Caladiums are admired for their artistic leaves, which are shapely and colorful at the same time. They’re easy to grow, too, preferring moist soil and part shade. If you’d like to get a head start on summer gardening, germinate caladium tubers indoors about a month before you plan to take them outside.
Rinse and disinfect a container with a 10-percent bleach solution to prevent spreading any diseases, then allow the container to dry. Fill with soilless potting mix and dampen. Insert a caladium tuber (a type of bulb) into the mix so that the top portion is just barely covered by soil mix.
Put the container in a warm room with bright light. Caladiums need warm soil to sprout, so placing the container on a heating mat (shown) will speed things along.
Bring plants outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. Plant them in the garden or leave them in pots as deck or patio decorations. Caladiums prefer the light shade found beneath a high-branched tree. Some morning light is fine and may make foliage more colorful, but hot afternoon sun will scald foliage.
Keep plants well watered throughout the growing season and feed them with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early summer. Although caladiums are generally treated as annuals in cold climates, you can dig up the tubers in fall and store them in a cool, dry basement before replanting the following spring.