Now we have prepared our Caladium tuber and have arrived at the most important step, the soil and planting.
The tubers, and therefore the later plants, need a substrate that is rich in nutrients and well permeable to water.
In general, therefore, conventional potting soils from the hardware store are less suitable and you should resort to a special mixture for Caladium or make your own Caladium substrate mix.
In their native habitat, Central to South America, the plants are found in tropical regions, which means the substrate is always slightly moist.
Caladium substrate requirements
The substrate used for your caladium tubers and plants should be slightly acidic, according to their origin. Accordingly, the perfect soil for caladiums is in a PH range between 5.5 and 6.5. Since the substrate should hold moisture well on the one hand, but at the same time should not be too compacted, it is recommended to use a substrate mix.
Substrate mix for Caladium plants and tubers
A good substrate mix consists of:
- 2-3 parts coco humus
- 1 part mineral substrate (pon, perlite)
- 1 part moss (Sphagnum or other moss)
In addition, a portion of coconut fiber chips can be added to the substrate, but it is not mandatory.
The base of coco humus creates a PH value around 6, which is in the average for our future plant. On the one hand, the mineral substrate improves water permeability and, in addition to the moss, retains moisture and consistently releases it to the roots. The cheapest option for a mineral substrate is fine lava rock from the hardware store, but perlite also serves its purpose. Pre-fertilized Pon provides nutrients to the tubers directly from the beginning, which otherwise would have to be added in addition.
Potting caladium: How big should the pot be?
Caladium tubers are offered and sold in a variety of sizes. Most commercially available tubers are between 4 and 7cm tall. Generally, you should choose a pot that is about twice the size of your tuber. It is best to choose a pot with a diameter of 12cm or more to give your plants enough room to develop their roots. If you have a very small tuber, or have grown offshoot tubers yourself, you can of course plant them in a smaller pot.
How deep do you need to plant the tuber?
Once you have finished the substrate mix and found a suitable pot for your tuber, it is now time to plant your caladium tuber. First fill your pot about 2/3 with your substrate. Now place the Caladium tuber, with the right side up, on the soil. Now fill the pot up to the top with soil. There should now be a layer of soil on top of your tuber that is about the same height as your tuber.
Do you need to water caladium tubers after planting?
If you have your tuber in a fresh substrate mix, it should have adequate moisture first. If you use another ready substrate, then, as with all other sowings, should be watered once vigorously immediately after planting.
More about caladium care
Now your caladium bulb is in soil and you have it in a pot. Now the question is, where exactly should you put your caladium to allow for optimal growth?
Learn everything about the optimal location for Caladium plants in the next article.