The Q&A Archives: Caladium Bulbs Are Not Germinating

Question: I purchased some small caladium bulbs and planted them in containers as I did the previous year. The bulbs are not germinating and some appear to be rotting. I have now moved the pots from a sunny/shade spot to a full sunny spot, but still no luck.

Is there a standard germination time for caladiums? I don't remember if it took 1 month or just a couple of weeks to germinate?

Answer: Caladium tubers are fussy about moisture conditions. They won't stand drying out (they are native to rainforests), but they also don't want to sit in overly wet soil. I usually don't worry about how long bulbs take to show themselves because they usually appear when conditions are right. However, since some of yours appear to be rotting, I wonder if the soil moisture has not drained well.

In perfect conditions, a tuber may produce shoots in 7-10 days, but we seldom have perfect conditions! Caladium prefer temperatures in the 60s-70s and always need shade, especially here in the low desert.

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