Caladium flower: growing and caring at home
Caladium is a herbaceous plant in the Aroid family. It is a large species group, including more than 15, 000 species, is widespread in Brazil near the banks of the Amazon River.
Botanical description of the plant
Caladium is a decorative foliage plant that migrated to us from the tropical forests of Brazil. The main tuber in diameter reaches 7–10 cm. Upon closer examination, several leaf growth points are seen in its upper part. The lower part of the bulb forms an additional fibrous root system. The plant cycle is divided into periods of active vegetation and dormancy.
From the beginning of spring, plants throw out several tall petioles, the ends of which are decorated with large, leathery, heart-shaped leaves. Petioles play the role of the main stem. Growing, foliage gathers in huge rosettes, reaching a diameter of 50–70 cm. The color of the leaves can be very diverse. In the color palette, shades of blue are never present.
Did you know? In areas of natural distribution, caladiums are used not only for decorative and aesthetic purposes, but also for the production of starch, which is rich in plant tubers.
Flowering begins in late spring or early summer. Inconspicuous, small flowers form on elongated ears, partially covered by a coverlet. Such a structure of inflorescences externally makes the flowering of caladium similar to the flowering of feces. The bedspread is usually painted in a color similar to foliage. The plant is self-pollinated. His ear consists of male flowers located in the upper part, and female flowers located in the lower part.
|Leaf color||Any shades except blue|
|Flower color||Similar to leaf color|
|Fruit color||Red orange|
|The number of seeds in the fruit||2|
The main types
Consider the most popular varieties cultivated at home:
- Caladium is two-tone - found in the wild on the Antilles. Arrow-shaped leaves reach 30 cm in length. In their color several shades of red and green are harmoniously connected. This variety begins to form a flower stalk in late February.
- Schomburg Caladium - distributed in moist Brazilian forests. Oblong leaves reach 15 cm in length and 12 cm in width. The surface of the foliage is painted silver-red with green streaks.
- Caladium Esculentum - differs from other varieties in large dimensions. Petioles of leaves reach a height of 100-150 cm even when grown at home. The diameter of one leaf is 80 cm. The central part of the leaf is painted cream-white, the edges are saturated green.
- Caladium Humboldt is the most common decorative representative. On small petioles small leaves are located, only 10 cm long. The central part of the dark green leaf plate is covered with silver-white stains. Flowering begins in April.
Conditions for successful growing at home
Having decided to breed caladium at home, plant growers should be prepared for difficulties. Plants are very demanding in care. In the absence of optimal microclimatic conditions, the caladium may not leave the dormant state for a very long time.
Important! Humidity can be maintained by installing pots with pallets in containers filled with wet gravel. Spraying is strictly contraindicated, otherwise the leaves will lose their attractiveness and may get sunburn.
Plants tolerate shade well, but in such cases their foliage becomes less bright. The ideal place for caladium is the northeast and northwest window. Here the plants will receive a sufficient amount of diffused sunlight. During the dormant period, plants do not need lighting at all, so they are transferred to a dark room in which optimal temperature and humidity are maintained.
The receipt of a sufficient amount of fresh air into the room at the stage of active development is the key to the successful cultivation of caladium. The main thing is to avoid drafts. You can increase the immunity of plants by exposing them all summer on the balcony or planting them in the garden with pots.
For the period of active vegetation, plants should provide a temperature regime within +20 ... + 25 ° C. During dormancy, plants are less demanding on temperature and feel good at +16 ° C.
Tropical plants demanding moisture. Humidity should be maintained between 70–80%.
Despite the fact that Kaladiums differ in a short growing season, caring for them requires year-round. Neglect of the rules of cultivation leads to growth retardation and the development of fungal diseases.
Did you know? Esoteric calls the plants related to palm trees and ampelous, "husbands." It is believed that they drive men out of the house. Especially dangerous in this regard are ivy, scindapsus, zebrin. But aroid ones can neutralize the negative energy effects of ampelous and palm trees.
Watering plants begin in the spring, when the first sprouts appear. When the caladium is at rest, it is necessary to ensure that the earthen lump does not dry out completely. To do this, you can install an air humidifier near the pot and maintain humidity in the range of 60–70%. Moisture released into the air will be enough to completely abandon watering for the winter period. Watering is carried out under the root, only after the topsoil has dried. Water temperature for irrigation should be at least +20 ° C.
Caladium needs vitamins and minerals to fully develop. It is better to choose a specialized universal fertilizer. When choosing it, pay attention to the mineral composition.
In fertilizer, half of the total composition should be occupied by nitrogen, the remaining 50% should be accounted for:
Top dressing is applied every 2 weeks instead of watering under the root, starting from February-March, depending on the speed of plant awakening. With the appearance of the first 2 sprouts of at least 5 cm, you can begin to feed them.
Find out how and how to feed indoor plants at home.
During the growing season, pruning is not carried out. Permissible removal of fruit ovaries. When the leaves reach their maximum size and stop growing, they gradually reduce the intensity of watering and begin to prepare the plants for hibernation. As soon as the foliage begins to fade and turn yellow, they begin to remove it.
After removing all the foliage, the tubers are removed from the soil. They need to be carefully examined for mechanical damage, rot or pests. All damaged tissue and dead secondary roots must be removed. Sections are treated with activated carbon. Then the dry tubers are placed in dry moss or vermiculite and kept at room temperature in a dark place protected from drafts until a distinct bud is visible on top.
Important! When planting, make sure that the pink point of the sprout on the tuber is located on top, otherwise you will not wait for seedlings. Do not push the tuber strongly into the soil. This will negatively affect the ability of the plant to form a secondary root system.
Transplantation is carried out for all plants annually. In fact, this process is the germination of tubers. So that the roots sprout faster, with the onset of a thaw in February or March, the containers are rearranged in a well-lit place and moisturized. With the advent of a well-distinguishable sprout, a pot corresponding to the size of the tuber is selected and a transplant is carried out. Small-sized tubers are placed in one pot, leaving a distance of 5-7 cm between them, so that there is enough space for the formation of a secondary root.
Before planting, the containers must be treated with a solution of copper sulfate and dried. Then fill the bottom with drainage and lay the soil. A 5–10 cm deep hole is formed in the center, into which a tuber is placed. From above it is covered with soil and moistened with a spray gun. Then all containers are set in a constant place and regularly moisten the soil abundantly.
Video: Caladium transplant
There are 2 ways to propagate caladium at home:
- subsidiary tubers;
Important! The higher the air temperature, the faster the seeds will sprout, so they are best sown in the hottest summer months. The optimum temperature for germination is +25 ... + 30 ° C.
Separation of daughter tubers is carried out in the spring during transplantation of mother tubers. On tubers of 2-3 years of age, small children are formed that are able to produce their own sprouts. They are separated with a sharp knife. Slices on the mother tuber and the baby are dusted with wood ash and planted in different containers.
Caladium is a self-pollinated plant, so getting seeds at home is not difficult. During the flowering period, transfer pollen from the upper flowers to the lower ones with a cotton bud. After a month, the plants will form fruits. Seeds can be harvested when the berries are soft.
Sowing seeds is best immediately after harvest. Germination mixtures for germination are mixed in a ratio of 4: 1 from sod-leaf soil and sand. Seeds are buried in the soil by about 0.5-1 cm, and sprinkled with sand on top. A distance of 10 cm is left between the seeds. Glass is placed on top of the containers to create a greenhouse effect.
Important! When planting Caladium in the open ground in summer, pick up a place near a branchy tree. It will cover the plant from direct sunlight and protect it from the wind.
Possible growing difficulties
When cultivating caladium at home, plant growers may encounter the following diseases:
- Phytophthora is a fungal disease that begins to progress in a warm, humid environment. The fungal spores that cause the disease quickly spread to neighboring plants. When the first symptoms appear, you need to remove the damaged leaves, make an emergency transplant, completely replacing the earthen lump. Perform triple treatment with copper sulfate with an interval of 10-14 days.
- Bacterial rot - causes increased soil moisture. Plants undergo an emergency transplant, rotted roots are removed, and the “Fundazol” dry insecticide is treated. Then transplanted, digging bulbs into the soil no more than 3-6 cm.
Among the pests are the most dangerous for caladium:
- spider mite.