What to expect when you plant caladiums in full sun

Regina P. Bracy, Chen, Yan  |  10/17/2012 11:47:27 PM

Sun damage on caladium Aaron in June 2012.

Caladiums are considered a shade-loving plant. However, many varieties can be successfully grown in full sun. We grew over 40 varieties of caladium in full sun to see how well they performed.

Many varieties grew very well in full sun. Their appearance, however, could be different than when grown in partial shade.

When fertilized and well irrigated, caladiums grown in full sun were more compact, had smaller leaves, more leaves (denser plant) and more intense leaf color.

varieties recommended for Louisiana based on sun trial results are listed in the attached poster.

Please contact the author if you have questions for changes in specific varieties.

Other things to expect in full sun include: 

  • Caladium tubers planted directly into the landscape had less sun damage on the leaves than caladium transplants planted directly into the landscape.
  • Caladiums planted in full sun generally emerged about a week later than the same variety planted in partial shade.
  • The first flush of leaves in April is more sensitive to sun damage than leaves emerging in June and July when plants are better adapted to full sun.
  • Sun damage during summer was related to watering time. Irrigating very early in the morning, i.e., 3 a.m., resulted in less leaf burn (as shown in the photo) than irrigating at 6 a.m.
  • Leaf burn is more evident when large water drops remain on leaves after later morning irrigation.
  • Close planting also increased sun damage because leaves held horizontally by other leaves are more likely to hold water. 
  • Plants planted in full sun will need more fertilizer than those in shade because of more vigorous growth. We recommend 3- to 4-month controlled-release fertilizer to be applied at 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet at planting and another light application at 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in July or early August.
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