How to Care for Caladiums in Pots — Expert Tips for Pretty-in-Pink Spring Foliage in Your Backyard

With spring just around the corner, brush up on your plant know-how for a season filled with colorful caladiums

A close up of a pink caladium in a planter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spring is fast approaching. Soon the weather will be sunnier, temperatures will be warmer, and the days will be longer, which means more time spent outside in your backyard. You've probably already been considering curating your spring garden, but if you're still searching for some bright foliage to introduce to your space, caladiums are the perfect plant for a pop of color. 

These low-maintenance plants have long-lasting, vivid foliage ranging across the pink to red spectrum. 'Their stunning foliage makes them a popular choice for adding a splash of color to shaded areas of the garden or home,' says Tony O'Neill, owner of Simplify Gardening. 'With the right care, caladiums can be a rewarding addition to your plant collection, offering a lush, vibrant display throughout the growing season.' 

As Tony touches upon, these plants thrive in the shade, making them a great choice for smaller, urban spaces. Better still, they're an ideal candidate for container gardening, meaning you can introduce them to your outdoor space even if you don't have sprawling garden borders. If you're looking for an easy way to bring a burst of bright color to your backyard this spring, these experts explain how to care for caladiums in pots for flourishing foliage throughout the whole season. 

How do you care for caladiums in pots? 

Whilst caladiums are great for container gardening, there are some key considerations to bear in mind when growing them in pots. 'Unlike caladiums planted in the ground, potted caladiums require more attention to watering, as their soil dries out faster,' says Tony O'Neill, gardening expert and founder of Simplify Gardening. 'It's crucial to use a well-draining potting mix to avoid waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.'

Choosing a pot with drainage holes will also prevent waterlogging, and using a well-draining potting mix to plant your caladiums will help to ensure there is adequate aeration for the roots, recommends Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible. 'Caladiums prefer slightly cramped conditions, so don't go for an overly large container,' he says. 

Tony adds that potted caladiums also benefit from regular feeding, with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Use this every four to six weeks during their growing season to ensure your potted caladiums are fabulously healthy.

How often should you water caladiums in pots?

A selection of caladiums in pots on a brick wall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of course, how often you water plants in containers depends on the weather conditions and your environment. When it comes to watering potted caladiums, there are several factors to consider, including the size of the pot, the ambient temperature, and humidity levels. 

'A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch,' says Tony. 'Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent excess water from sitting at the bottom.'

When the weather is hotter, dry periods may mean your potted caladiums need daily watering. However, in cooler, cloudier conditions, watering can be reduced. 'Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged,' says Zahid, and remember to adjust watering frequency based on container size.

What lighting conditions do Caladiums in pots need?

Caladiums prefer not to be in direct sunlight but like bright, indirect light making them a great choice for a shady garden. 'While they can tolerate some direct sunlight, especially in the morning, too much direct, hot sun can scorch their leaves,' says Tony. 'If you're growing them indoors, a spot near a window with filtered light is ideal. For outdoor potted caladiums, choose a location that receives partial shade, especially during the hottest part of the day.'

Having potted caladiums is also great as you can move them around so that they're always in the best conditions to thrive. 'Caladiums thrive in dappled light,' says Zahid, so keep this in mind when positioning your pots.

Do potted caladiums come back?

A selection of caladiums in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're worried about your potted caladiums not coming back, there's no need to fret. 'Potted caladiums can come back year after year with proper care,' says Tony. 'Once the leaves begin to die back in the fall, reduce watering and allow the soil to dry out as the plant goes dormant.'

Caladiums will require overwintering, though. 'Remember, caladiums are tropical plants, so they thrive in warm conditions,' says Tony. 'Keep them away from cold drafts and frost, as they are sensitive to cold temperatures.' Keep your pot in a cool, dry place over winter, such as a garden shed. Once spring comes, begin watering the plant to encourage new growth. 

If you live in a colder climate, Tony and Zahid recommend bringing your potted caladium indoors over the winter period. 'Potted caladiums can be more sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so consider moving them indoors during extreme conditions,' says Zahid.

Soon your spring backyard will be bursting with color and texture. Now you have all the knowledge needed to pot your own caladium plants for a display that boasts bursts of white, green, pink, and red foliage this spring. 

Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.