Also known by the names Elephant’s Ear and Angel Wing plants, caladiums are tender tropical plants hailing from the open forests and riverbank edges of South and Central America.
They’re well loved by collectors for their distinct bicolor foliage and variegated patterns, which are even more distinctive in the rare varieties.
What are the rarest caladiums? Among the rarest Caladium plants are C. ‘White Queen’, C. lindenii, C. ‘Florida Cardinal, and C. ‘Black Mamba’. These cultivars exhibit more intense foliage variation than most kinds, featuring dramatic reddish-black hues, stand-out vein patterns, and larger leaves.
In temperate climates with moderate humidity, these ornamental plants will prosper and look delightful in containers or hanging baskets or planted as ground cover.
An intolerance to scorching sun or frost also makes them ideal houseplants with the right care. Here are 15 hard-to-find caladiums you can add to your plant wish list!
15 Rare Caladium Plants
These uncommon caladiums fall into “fancy leaf” (wide heart-shaped foliage) and “strap leaf” categories (elongated, lance-shaped leaves), but if you ask us, both kinds have pretty fancy textures and patterns and run the gamut of colors from pink, green, and red, to white, and silvery shades!
1. Caladium lindenii
This striking variety features long and leathery arrow-shaped leaves of dark green in stark contrast to its creamy yellow veins, creating a zebra-like pattern.
These grow between 2 and 3 feet tall and thrive best in bright, indirect sunlight and rich, acidic soil that drains well.
2. Caladium ‘Miss Muffet’
This dwarf caladium grows up to 1 foot tall and wide and has ruffled heart-shaped leaves of white and pale lime-green splashed with dainty hot pink freckles.
The dark-pink veins often bleed into the leaf like a wine stain. Best grown in shade and humus soil.
3. Caladium ‘Florida Cardinal’
‘Florida Cardinal’ reaches up to 1.5 feet tall and features large, velvety spade-shaped leaves of dusty emerald green splashed with electric pink centers that seep out into the margins.
This cultivar likes partial to full shade and flourishes in a peat moss-based soil medium.
4. Caladium ‘Moonlight’
The paper-thin foliage of this broad, heart-shaped variety allows light to shine right through it, giving the frilly edged silvery white leaves a moon-like glow while highlighting the pale-green veins beneath.
A full shade spot with only morning sunlight is best to avoid leaf burn.
5. Caladium ‘Red Beret’
Named for its resemblance to classic military berets, this quirky caladium has thick, rounded heart-shaped leaves of deep green, featuring white specks, and each leaf is stained with crimson red.
Give this one moderate humidity and organic soil.
6. Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’
This 6 to 12 inch high cultivar delights with romantic, ruffled margins and an overall rosy-pink hue.
Its leaves are slender and arrow-shaped with vibrant hot-pink venation and bronzed green edges. This tolerates full or partial sun.
7. Caladium ‘Magneficum’
This super-sized version of C. lindenii reaches a height of 4 feet at maturity and produces 1.4-foot-long leaves.
‘Magneficum’ has smooth lance-shaped foliage of dark green with bright white venation. Repot these into larger planters every year to encourage big leaves!
8. Caladium ‘Black Mamba’
Dramatic dark burgundy to near black leaves makes this elongated heart-shaped variety a perfect contrast plant.
The velvety foliage develops flecks of reddish pink as it matures and should be kept in indirect but bright sunlight to retain its color intensity.
9. Caladium ‘Jubilee’
The eye-catching ‘Jubilee’ cultivar wows with lush, green, heart-shaped foliage dusted with a central white blotch, prominent hot-pink veins, and red specks.
This fuzzy-leaved caladium grows 1 to 1.5 feet tall and will tolerate partial or full shade.
10. Caladium ‘Royal Flush’
‘Royal Flush’ dazzles with oversized angel wing-shaped leaves of bright pink with wonderfully contrasted medium-green margins, which are scattered with subtle silver-white specks.
This variety measures 2.5 feet tall and over 2 feet wide and will thrive in Grow Zones 9-10.
11. Caladium ‘White Queen’
This stunning cultivar features elegant, elongated heart-shaped leaves displaying a sharply contrasted pale-green to whitish backdrop with bold lightning forks of scarlet vein detail.
‘White Queen’ reaches 2 feet tall and performs best in partial shade.
12. Caladium ‘Red Ruffles’
This short, compact variety packs a punch with glossy, bright-red leaves set off by dark-green, ruffled edges.
The broad lance-shaped leaves overlap, creating a bushy, mounding habit.
‘Red Ruffles’ is tolerant of sun and shade.
13. Caladium ‘Pink Illusion’
This pretty caladium features angel wing leaves of pale green delicately stained with hot-pink patches.
Its bold dark-green vein detail among the pink creates the appearance of a painted church window. Place in partial sun for the best chance of success.
14. Caladium ‘Scarlet O’Hara’
‘Scarlet O’Hara’ stuns with broad heart-shaped leaves of lime green that are marked with a crimson-red blotch that bleeds out from the center and thick, bold red veins.
These can grow between 1 and 1.5 feet tall and appreciate partial to full shade.
15. Caladium ‘Torchy’
This compact caladium reaches only 8 to 12 inches at maturity but produces long and glossy heart-shaped leaves with a fuchsia-pink center that spreads softly into its dark-green margins.
Place it in partial sun to avoid leaf burn and color fade.
How Do I Get More Leaves on My Caladium?
Consider growing your caladium outdoors in summer for more direct sunlight exposure.
Jackie Rhoades at Gardening Know How also recommends cutting out the large central bud from Caladium bulbs before planting using a sharp knife:
“This will encourage the growth of secondary buds, giving you a fuller plant.”
How Fast Do Caladiums Spread?
Most caladium plants typically see leaf emergence within 6 to 8 weeks and take up to 10 years to reach mature height.
However, with optimal warmth and humidity, caladiums may take as little as 2 weeks to germinate and will spread to roughly 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide within 5 years.
In summary, the above-mentioned rare caladiums come in the form of “fancy” broad heart-shaped leaves and slender “strap” arrowhead styles.
Each has either large patches or specks of color ranging from delicate pale greens and silvers to heart-stopping pinks and deep reds.
Depending on the color intensity or delicate foliage texture, some caladiums perform better in the shade, such as ‘Miss Muffet’, ‘Florida Cardinal’, ‘Black Mamba’, and ‘Moonlight’, but many are tolerant of a little bright, dappled sunlight – indoors or out.