HELP: Caladium Hilo Beauty has only two leaves at a time

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    As Title says, my Hilo Beauty has always only two leaves. Every time a new leaf starts growing, another leaf starts to die off , once the leaf opens the other leaf loses its Rigidity in the stem and slowly dies off. the stems are super long (65cm). (Please see image attached below.) I am considering Using some Support for the leaves, however with New leaf showing up approx. every two weeks i’m not sure if it would be sensible and manageable.

    I have a slow release fertiliser on the top of the soil, I water it Regularly but I allow the soil to get dry in between waterings. The plant is under grow lights with 9 hour cycle , which I changed to 12hours last week. I did not change the soil as The nursery has used an in-House Mix tailored for this plant.

    Is this normal or is my plant not happy? What could be the cause of this and How could I rectify it?
    Thank you in advance



    Nate from N&GNate from N&G
    Green Thumb (moderator)
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    Hello andhor!

    It does look veeery extended! Normally I’d say that’s typical of lack of light, but if you’re using a grow light already at 12h/day, it’s going to be hard to get any more of that.

    Seeing your pot-holder, though, I have one doubt: you say the soil dries out before watering again, but do you leave it in the pot-holder when you water? If so, that means water accumulates in the pot holder and the plant’s roots still wallow in water until it’s able to suck it all up. It’s very important not to have any water inside the pot holder. One good way to water caladium is to remove it from the pot-holder to water it, so water can drain away, for instance in the tub directly. When it doesn’t drip anymore, you can put it back in the holder.

    You can check this the next time you feel like watering by gently teasing the soil clump out of the pot (hold it up-side down): it should be the same dryness from top to bottom. If the bottom is still soggy but the topsoil is dry, then that’s probably the issue.

    Too much water limits the root’s ability to maintain pressure in the stems, hence the older ones failing in favor of the younger ones. (also true in case of not enough watering, but since you water regularly this isn’t the case).

    As for the grow lights, try bringing them closer, and to the opposite side of the window. Only bring them nearer 2 inches/5 cm at a time once a week, you don’t want to risk burning the plant. Also, rotate the plant by a bit less than half every day, it’ll normally help out in making the stems more rigid.

    Staking can actually help by letting leaves “feed” the plant for a little while longer. I’d find long, narrow sticks that you can wedge between pot and pot-holder, with a “Y” at the tip to rest the stem in (or make the “Y” with a paperclip and a rubber band at the tip). After all, if a weakened leaf can survive 3 weeks instead of 2, then you’ve already helped the plant grow more!

    I hope this advice is helpful. I do indeed find the markings on your caladium beautiful!

    Nature & Garden moderator.
    Message me if you have any questions, I’ll be glad to help out!

    “Winter reveals the strength inside… of those who dare go out!”

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