Caladium are lovely plants, and pretty easy to grow compared to some others – but they are not cold hardy and will not like prolonged winter temperatures. So how to winter caladium plants? We’ve got all the solutions for you! Read on for our best tips.
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How To Winter Caladium Plants
These pretty little plants are not frost hardy, and they won’t thank you for leaving them outdoors during a long cold snap – or even a short one!
If you have planted your caladium outdoors, you will need to do some sort of damage control to prevent losing them over the winter:
- Cut back all the foliage as the weather starts to cool – the plants will start to die back around this time anyway, so you won’t be missing out.
- Lift the tubers gently, using a fork dug in well away from the bulbs to prevent damaging them.
- Shake off the loose soil to prevent any moisture from rotting the bulbs as they are stored for the next few months.
- Store the bulbs in trays of bone dry compost, or wrap them in a few layers of newspaper to keep them free from moisture.
- Keep them in a dark, dry place that is kept at a constant temperature in no danger of getting too cold or too hot.
Here is a good video explaining how to winter your caladium plants:
How Do You Prepare Caladium Bulbs For Winter?
Because these plants are not cold hardy, they will need some preparation to get them ready for the colder months.
They will not survive outside in the ground as the frosts and icy winds start to hit, so you will need to prepare them for the cold.
- Start by placing the whole plant in a cool, dark place for up to 3 weeks. This will mimic the winter conditions and allow the plant to start its dormancy.
- Cut the tops off the plant all the way down to the soil level. Brush away any loose soil, and lift out the bulbs.
- Now is a good time to check the health of the bulb – look them over and remove any areas that look discolored or rotten.
- Store the bulbs in a layer of sawdust or dry compost, in a place that is dark and cool (50 degrees F/10 degrees C is ideal).
- Keep the bulbs in this cool dark spot until the spring, when you can get them out for a good soaking before replanting.
Can You Keep Caladium Alive All Year?
Technically, even though your caladium will be in the form of apparently lifeless bulbs, they are still alive – so the answer is a resounding yes.
As long as you store your bulbs correctly, and replant them in their favorite conditions, these plants will reward you with strong, healthy growth.
If you live in warmer climates, you can actually keep your caladium alive out of doors – though you will need to mulch around the bulbs to prevent them from getting too cold.
If you need to store the bulbs because the weather is too cold, dig out the entire plant, and keep it in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks. Remove the foliage, then brush off the dirt and store the bulbs.
The bulbs will need to be kept in a dry situation, in a drawer filled with dry sawdust or compost, and kept cool and dark until the spring.
Alternatively, you can dig up the bulbs and place them into a pot still in their soil – avoid watering them, and they should pop back up in the spring.
Keeping them indoors can maximize their chance to make it through to the following spring!
Can Caladiums Grow Indoors In Winter?
These little plants like to be kept warm, and, although they have a dormant period as all plants do, you can keep them alive in the winter.
Keeping them indoors in the winter is the best way to keep these plants going throughout the year.
If you can monitor the temperature, and keep caladium at a steady level of warmth, you can help support this plant throughout the coldest parts of the year.
Don’t worry if they appear to “sleep” during the coldest months, however – this is a normal part of plant life and they will come back to life once the weather warms up again.
If you plant your caladium outside, you will need to protect the plant by digging up the bulbs, or risk them not coming back the following year.
How Long Will Caladiums Last?
As long as you love and care for your caladium in the way they like the best, there is no reason why they can’t go on and on.
These plants are perennials, meaning that they can go on from one season to another – with a break in the middle.
Their average growing time – that is, the time that you see the leaves growing – is about 6 months. After this time, the plant will enter a dormant phase.
Your caladium is still alive when it is dormant; the plant is just hibernating out the colder months and gathering its strength for spring.
If you live in a seriously cold area, you will need to dig up your caladium bulbs in order to keep the same plant going the following year.
For those in slightly warmer areas, you can leave the whole plant out for winter as long as you mulch to protect the roots and tubers.
As you can see, caladium won’t like the long, cold season – but there are ways that you can keep them going so they are more than an annual.
Winterizing caladium plants is pretty easy – once you know how, of course! Now that you know how, you can enjoy your caladium for many years to come.
4 thoughts on “How To Winter Caladium Plants?”
I have forgotten where my Caladium bulbs are in the garden, and it’s too late to dig them up before winter. Do they stand a chance?
Well, it depends on how cold your winters get. If the thermometer is below zero for weeks at a time then chances are they won’t… You could increase their chances by covering the area you remember they were in, to at least keep the soil a little warmer.
Can I bring caladiums from the outdoor garden and keep them growing as an indoor tropical? That is, do the bulbs absolutely require a dry dormancy period in the winter months? I live in Illinois, and we get deep freezes, but I try and transplant as many outdoor plants that will grow indoors! Thank You!
You absolutely can grow your Caladium as indoor plants. They will always have a period of dormancy in the winter, there is nothing you can do about that – but they will bounce right back in the spring. Be sure to give them plenty of bright, indirect light and humidity, and you can either plant them back out when the temperature warms up, of you can just keep them indoors.