Caladiums are tropical, exotic flowering plants that are very popular for their beautiful and striking heart-shaped leaves. Due to this shape, many people call them angel wings, elephant ears, caladium bicolor, heart of Jesus, and more. Caladium varieties also produce colorful foliage that comes in shades of red, pink, white, and some very rare black options. The veins and patterns with the contrasting margins also add to this plant’s beauty, and you get a large range of sizes to choose from.
As a tropical plant, caladium varieties need warmer temperatures to thrive, usually between 65°F and 80°F. They will go into a dormant state as winter approaches, and it’s very popular to transplant potted plants in the spring months. Also, they like higher humidity levels, and misting them regularly is advised. They’re easy for beginners to care for, and we’re going to outline 24 pretty caladium varieties to consider below.
Caladium Plant Facts
Caladium is a tropical foliage plant genus in the Araceae family. In the native habitat, they thrive on the tropical rainforest floor in the shade. They’re famous for the colorful foliage they produce, and they also produce spathe-like flowers. Most caladium varieties that have the heart-shaped, colorful flowers are from the Caladium bicolor species, and there are currently over 1,000 caladium cultivars and hybrids available.
They grow best planted in zones 10 to 12, and the minimum temperature they need for steady growth is 65°F. So, you can grow them as tender perennials or annuals in pots outside during warm summer weather. You can also grow them as perennial houseplants in humid, shady rooms.
A feature of this plant growth is that they tend to die back in the fall months. If you live in a tropical region, you can leave your bulbs in the ground. In temperate climates, you’ll want to dig your bulbs up and overwinter them in a cool, dark room inside. In order for these bulbs to survive the winter months, the temperature shouldn’t drop below 55°F.
Most caladium varieties top out at two feet high and two feet wide. But, the size of the plant will depend on the specific cultivar you pick out. Many caladium varieties grow as compact, dwarf houseplants, and most will thrive in indoor locations as long as they don’t get direct sunlight.
Two Main Caladium Varieties
Caladium is a Brazil native, and you can find it growing in Central and South America in tropical regions. What makes caladium varieties popular as houseplants are the showy leaves. You can get Fancy Leaf Caladium Plants or Strap Leaf Caladium Plants when you shop.
The biggest difference between these two varieties is the meeting point between the leaf and the stem. Fancy Leaf Caladiums produce a stem that is near the middle of the leaf and strap Leaf Caladiums have a branch on the edge of the leaf.
Difference between Fancy Leaf Caladium and Strap Leaf Caladium
|Fancy Leaf Caladium||Strap Leaf Caladium|
|Can’t withstand the cold||Withstands the cold|
|Grows better in the ground||Grows better in pots or containers|
|Grows quickly||Grows slowly|
|Larger leaves||Smaller leaves|
|Lasts shorter periods||Lasts longer periods|
|Loose soil that is slightly acidic||Loose soil that is rich|
|Sun intolerant||Sun tolerant|
|Taller growth habit||Shorter growth habit|
Aaron caladium is a plant that gets between 12 and 18 inches tall, and this caladium variety usually produces deep green leaves with white centers. The center contrasts nicely and gives you several decorative options to choose from, like pink or red hues. Caring for this plant is a simple process. Try to put each plant a minimum of 15 inches apart to give them room to grow. They will need partial shade to full shade for the brightest coloring and biggest growth habit. The soil needs are fairly diverse too, but it’ll do well in virtually any soil without a huge amount of trouble. Water it until the soil is wet but not saturated.
2. Angel Wings
Also called Florida Red Ruffles, this caladium variety has a dusty reddish-pink leaf coloring, and the leaves are lance-shaped with wavy green margins that make it look lobed. The pointed, large shiny leaves are reddish-pink with light green along the margins, and this tropical coloring won’t fade from the foliage with direct sunlight exposure. You can grow this caladium variety as an annual in your sunnier summer gardens, and this pretty green and red container plant is a great tropical addition to your houseplants as it tops out at 12 inches tall.
Bombshell is a fancy leaf caladium that offers crimson red and green leaves. The leaves on this plant are characterized by bright red veins that run down the center and out to the margins. Pinks and reds seem to bleed from the veins in this leaf to create a very deep red patch of color in the center with deep green margins surrounding it. This is a sun-tolerant caladium variety that grows well in shade too. You can grow it in a sunnier garden as an annual or tender perennial, depending on which growing zone you live in. It will add dramatic color to your outdoor or indoor plants.
The original caladium variety will get between one and two feet tall with green and white leaves, and it thrives when you put it in the sun. This plant does well in the sun due to the unique chemistry it has, but it’s a slightly more demanding cultivar in other areas. Try to keep the soil very well-drained and loose, and put it in an area that gets afternoon shade. It can thrive in the sun, but it can also scorch in the afternoon without any protection. The pH levels in the soil aren’t terribly important with this plant. In the winter, you’ll need to bring it inside to avoid weather and temperature-related damage.
5. Candidum Junior
Most caladium varieties aren’t very large, but this is one of the smallest you can get. It has a lot of the same care needs as the large-sized plants, but it tops out much smaller. Generally speaking, it won’t get much larger than 11 to 16 inches tall and wide, and the white and green leaves contrast nicely. You want to work on keeping the soil very light, loose, and well-drained. Also, make a point to keep it out of the direct sunlight as this can cause leaf scorch. It’s a good idea to water your plant when the soil is dry, but make sure that you don’t water it so much that there is pooling water on the surface.
6. Caladium Lindenii
This caladium variety is a very dark green plant that has contrasting creamy white or silvery-white veins that run horizontally and vertically on the foliage. The white veins are what lends a striped appearance to the leaves, much like the African mask plant. This big house plant offers long petioles that get between two and three feet tall. To grow a potted cultivar inside, you’ll keep your room temperature right around 70°F and keep the humidity levels higher. It prefers to be in indirect but bright light, and it’s easy to grow as a houseplant.
Candyland is a strap-leaved caladium variety that has green and white leaves with a hint or pink or red spots or flecks. Depending on how old your plant is, the arrowhead pointed leaves can have a lot of red hues on them, and this makes the foliage mix white, red, and green. Another feature of this plant is that they have rippled green margins. The bushy foliage and colorful foliage fills this plant out nicely, and it grows up to 18-inches tall. To prevent the long stems from wilting, you want to water it regularly and keep the soil moist but not soaked. They’ll start to droop after four or five days without water.
8. Carolyn Whorton
Those who are after larger caladium varieties will enjoy Carolyn Whorton. This plant can easily reach 30 inches tall, and it’s usually pink, red, or green-hued. You’ll see a broad array of different shades throughout the foliage, and each will look nice when you balance them in your garden. Unlike many caladium varieties, this plant will do very well planted in full sun. However, it does better and shows brighter coloring in partially shaded or shaded areas. The soil needs are very simple to keep it happy, and they can grow in almost any soil. Water them when the top two inches of soil dry out.
9. Fannie Munson
Anyone who is after a striking specimen plant should consider this caladium variety. With the varying shades of red or pink, you’ll see them showcased with larger leaves. Along with being very pretty, they are very easy to care for. In turn, this makes them a great choice for beginner gardeners. They will get up to 24 inches tall when you grow them in full or partial shade. It’s also not picky about the soil types, and most plants will prefer slightly moist conditions. However, make sure you don’t overwater it as this can easily lead to root rot.
10. Florida Sweetheart
This is one of the smaller caladium varieties you can grow, and it tops out at 6 to 12 inches tall. This is a great filler plant in your garden or landscape, and it produces pretty rose-pink flowers that blend well into your garden environment. You want to add them in a way that blends with your garden or landscape design. Plant it in partial or full shade wherever you can, but it will survive direct sun if you don’t have any other choice. Humidity and heat will help this caladium variety thrive, so you want to water the soil regularly. Aerate the ground before you plant anything to ensure the water can drain away quickly.
This caladium variety has a broad size range, and this includes everything from plants as small as 12 inches all the way up to 24 inches tall. Keep them at least 18 inches apart to avoid nutrient competition. You’ll get a dark green plant with a deep red center, and they add a beautiful but brooding element to any garden landscape. As a low-maintenance option, you won’t have to do a lot of pruning or worry about the soil when you plant it. You do need to keep the soil moist, but avoid soaking it. This will help keep the plant healthy without drowning it.
If you want a caladium variety that is between 8 and 14 inches tall, this is a nice choice. It’s a creamy-white plant that has heart-shaped, medium-sized leaves that are very easy to integrate in your landscape and very bright. You may find some red splotches spread across the leaves on some plants. You want to keep it in partial shade to avoid damage, and you can move it to full shade too but it wont’ grow as well here. It’s not picky about the pH levels in the soil, but the soil should drain well and be very loose and light. You can amend it with compost or peat moss if you have a clay-based soil.
13. Heart of Jesus
Heart of Jesus is the main caladium variety that most people picture when they see this plant. It produces papery, thin, bi-colored leaves. You’ll get fancy heart-shaped leaves that are more pointed, and many cultivars offer very pretty patterns and color combinations to add visual interest. The bicolor caladium varieties grow best when you put them in porous potting soil that drains very easily. You want to put it in partial to full shade and water it regularly during the summer to keep the soil moist. Avoid overwatering this bulb plant as it can lead to rot.
Just like any caladium variety, this one will eventually die back as the temperatures drop and winter comes around. If you’re growing it inside, you can remove the foliage. Keep the bulbs in dry soil over the winter and replant them in the spring.
14. June Bride
You’ll get a brightness in your garden, yard, or interior with this caladium variety. It’s a very dainty plant that fits neatly in pots without taking up a lot of space, but it’s very eye-catching all the same. The leaf colors will turn from green to pure white, and this creates a vivid contrast. During the summer, it produces calla-type flowers, but the foliage hides them. It’s a very low-maintenance plant to have that is free of common diseases and pests. During the wet season, keep an eye out for slugs or snails.
15. Miss Muffet
Miss Muffet is a stunning caladium variety, and it’s a wonderful indoor plant that will enhance your space. This is a strap-leaf caladium that has color that will survive throughout the seasons. The green leaves feature tiny pinkish-red centers with dark pink flecks. The leaves look stunning when you plant it in full shade, and it grows well under partial sun too. You’ll have to water it regularly to prevent drooping. Also, daily misting is great to help ensure proper growth as this tropical plant loves higher humidity.
This bicolor caladium variety is a fancy-leaf cultivar that has luminescent, white, large leaves with green veins and margins. The leaves on Moonlight can get up to six inches long at full maturity, and you get frilly margins on the white and green foliage that adds to the plant’s beauty. It grows best in an area that gets morning sun and shade in the afternoon, and direct sunlight can easily burn the leaves. You’ll also need to water it often to keep the soil lightly moist.
17. Pink Beauty
This is a remarkable caladium variety that is very true to the name. It offers contrasting colors on the leaves that make it very distinct. The leaves come with a pink center with green margins and veins that spread out. During the peak season, you’ll see a host of different pink hues to enhance how it looks. Put it under complete or partial shade to get the brightest colors and water it regularly.
18. Pink Gem
Pink Gem is a fun caladium variety to grow as an indoor plant. It can also grow very well outside or in container gardens. Along with the bright pink hues this plant offers, it also adds texture to your space because it has ruffled leaves. The green edges and rich red veins are also visible on this plant. It does have a more rough texture to it, and it thrives when you put it in a shaded space. It’s not picky about the soil it’s in, but it does need regular water to prevent drooping.
19. Pink Symphony
Pink Symphony is a pretty indoor caladium cultivar that offers heart-shaped leaves and a maximum growth habit of 14 inches tall. It won’t take up a huge amount of space, and it’s a very beginner-friendly choice. The leaves are a very pale pink with green margins, and this can add a soft touch that is great for lightening up dark rooms. Because it’s a tropical plant, it loves to be in a space with higher humidity. So, you can put it in a bathroom or make a point to mist it daily.
20. Red Flash
Red Flash offers heart-shaped, huge leaves that are pink, green, and red coloring. The olive-green, rounded leaves have contrasting red veins that look like they’re bleeding into the green leaves. Also, the foliage has plenty of pink speckling that adds more value to the contrasting colors and patterns. It may produce a spathe flower, but it usually gets hidden by the leaves. It’s a tender, tall perennial that will get between 18 and 30 inches high at full maturity, and it grows best in partial shade. It’ll keep the colors when you place it in indirect but bright lighting, and it does well in containers or as a border plant.
21. Strawberry Star
Strawberry Star is a pretty bicolor caladium variety that acts like an ornamental plant. It has translucent white leaves, very delicate veins and speckles or strawberry-red all over. This is a fancy-leaf caladium with foliage that is heart-shaped and large with angel wing leaves. The attractive, bright leaves will help brighten up any dark corner in your home. It will top out at roughly 18 inches tall at full maturity, and you’ll see triangular green, white, or pink leaves growing on very slender petioles. This is a more rare caladium variety, and it does best when you water and mist it enough to keep the soil consistently moist.
22. Thai Beauty
Thai Beauty is a strap-leaf caladium variety that offers pretty pink and green foliage with white or green veins. The very pointed leaves on this plant have a very intricate network of patterns that appear to be painted on by hand. You’ll get variegated triangular leaves that are some of the most stunning out of any caladium bicolor cultivar. You can grow it as a perennial houseplant by planting it in a porous, loose soil mixture. Water the potting mix on a schedule to keep it moist during spring and summer. During the winter months, you’ll trim the caladium to the ground and store it in a dry, cool place between 50°F and 55°F. Early in the spring, you’ll take it out and plant the bulbs in fresh potting soil to encourage it to start growing again.
23. White Dynasty
White Dynasty is a fancy-leaf caladium variety that offers creamy white variegated leaves with darker green margins. The wavy green and white leaves also have some red splotches and veins, and this adds to the aesthetic appeal of this plant. The heart-shaped leaves tend to grow en masse, and the translucent white look you get works well in borders. This is a very low-maintenance plant that grows best in consistently moist soil in the shade. The recommended growing environment for White Dynasty is outside in containers or hanging baskets or inside in containers in more humid rooms.
24. White Queen
The final caladium variety of the list is White Queen, and it offers stunning big white leaves with red veining and green margins. You’ll get ornamental foliage that can give you a focal point in your home or in any tropical garden. It can get between 18 and 24 inches tall at full maturity, and it’s very beginner-friendly. You can plant it in a shaded location, or it can tolerate partial sun.
We’ve outlined 24 pretty caladium varieties for you to choose from, and it’s easy to use the bulbs year in and year out. All you have to do is dig them out, dry them out, and replant them in the spring to get a colorful show. You can easily plant several caladium varieties as indoor and outdoor plants to brighten up your space.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.