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Surviving the Cold: How to Overwinter Caladiums & Properly Store Bulbs

Find out what's required for caladium care over winter


What Do I Do With Caladiums at the End of the Season?


In most parts of the country, caladiums are grown as annual plants. They are enjoyed from spring to fall, and then discarded, similar to how you might grow petunias.

Generally, we do not recommend storing bulbs for the winter and replanting the following spring. That’s because, other than in southern Florida, stored bulbs do not perform as well as fresh bulbs because there aren’t enough growing days to accumulate the carbohydrates (energy) necessary for storage and subsequent sprouting the following spring. If you don’t plan on overwintering caladiums, simply leave them in the ground and let them disintegrate.

Learn more about all-season caladium care

ZONES 10-11

If you live in zone 10 or 11 where the ground does not freeze, caladiums will be perennial for you and can be left in the ground over the winter. At the end of the growing season, their foliage will naturally go dormant and can be removed once it is all brown. Adding a thick layer of mulch over them for winter will help to insulate the ground and protect the bulbs. They will naturally re-emerge in spring.

Storing Caladium Bulbs

If you live in zones 2-9 and still wish to try and save your caladium bulbs over the winter, here are some guidelines to follow.

  1. Wait until your fall temperatures are consistently falling below 60°F, then dig up your caladium bulbs with their leaves still attached.
  2. Knock the bulk of the soil off of the bulbs, then set them in a dry, ventilated space for a week or so while they dry.
  3. Once the leaves shrivel up, cut them off about 1” above the top of the bulb.
  4. When the bulbs feel dry to the touch, they are ready to be stored. Keep them in a warm (60°F+) well-ventilated area over the winter.
  5. Replant outside the following spring when the soil temperature reaches 65°F and nighttime air temperatures are consistently above 60°F. Planting too early will stunt the bulbs and can cause them to rot.

How to Winter Over Caladiums Indoors as Houseplants

Potted caladiums can be moved indoors in early fall and kept actively growing as a houseplant for a month or so until they will naturally enter a resting period. They will need bright light and humidity indoors to thrive. Set the pot on a saucer filled with pebbles and water to keep the humidity up around the plant.

Related: 12 Ways to Enjoy Plants Indoors

When the leaves begin to fall over, you’ll know the plant is ready to go back to sleep for the winter. At that point, stop watering and allow the plants to naturally dry out, removing the shriveled leaves as they go dormant.

Once all the leaves are spent, the bulbs can either be stored in the dry soil in the container or removed and stored in the manner described above. In the spring, when the nighttime air temperatures are consistently above 60°F, the plants can be moved back outdoors.

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