The Moonlight Caladium is a plant that has translucent, white-colored, heart-shaped leaves and is native to South America.
The beautiful, intricate details on each leaf are highlighted by paper-thin pale-green veins with a faint green frame.
This plant is also called White Moonlight Caladium, Angel Wings, and Garden White. Read on to discover the amount of effort needed to cultivate this ethereal plant.
- What Is Moonlight Caladium?
- Moonlight Caladium Care
What Is Moonlight Caladium?
The Moonlight Caladium is a tropical perennial plant suitable for USDA zones 9 and 11. As this plant can live either in a wide space or a limited area, with the right temperature, light, humidity, and soil nutrients, you can still cultivate healthy foliage that can provide a heavenly ambiance to your area.
Moonlight Caladium Care
Keep reading to find out more about this beautiful plant as it thrives with the right amount of water, light, fertilizer, pruning guide, and more.
– Water Requirements
The Moonlight plant requires consistent moisture in the soil, but it should not be soggy. If it is still in the growth phase, producing new leaves, it needs regular watering. Never leave the soil to dry out. However, overwatering is also bad as it will cause root rot, which can kill the plant.
Moonlight Caladiums are tropical perennial plants that typically bloom during the hot season in summer and become dormant during the cold season.
When the plant becomes dormant in the winter season, the leaves start to look yellow and droopy. When this happens, cut back on watering the plant, and resume only when spring comes and new leaves start shooting up.
– Light Requirements
If you are planning to place your Moonlight Caladium indoors, an east- or west-facing window sill will be the ideal location for the plant to maximize the benefits of the morning sun.
Moonlight Caladium indoors prefers moderate bright shade or indirect light. Place your plant a distance of about three to four feet from a window to avoid burning the leaves. If you have sheer curtains, it would be best to place your plant behind them.
Planting it outdoors yet keeping it in a pot will enable you to control the light conditions to which your plant is exposed. Given that the natural habitat of the Moonlight Caladium is near the banks of rivers, the plant is more likely to survive in a partially shaded space or even under a tree.
If growing your Moonlight Caladium in a garden, make sure to give your plant partial shade and avoid intense sunlight. Some caladiums can tolerate full sunlight, but white caladiums like the Moonlight variety will suffer from scorched, yellowing, and drooping leaves.
– Soil Requirements
The soil for the Moonlight Caladium should be fresh well-draining soil that is full of nutrients. Soil acidity should preferably range from pH 6 to 6.5 or slightly acidic.
A mixture of mulch, moss, compost, peat, and other organic amendments will help achieve the acidity of the soil. If the soil is clayey or waterlogged, this can be addressed by mixing in a potting mix with the sand, perlite, or vermiculite in a well-draining pot.
One of the mixtures you can use is peat-based soil enriched with leaf mulch and compost. Organic soil additives, such as dung or manure, will also be fine. The Moonlight Caladium soil can have a lot of earthworms, which are an organic kind of fertilizer that the plant would like.
– Temperature Requirements
The Moonlight Caladium loves warm temperatures of about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. However, the plant has no frost or cold tolerance, as very low temperatures halt it’s the plant’s growth and causes it to become dormant.
If you placed your Moonlight Caladium plant outdoors and you live in USDA zone 9 to 11, it will be best to transfer your plant inside the house during winter. You can try placing the plant in the bathroom, as warm air and humidity are good for the plant.
In tropical countries, the Moonlight Caladium can still go dormant once in a while. This could be due to slight changes in temperature or frequent cold weather.
– Humidity Requirements
White Moonlight Caladiums love to grow in a high-moisture environment. When grown indoors in a closed and non-air-conditioned environment, the plant will likely suffer stunted growth and exhibit a dull color.
Using a humidifier, placing a pebble tray under the plant pot, and regular misting will help. If grown outdoors, planting your Moonlight Caladium beside other ornamental plants or mulching up the soil will also be of great help.
Keep in mind that too much or too little humidity would cause the plant’s leaves to become droopy. This will make the plant more prone to fungal infection or bacterial growth.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Fertilizer can be optional, but it will be a great addition to use so that you will have a luscious, healthy-looking plant. Bone meal, liquid fertilizer, or slow-release pellets are also good options.
Make sure to water the plant thoroughly after putting fertilizer to avoid burning the leaves. use only a moderate amount of fertilizer, as too much can burn the leaves or cause the nutrients not to be taken up by the plant, thus leading to serious pollution problems.
Excessive fertilization can also cause the leaves to become greener, which may eliminate the white pigment on the leaves that make that plant more appealing.
– Pruning Requirements
The pruning of the moonlight caladium is essential, make sure you snip the dead stems off the plant, you can do this by either using a sterilized pair of scissors or even pulling them out carefully.
Keep in mind that the pruning of this plant is very important because when the dead leaves will are left on the plant, they will not leave any room for the shooting of the new stems that are on their way to bloom. Hence, prune out the dead leaves to give space for the new ones.
Propagating the Moonlight Caladium can be done in two ways: through tubers or bulbs.
– Tuber Propagation
Tuber propagation could be done either by buying from a nursery garden or repotting from a dormant Moonlight plant during the fall or early winter. During the dormant season, allow the leaves to die and the soil to dry a bit.
Then, take out the tubers, and store them in a box placed in a cool, dry, and dark place with a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius but no cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 degrees Celsius.
In late winter or early spring, start dividing the tubers, placing at least two tubers together for each repotting. Some of the tubers may noticeably have some sprouting, indicating that new leaves are growing. However, allow the tubers to dry first before replanting.
– Bulb Propagation
Moonlight Caladium bulb propagation can be done using mature or dormant plants that need repotting. You can cut out one or more eyes or knobs to set aside for propagation.
Each bulb has an eye or even a leaf bud where a new plant will emerge after one to two weeks. Every cluster of bulbs has a central eye that takes up all nutrition, preventing any bud from sprouting. The best thing to do first is to de-eye the bulb cluster using a sharp knife to carefully scoop off the buds.
If the bulbs are for storage, lay them out on a table for about three to four weeks until they are dry, and keep them in a paper box with good ventilation. They could also be placed on layers of shredded paper or individually wrapped in paper towels.
A common misconception is that bigger bulbs guarantee bigger leaves, but this is a myth. Instead, the bigger the bulbs you cluster, the more leaf buds it can make, thus growing more leaves as the plant matures.
– Propagation Through Soil
Start planting your Moonlight Caladium when summer is upon you. For outdoor landscape planting, choose an area where the Moonlight plant will receive filtered or indirect sunlight or partial shade. Tubers should be planted about two inches deep, with eight to 12 inches of distance between tubers.
For outdoor or indoor container planting, place the plant in a small to medium-sized well-draining pot. Check for the correct consistency of the soil, and add some fertilizer if needed. Placed at least two of the divided tubers on the soil, planting them no deeper than two inches.
Water thoroughly after planting to preserve the moisture and get rid of excessive fertilizers on the leaves. Place the pot in the bright shade during the early morning and in the partial shade later in the day. Within two to four weeks, new growth will be noticeable. The Moonlight Caladium will take about one to two months to reach maturity.
Right after choosing the best bulb for propagation, prepare moist soil in which to place the bulb, with the eye or knob facing upward. To retain the moisture, you can cover up the pot using zip lock bags. Similar to tuber propagation, you will see some small sprouting caladiums after one to two weeks.
– Fungal Infection
Storing the tubers until the growing season would make them susceptible to tuber rot or fungal decay. This disease usually afflicts tubers if they are not properly cared for and stored. Never wash the tubers before storage. Let them dry first before placing them on the dry paper. Never store the tubers in the refrigerator.
Leaf spot is also caused by fungal infection and can be noticed as brown spots on some leaves. This condition may not be as severe as others, and removing and cutting away the diseased parts will prevent contamination and spread.
– Skin Irritation
When you plant your Moonlight Caladium, make sure to wash your hands with soap, as the sap coming into contact with the skin may cause itching or skin irritation. Caladiums in general have calcium oxalates, so if you are a pet lover or have a toddler, keep the moonlight plant unreachable as it is poisonous both to humans and pets.
– Other Common Problems
Amateur growers may have a hard time detecting problems at first, but with experience and enough research, you will be able to save your plant. Looking at the leaves and posture of the plant will help you identify what could be going wrong.
Moonlight Caladium leaves will turn yellow if the plant is overwatered, when there is too much sun exposure when the plant is experiencing humidity and temperature stress, or even due to underwatering.
Additionally, leaves turning yellow could be due to fertilizer remaining on the leaves, so make sure to wash any excess fertilizer off. The leaves will also turn brown if the soil is too dry, if there is not enough humidity, or if the plant is over-fertilized.
The plant may also experience soil nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of iron, nitrogen, or magnesium. Using Epsom salt and lime could help with soil acidity. Avoid watering the plant during the hot part of the day as the plant may become droopy.
– Pest Issues
Caladiums in general are not bothered by many detrimental pests, but there are some common pest problems that are not only limited to the Moonlight Caladium. Leaf-sucking pests must be eliminated immediately. Some of the pests that can be eradicated by insecticides and insecticidal soaps are mites, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies.
– What Are the Difference Between June-bride Caladium and Moonlight Caladium?
In terms of appearance, there is no significant difference between the June-bride caladium and the Florida Moonlight Caladium.
However, the June-bride type was more like the variegated group of caladiums with more white pigments on their leaves. Meanwhile, the Moonlight Caladium was specifically described as paper-thin, with a small amount of green pigment in the veins and frame of its leaves.
In contrast, some June-bride caladiums have lanced leaves. Typically, they have narrower leaves, and compact foliage, and are more tolerant to the cold.
– How Big Does the Moonlight Caladium Get?
The starter height of the Moonlight plant is 12 inches (30 centimeters) and the plant grows up to a height of 24 inches tall or 60 centimeters. Sometimes, if planted in a good mixture of soil and given enough sunlight, the plant’s height could reach up to 30 inches or 76 centimeters.
Keep in mind that the Moonlight Caladium has no stem as it directly sprouts from the bulb, called a petiole. The Moonlight Caladium leaves measure 12 inches up to 24 inches wide. The narrower the leaves, the more sun the plant can withstand.
The leaf size and height can be determined by different factors, such as the amount of sun exposure, watering frequency, environmental conditions, and planting strategy. Planting a Moonlight Caladium based on bulb size can yield different results. Larger bulbs do not guarantee larger leaves or a taller plant.
However, a larger bulb means the plant can produce more leaves. Larger bulbs also tend to mature quickly, which makes them suitable for planting in areas with a shorter growing season.
– Does The Moonlight Caladium Have Flowers?
Yes, the Caladium plants have flowers, and those flowers are known for their bountiful foliage, but they are still self-producing flowering plants. However, compared to other Caladium varieties that produce a single type of flower infrequently, the variegated Moonlight Caladium very rarely produces flowers, such that the appearance of its flowers is not widely known.
White Moonlight Caladiums are beautiful, ethereal plants that would definitely brighten your area. It is a great addition for collectors of beautiful plants. These are some of the important factors you should know before planting a Moonlight Caladium:
- The Moonlight Caladium can be easily grown by amateur to expert growers with proper information and research.
- The plant is suitable to grow indoors and outdoors in an area with full to partial shade.
- The Moonlight Caladium is a tropical perennial plant that will become dormant during the winter season but can grow back during the spring season.
- Tubers should be stored only after drying and placed in an area not colder than 55 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid rotting caused by a fungal infection.
- Remember to prune the plant properly in order to help the growth of the new stems.
Although some effort is required to store or repot your Moonlight Caladium during dormancy, keeping a Moonlight Caladium plant will always be a good decision as it will be a wonderful addition to your garden that can light up any dark corner of your home or garden and bring serenity to your area.
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