarf caladium grows in shaded or partly shaded locations and can tolerate some indirect sun. The stunning foliage of ‘Miss Muffet’ caladium adds decorative touch to garden beds, containers, along pathways, borders or as a houseplant.

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