Preventing Your Caladium Bulbs from Rot


Caladium bulbs, or more accurately corms and tubers, are one of the most beautiful and colorful plants in any garden. Their lush range of colors can turn any dull garden into a vibrant and captivating one. But, despite their scalability and good looks, they can be highly susceptible to rotting if not taken proper care of. It is therefore imperative to follow the indicated steps so as to prevent rot from taking its toll on your caladium bulbs.

The first and most important step is to store them in their original shipping material at room temperature, above 70 degrees F (21 C.). Air temperatures below 50 degrees F (15 C.) will cause them to enter a dormancy period and thus hinder them from germinating and growing in the spring. It is important to avoid refrigerating the caladium bulbs, since this will cause them to decompose and eventually rot in the long run.

Protect Your Caladium Bulbs from Wintry Rot: Easy Plant Care Tips

Protect Your Caladium Bulbs from Wintry Rot: Easy Plant Care Tips

Once the caladium bulbs are ready to be planted in the garden, ensure the soil is well-draining and that its temperature is well above the high 60s F (18-20 C.), usually into May in most growing areas. Cooler temperatures may cause the bulbs to harshly decompose and rot over time. It is thus important to choose a soil type with a balanced clay and sand content, in order to execute adequate drainage. Additionally, it is wise to test the soil pH before planting caladium bulbs; they prefer a less acidic soil than most plants, while soil that is too acidic will invite decaying and rotting in the bulbs. It is also imperative to not overwater the caladiums, as this might lead to root rot and bacterial diseases that can wreck havoc in your bulbs. Furthermore, caladiums should not be exposed to direct sunlight, as this might cause their leaves to scorch and turn brown.

Protect Your Caladium Bulbs from Wintry Rot: Easy Plant Care Tips

To lessen the threat of bacterial and fungal infections, a pine bark mulch can be applied near the bulbs in order to keep the soil moist and maintain a steady pH level. Furthermore, caladium bulbs should be fertilized at the start of the growing season with a fertilizer in an 8-8-8 formula, with a 5-10-10 balanced fertilizer with lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus being used once a month during peak leaf growth. Immediately afterwards, they should be watered at the roots and on the leaves in order to avert any kind of fertilizer burn.

When the time comes to winter season, it is paramount to dry the caladium bulbs indoors at room temperature and cut off all leaf growth from them. It is also suggested to pack them in a bed of dry moss and treat them with a powdered fungicide to prevent mold-based diseases and decomposition from rot. The bulbs should then be stored away from all direct light sources at 70 degrees F (21 C.) for the fall and winter months.

By following these practices, rot and mold-based diseases can be held back and the caladium bulbs will be able to last and regenerate for multiple years ahead. Create your beautiful and vibrant garden with these elegantly shaped plants, and these will be sure to reward you with their attractive leaves.

  • March 29, 2021