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With their showy, multicolored leaves, caladiums (Caladium bicolor) add dramatic accent to partially shaded areas where flowers will not bloom. Also known as Elephant Ears, the plants have greenish 9-inch flower clusters with a hood-like cover over the upright flower spike.
Caladiums don't grow well in dry soil and need regular watering. If they are allowed to wilt due to lack of water, it may cause irreversible damage to the plants, and if the soil is too dry, the tubers can go dormant. Water caladiums frequently and thoroughly, keeping the soil evenly moist to the touch but not waterlogged. Avoid keeping plants constantly wet or letting caladiums sit in water, to prevent root rot.
The optimal light conditions vary for each caladium cultivar, but most prefer dappled to moderate shade. Either too much sun or too much shade will inhibit color, with leaves stunted and appearing mostly green or brown. Some cultivars, like "Carolyn Whorton" and "Fire Chief," tolerate full sun for several hours a day. In general, a good spot is under the partial shade provided by open, high-branched trees.