I got this plant from my mother-in-law but I’m not sure how to care for it. The stems seemed to have dropped a bit since I got it and some of the baby leaves that were coming in have dried up and died. The soil in the pot seems very dense as when I water it, the water stays on top for about 5 to 8 seconds before it filters through. Can you help me identify this plant and tell me how to care for it? I have attached pictures.
Your plant is a bulb plant called a Caladium Plant. Here are some instructions on how to care for a Caladium Plant.
The soil of a Caladium Plant should be moist but never soggy when the plant is actively growing. As the leaves of Caladium Plant start to die back in the early fall and the plant goes into its resting period, gradually reduce the watering until the soil has thoroughly dried out. Give the Caladium Bulbs a little water every 6 weeks of so until the spring.
Feed a Caladium Plant every two weeks when it is actively growing with a water-soluble plant food high in nitrogen at 1/2 the recommended strength.
A Caladium Plant does well in temperatures between 70-85 degrees with as little fluctuation in temperature as possible. During the five months when a Caladium Plant is dormant, the temperature should be cooler but never below 55 degrees.
A Caladium Plant needs a great deal of humidity. You can increase the humidity around houseplants in several ways: place your Caladium Plant on a bed of wet gravel or pebbles; put a small humidifier near your Caladium Plant; or group several houseplants near each other to create a mini- greenhouse effect.
The colorful leaves of a Caladium Plant attract mealy bug, spider mite, and aphid infestations. Gently wash any plant pests off the leaves of a Caladium Plant with warm soapy water.
Caladium Plants are prone to fungal diseases such as Fusarium and Pythium which usually result in root rot. A bacterial disease called Xanthamonas which causes leaf spot may also may infect Caladium Plants. Provide good air circulation and keep the leaves dry of a Caladium Plant to prevent plant diseases.
A Caladium Plant grows best in a slightly acidic fast-draining soil. Once a month water a Caladium with left-over tea or a very dilute vinegar water solution.
Caladium Plants should be propagated in the spring, after the plant has had a 5-month “rest.” The tubers or bulbs of a Caladium Plant can easily be divided to start new plants.
Move a Caladium Plant to a dry, dark, cool location once the leaves start to die back. Water sparingly about every six weeks. Caladium Plant bulbs need to “rest” for about 5 months each year before the plant starts to grow again.
Poisonous Plant Info:
A Caladium Plant is a very poisonous houseplant with a #3 toxicity level.