Caladiums are perennial foliage plants that rarely flower and are known for their colorful heart-shaped leaves. They all have relatively similar care and can be very easy to care for once you know what you’re doing. You can grow them both indoor and outdoor, but they will go dormant in the winter months. To show you how to grow the healthiest Caladium possible, this post will show you how to take care of Caladium Bicolor, including sunlight, water, and soil requirements. Caladium Bicolor is the most popular of the Caladiums because it has over 1000 different cultivars. Most Caladiums sold commercially are Caladium Bicolor. This is great for us collectors because it means that nearly all of the caladiums we acquire will have the same care requirements!
Their brightly colored heart-shaped foliage is the primary identifier of caladiums. In addition, they tend to have patterns and speckles. Unfortunately, Caladium Bicolor has so many different styles that it can sometimes be challenging to identify it by coloring. The best way to know if you have a Caladium Bicolor is to look at photos of different cultivars until you see the one you have or familiarize yourself with their signature shape and splotchy look.
Caladiums were first found in 1773 by the Madiera River in Western Brazil. The first specimen collected was the Caladium bicolor, which had random red and white spots. They are found throughout South America, including the Amazon Rainforest. The first hybrids were created by Louis Van Houtte and Alfred Blue in the 1860s. In fact, two of their hybrids, “Triomphe del ’Exposition’” and ‘Candidum’ are still being sold and grown today. In 1893, Adolph Leitze brought his hybrids to the World Fair in Chicago, IL, which introduced Caladiums to the United States. In 1910 Henry Nehrling and Theodore L. Mead began breeding caladiums in Florida, where they became significant growers and even created many of the species we know today. Some of their creations are ‘Fannie Munson,’ ‘John Peed,’ ‘Arno Nehrling’, and ‘Fannie Munson.’ Most recently, the University of Florida has been responsible for newer varieties. Today, almost all caladium growing is done in central Florida, specifically Lake Placid, FL.
The rarity of Caladium Bicolor is once again highly dependent on the cultivar. Most Caladium Bicolor are in the price range of $10-20. However, some cultivars such as Crimson Red can go for as much as $40 a bulb. Most Caladiums are sold by the bulb instead of as a fully grown plant.