Caladium is a sought-after house plant that is primarily grown for its fantastic foliage, rather than its blossoms. With a broad variety of plants, did you know that there are several other plants out there that could be mistakenly identified as caladium?
If you’re looking for plants that resemble caladium, you have several options to choose from. Arrowhead vine, taro plant, elephant’s ear, devil’s ivy, homalomena, flamingo flower, polka dot plant, nerve plant, and baby rubber plant all share similar visual characteristics and care routines with caladium.
While each plant has its unique traits, they are all suitable for indoor growing and can add a touch of lush greenery to your space. From the climbing arrowhead vine to the compact polka dot plant, there’s a caladium look-alike for every preference and level of care.
Let’s dig into the top 10 caladiums look-alike and how to maintain each one of them.
First of All, What Does A Caladium Look Like?
Also marketed as angel wings for their foliage shape, caladium is a member of the Araceae Family. Once established, they produce massive foliage, about 12 to 30 inches (30 to 76 centimeters) each, with eye-catching colors and patterns. Identical to its aroid cousins, caladium also originated from tropical rainforests, mainly Central and Southern America, affecting this plant’s way of growth.
Caladium is a big fan of shady areas with bright but indirect light. It’s highly not recommended to thrive this plant under direct light, as it can burn their delicate leaves. To add, this perennial or annual house plant also loves high humidity and moist, acidic soil with high organic matter–all the things they get when they thrive wildly in their natural habitat. They produce arum-like blossoms, with yellowish-white spathe and pale yellow spadix, but this plant seldom flowers as an indoor house plant.
The foliage shape of caladium is heart-shaped, with colors ranging from variegated shades of pink, and milky white, to green, and visible veins. They have thin stems that could be in the darker color of green or deep dark magenta, depending on which cultivars.
Caladium is a poisonous plant, containing calcium oxalate crystals that can cause symptoms like a burning sensation, itchiness, and vomiting when a large amount is ingested, so you might want to take extra caution when thriving this gorgeous plant. Now let’s move on to plants that look like caladium, with the majority coming from the Araceae Family itself!
Caladium Look Alike
Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium)
USDA Zones: 6 to 10
Plant Size: 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) tall
It’s difficult to miss the arrowhead vine, more so if you’re a fan of climbing or vining plants. These plants that look like caladium not just share a similar visual look, but also a maintenance routine. The difference is, the arrowhead vine needs a stake or moss pole to support its growth and can also be grown in smaller areas like hanging baskets.
Taro Plant (Colocasia)
USDA Zones: 8 to 11
Plant Size: 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.52 meters) tall
The Taro plant is one of the most famous aroids that is often mistaken for caladium. Meanwhile, caladium is fond of shady areas, this caladium look-alike would not mind being grown in areas with bright, direct light. Taro plants produce a different color than caladium, whereas the usual variegated species of this aroid only comes in bi-color, no pink, and is in a less complex pattern.
Elephant’s Ear (Alocasia)
USDA Zones: 7 to 11
Plant Size: 2 to 6 feet (0.6 to 1.82 meters) tall
You might also get confused with these plants that look like caladium. Similar to the taro plant, the elephant’s ear also prefers bright full sun over shady areas. When it comes to toxicity, this plant tends to be more poisonous than caladium, containing water-insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
USDA Zones: 9 to 12
Plant Size: 6 to 8 feet (1.82 to 2.4 meters) long
This caladium look-alike is made for those who are looking for vining plants that are suitable as indoor hanging plants and pot plants. With strings of heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped green foliage, the devil’s ivy can add a touch of lush greenery with minimum care.
USDA Zones: 9 to 12
Plant Size: 1 foot (0.3 meters) tall or less
The glossy feel combined with the dark green to the bright green color of homalomena makes them a notable choice primarily for indoor house plants. Unlike caladium which typically does not produce any odor, homalomena have a strong anise seeds smell, similar to licorice.
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium)
USDA Zones: 9 to 12
Plant Size: 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 meters) tall
This lovely plant is also widely known as a painter’s palette, in regards to its glossy foliage shape that resembles an artist’s palette. Flamingo flowers have red, magenta, or pink arum-like blossoms that make a great contrast to their dark green foliage. This plant is also easy to maintain, just like caladium.
Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
USDA Zones: 9 to 11
Plant Size: 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) tall
The following plant is not part of the Araceae Family but from the Acanthaceae Family. Even so, the polka dot plant is still a considerable house plant that not only resembles caladium in a more compact size but is also favored for its foliage color and striking polka dot pattern.
Nerve plant (Fittonia albivenis)
USDA Zones: 10 to 11
Plant Size: 0.25 to 0.5 foot (7 to 15 centimeters) tall
The ovate-shaped foliage of the nerve plant, along with its notable milky white or greenish-white nerves, is known to captivate indoor gardens. Maintaining these plants that look like caladium is easy, they need to be in constant moisture and humidity, and thrive in warmer environments.
Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
USDA Zones: 9 to 12
Plant Size: 1 foot (0.3 meters) tall
Despite its common name, the baby rubber plant is not related to the rubber plant at all. These plants that look like caladium are not known for producing latex, but rather attractive glossy foliage. They have a similar care regime with caladium and are also native to Central and Southern America.
What Do Caladium Bulbs Look Like?
Caladium bulbs are thick and bulbous, mostly ranging in size from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) in diameter. They have a papery, rough outer layer that is tan or dark brown, which can be easily mistaken as a grasp of soil if you’re not paying attention. Caladium bulbs also typically have sprouts or buds, that’s where the new roots and stems are coming from. Plants that look like caladium may or may not have similar-looking bulbs. For instance, anthuriums do not have bulbs but rather grow from rhizomes, while devil’s ivy is grown from roots.
Why Plants That Look Like Caladium Are Worth Thrive
Easy to maintain, offering a splash of eye-catching colors and patterns, and mostly suitable for indoor or outdoor gardens, these are just several reasons why plants that look like caladium have become top-notch superstars. Whether you’re an experienced or beginner, these caladium lookalikes are difficult to skip!
New author in the hood. Loves gardening and flowers are my spirit animals (yes I know they are not animals but I insist). I will be covering most of the flowers’ topics here and occasionally random though as well.