Native to the Tropical Americas, Caladium bicolor are shade-loving plants have heart-shaped to sagittate leaves. The corms can be overwintered easily, and they reproduce vegetatively fairly frequently. The flowering structures, consisting of a peduncle and yellow-green spathe enclosing the spadix, occur in groups (although they occur infrequently in North America). The leaves are extremely colorful and attractive.
Caladium bicolor (Fancy-leaved Caladium, Angel Wings, Heart of Jesus)
Hardiness Zones: 7-10
Height: 30-60 centimeters (12-24 inches) tall
Diameter: 30-45 centimeters (12-18 inches) across
Growth Rate: slow
Age: perennial, frequently grown as an annual
Root System: The roots grow from the top of the corm, fibrous.
Subspecies: MANY cultivars exist, well over 1000
Tolerates: heavy shade
Problems (major): root-knot nematodes (major, reduce overall size), Dasheen Mosaic Virus (DMV), Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Schlerotium, Erwinia
Problems (minor): tuber rot, leaf spots, aphids, mealy bugs, white flies, lepidopterous, and spider mites
Poisonous: Yes, calcium oxalate crystals and Asparagine are toxic if ingested.
Soil requirements: prefers slightly acidic (5.5-6.5), nutrient rich, well-drained soils
Air Requirements: prefers high humidity (~75%)
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: part-shade to full shade
Leaf shape: heart-shaped to sagittate
Leaf size: up to 30 centimeters (12 inches), including the lamina)
Flower structure: consists of a short peduncle, a yellow-green spathe, and a spadix covering the flowers, frequently show up in groups (if flowers occur at all)
Flowering frequency: uncommon in North American areas
The leaves are very attractive color-wise. These tolerate a great deal of shade and can be overwintered easily.
Angel Wings are occasionally used in gardens in shady areas to add color. These should not be consumed, as they contain compounds which are toxic upon ingestion.
A mature caladium leaf at SIU Carbondale’s greenhouses
Somewhat blotchy-colored leaves
A completely unraveled leaf
More leaves emerging from caladium corms, a colorful leaf can be seen emerging from the sheath on the right
All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.