This article was last updated by on

Caladium Candidum [A Complete Care & Grow Guide]

It is never easy to grow tropical plants at home. Moreover, developing a shade-loving tropical plant like Caladium Candidum may seem challenging.

Prized for their vibrant white-colored leaves spanning 12-30 inches, growing Candidum will require correct conditions.

Caladium Candidum grows ideally in full to partial shade with temperatures ranging from 70-75°F, humidity levels over 50%, and evenly moist soil. Furthermore, feeding them low-nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season and repotting them every 2-3 years ensures optimum growth.

However, the leaves will die back pretty soon in the fall, giving an impression of a failed plant.

So stop worrying and go with the flow to ensure healthy foliage again the following season.

Check out these fantastic tips to grow your Candidum at home with proper treatments for common plant-related problems.

Overview of Caladium Candidum

Popularly known as ‘Angel Wings,’ Candidum makes a perfect ornamental plant with large wing-like leaves for homes.

Gorgeous foliage of Caladium candidum
It is a tuberous tropical perennial that grows up to 12-30 inches in height and 12-24 inches wide.

A tropical species ideally thrive in warm, humid conditions similar to their natural setting. Therefore, protect them from cold and frost conditions at all times.

However, people often misunderstand Caladium Candidum with Lilium Candidum (Madonna Lilly) because of their similarities in scientific names.

Here is a table with a general overview of this beautiful ornamental plant.

Scientific NameCaladium x hortulanum ' Candidum'
Common NameAngel wings, elephant ears
NativeTropical forests in South and Central America
USDAZone 9-11
NatureTropical annual or perrenial
Plants Mature Size12-30 inches in height and 12-24 inches in width
Leaf SizeAt least 12 inches
FlowerNot grown for blossoms
UsesHome air purifier and decoration
ToxicityToxic to humans and animals
PruningYearly pruning to remove dead or damaged leaves
RepottingOnce every two or three years
PropagationPropagate by tuber cuttings
Pest/DiseasesAphids, Mealybugs, Mites, Thrips, Caterpillar/Pythium Spp, and Rhizoctonia

Caladium species are known for their large, decorative leaves, where Carolyn Whorton, Candidum, and Fannie Munson varieties give out giant leaves spanning up to 30-inches.

Overall, growing one at home will guarantee cleaning indoor air of toxins.

A Complete Guide to Caladium Candidum Care

Caladium Candidum is a low-maintenance plant that does well in moderate conditions.

However, most homes lack a humid growing environment ideal for this tropical plant.


Bright-indirect light
(3-4 hours)

Deep watering once a week in the growing season

Well-draining, organic soil that retains moisture
Fertilizer icons created by Smashicons - Flaticon

Balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks in the growing season

Optimal temperature of 70-75°F

At least 50% humidity

Getting the basics at first may be challenging but will become relatively more straightforward once you get going.

Follow this guide to provide an ideal growing condition required for the plant.

1. Adequate Watering Schedule

Candidum has a similar watering requirement to other Caladium varieties.

Because these plants grow along the riverbanks of tropical forests, you should replicate the same environment at home.

A tuber plant prefers deep watering once a week without thoroughly drying out.

Caladiums need watering regularly in the growing season to keep the soil moist but soggy, especially when hotter.

Tips for Watering Caladium Candidum

  • Provide 2-3 inches of water per week in the growing season to moisten the tuber roots for a container at least 5″ in size.
  • Hold back on watering over fall and winter when the plant becomes dormant and the foliage drops.
  • Caladium grown in the container should be checked daily for drying soil. Water immediately if the soil looks slightly dry.
  • Resume watering when new growth starts, usually early spring.
  • Never allow Caladiums to sit in a pool of water. Excessive watering will rot the tuber, usually when watered frequently within a week.

Avoid Inappropriate Watering

  • Use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level every week. Anything above 70 or 7 on a 1-10 scale indicates wet soil.
  • Deep watering the plant with 2-3 inches of water once a week in the growing season would allow the soil to stay moist for longer.
  • Keep an eye out for browning and yellowing foliage that indicates overwatering, and hold back on watering until the leaves recover.
  • Brown edges on the leaves or wilting indicate underwatered plant, which requires immediate watering.
  • Placing the pot on a pebble tray with water may help retain moisture, especially during summer.

2. Warm Temperature

Temperature is critical for Candidum because the plant ideally requires a warm temperature to produce healthy leaves.

Candida thrives in warm conditions, where the ideal temperature remains 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and at least 65 degrees at night.

The innate tropical species do not tolerate frost. Anything under 50 degrees Fahrenheit can kill the plant. Therefore, it is natural to see the leaves dying in the fall and winter months.

Another indication of the cold, stressed plant is stunted growth and yellowing foliage.

Tips to Provide Appropriate Temperature

  • Place your plant in a location that receives moderate indirect sunlight throughout the day.
  • Cover the pot with mulch to retain warmth in the soil.
  • Bring the plant inside and use heating pads to warm the soil when the temperature drops.
  • Alternatively, using a frost blanket may also help prevent cold stress.
  • Avoid keeping them in drafty places, such as in a room with an Air Conditioner or heater.
  • Once the temperature rises in spring, you will witness a rapidly growing plant.

3. Adequate Sunlight

Caladium Candidum does well in a brightly lit location with moderately warm temperatures.

They grow anywhere around the house, offering medium to bright indirect sunlight, such as northwest-facing windows.

However, be wary about placing them too close to the window or outdoors because intense sunlight can quickly burn the leaves.

Although some new Caladium cultivars can tolerate full sun, Candidum species will suffer under direct sunlight.

Look for brown patches in the spaces between the veins and yellowing and crispy leaves that indicate a sunburnt plant.

On the other hand, leggy stems and yellowed halos on leaves may indicate a light-stressed plant.

Place them at least 4-5 feet away from the window or patio or in front of the wall that receives ample reflected light.

Alternatively, you can also grow them indoors under artificial sunlight.

Use LED grow light to provide optimum lighting for the plant.

Quick Tip: Candidum can tolerate 1-2 hours of direct sunlight but strictly keep it to early morning.

4. Moderate Humidity Level

Candidum requires a moderate humidity level to keep the plant looking healthy.

Caladium Candidum thrives in highly humid conditions with at least 50% relative humidity as a tropical plant.

Astonishing foliage of Caladium candidum
Do not worry because it is natural for Candidum to lose leaves during fall and winter.

However, it may be challenging to replicate the same tropical environment at home, especially in an arid climate.

You would know this by the browning tips on leaves and curling due to transpiration (water loss) or lack of humidity.

The prolonged low humidity will damage the leaves and severely stress the plant.

Tips to Boost Humidity Levels

  • Consider installing an electric humidifier to boost humidity levels around the plant.
  • Mist the leaves in the early hours of the day, especially during the summer season.
  • Place the plant on a pebble tray with water to increase the humidity level around the container.
  • Alternatively, keep Candidum, amongst other houseplants, to naturally boost humidity levels.

5. Occasional Pruning

Pruning Candidum can be tricky because the plants naturally shed their leaves after the growing season, but it does not mean you should avoid pruning it.

Remove damaged or dead leaves every 2-3 weeks in the growing season for a good harvest. Ensure to dispose of freshly cut leaves at a safe distance.
The healthy trim out of the Caladium can easily be used for propagation.

Moreover, pruning off the diseases and pests (aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips, and caterpillars) in infected parts helps maintain the plant’s good health.

Usually, these external anomalies can be wiped away to a certain level using neem oil and insecticidal soap. And when the symptoms do not subside, pruning becomes mandatory.

Note: Sterilize the tools with rubbing alcohol or bleach solution before using them to prevent damage and pest infestation.

6. Potting and Re-potting

A newly purchased plant with a small pot may also require repotting in a large container.

A mature Caladium plant would only require repotting every 2-3 years, preferably in spring when the roots become crowded.

You must choose a pot at most 2 inches bigger than the current pot. The pot could be traditional terracotta or ceramic, which vibes with your home aesthetics keeping in mind the provision of enough drainage.

Further, use a commercial mix and garden soil to create a well-draining yet moisture-absorbent potting mix.

Or curate your desired mix by incorporating 1 part perlite, 1 part sphagnum moss, and 2-3 part coco humus.

While repotting, slide the plant out and check for any root issues, such as mushy and browning. Remove if found any. 

Classis Planter (Plastic)They are durable and lightweight. The drainage holes lie at the bottom
LE TAUCI Ceramic Plant Pots4+5+6 inch, Set of 3, Planters with holes in the bottom
Plastic Planter, HOMENOTEComes in five different sizes 7/6/5.5/4.8/4.5 Inch

7. Well-drained Soil

Unlike other tropical houseplants, Candidum thrives in moist soil conditions at all times.

It is best to replicate the soil condition typical to the tropical environment with a slightly acidic pH level (5.5-6) for Caladium Candidum.

Consider using an organically rich, well-drained soil mix that retains enough moisture.

Use coir compost, orchid brak, perlite, and peat moss in the ratio of 60:10:20:10 to get a perfect mix.

Tips to Improve Soil Drainage

  • Garden soil can be the best choice for Candidum plants. Almost any commercial potting medium mixed with ground soil will work fine.
  • Mix damp garden soil with peat or perlite to prepare a well-draining potting mix.
  • You can improve the texture and drainage by adding a fine layer of compost, finely ground bark, or composted manure.
  • Plant the tubers around 2″ deep into the mix with the growing points (eyes) facing up.

Caladium Candidum: All About Growth Habits

Caladium Candidum is a generously growing tuber plant.

A mature Caladium Candidum plant will grow 12-18 inches in height and 12-24 inches wide. It is indicated by rich foliage, where each leaf would span 12 inches.

They would produce large heart-shaped leaves white in color with dark green veins. The mature Candidum may produce two or three arum-type green, pink, and red flowers.

However, it is good to prevent blossoms by pruning the buds to encourage healthy foliage growth.

When leaves first appear, water the plant to moisten the soil. Being a seasonal plant, you would only notice foliage growth in spring.

Unless you live in USDA Zone 9-11, consider growing them as an annual plant.

Dig up the plant after the growing season and store the tuber warmly.

 Slow-Release Fertilizer

Candidum would love a regular nutrient boost during the growing season to achieve lush foliage.

Although they may do well without additional plant food, you would fail to witness thick, decorative foliage.

Provide an occasional dose of balanced, liquid fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer with Miracle-Gro® Liquid All-Purpose (8-7-6).

You can also rely on slow-release pellets intended for all houseplants once in the growing season, such as Osmocote® (15-9-12 plus micronutrients).

However, be careful not to use undiluted fertilizer or plant food too high in Nitrogen.

Caladium species love feeding on potash and phosphorus, such as the Agrobium plant food.

Alternatively, you can use organic compost for Candidum to prevent chemical root burns.

Propagating Caladium Candium

Reproducing Candidum is pretty straightforward; even novice gardeners can attempt it. Take the tuber cuttings for the sake of successful propagation.

You can usually get healthy stems from dormant tubers during winter.

How to Get Tuber Cuttings?

  • Allow the leaves to die back and remove the tuber from the soil in fall or early winter.
  • Store the tuber in a cool, dry place with a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Consider taking the cuttings in late winter or early spring, just before growing.
  • Inspect the tuber and find a section with at least one growing site (eye or a knob).
  • You can keep the small tubers whole or cut them into smaller pieces. Each piece must have an eye or growth point.
  • Cut the section using sterilized pruning shear, allowing it to heal for a week before propagating.
  • Ensure to cut without damaging the central tuber, large in shape, to plant it later.

Propagate Tuber Cuttings

The tuber cutting is ideally propagated in a soil medium instead of water. The tuber already contains some roots, so directly propagating it in the soil will see tremendous success.

However, wait until the danger of frost has ultimately passed before potting.

  • Take a small pot, usually 3-4″ inches, and fill it with the potting mix intended for Caladium.
  • Dig a 2″ hole in the middle of the potting mix and place the cutting with the “eye” facing upwards. Cover it with soil.
  • Moisten the soil by deep watering the mix. Otherwise, avoid watering if the soil is already moist.
  • Cover the pot with a fine layer of compost.
  • Keep it in a warm location with at least 70 degrees temperature.

Voila! Within a couple of weeks, the tuber will start sprouting a new set of leaves.

Quick Tip: Water the plant only when the first leaves appear to avoid getting waterlogged soil and fragile tuber.

Toxicity of Caladium Candidum

Caladium Candidum is toxic to animals and humans; hence, it keeps the plant out of reach.

Accidentally chewing on the leaves may cause extreme irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat in pets due to the calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves and stem.

Calcium oxalate crystals induce drooling and vomiting in young children.

If you suspect they have consumed the plant, rinse their airways and nose with water.

Contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) at (800) 222-1222 or Pet Poison Helpline 1 (855) 764-7661.

FAQs About Caladium Candidum

Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about the Candidum plant.

How Quickly Does Candidum Grow?

The growth rate will entirely depend on the growing conditions.

Your plant will grow a few inches every season with appropriate temperature, humidity, lighting, and watering.

You can boost physical growth by regularly feeding balanced plant food every two weeks.

Overall, a mature plant will reach at least 12″ in height.

How Long Will Candidum Live?

The perennial plant will last season to season but become dormant in winter.

However, it will last only the growing season as the annuals, requiring repotting each year in early spring.

Rest assured, your plant will survive for years to come.

How to Prevent Dying Leaves Over Winter?

You cannot prevent the Candidum leaves from dying because they naturally drop leaves in winter.

Let us say it is their way of showing that they are resting (dormant). Do not worry, they will start growing leaves again in spring.

Does Caladium Candidum have any Benefits?

Candidum makes a popular indoor plant and an excellent air purifier and humidifier. It will improve the air quality in your home by reducing air-borne toxins.

It may not be effective, but it will do wonders with other air-purifying plants.

From Editorial Team


Caladium Candidum makes a perfect houseplant that adds a unique decor in spring and summer with its signature white-colored leaves.

However, the lush foliage will die back in winter, losing its natural appeal and worrying many growers.

Make sure to keep them protected during dormancy and provide comprehensive care in early spring to witness healthy blooms again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *