Wondering what the difference is between caladium vs syngonium?

It can be hard to tell which plants are best for your home. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s not always easy to know what will work in your space.

Both plants are popular houseplants, but there are some key differences. Caladiums have large leaves with colorful designs, while Syngonium has smaller leaves that can be green, white, or variegated.

We’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide between the two plants that are often confused with one another. Learn more about the differences between Caladiums and Syngoniums in this article.

What are Caladiums?

What are Caladiums

Caladiums are a beautiful flowering plant that has been popular as an indoor plant for years.

The plant is also known as ‘elephant ears’ because the leaves of the plant look like the ears of an elephant. There are various types available, with some having more prominent veins on the leaves and others being more solid in color.

What is Syngonium?

What is Syngonium

Also known as the Arrowleaf plant, Syngonium is a lovely houseplant with a more traditional leaf shape.

The leaves can be green with white or cream-colored veins or have more pronounced variegation. You’ll find that most plants available for sale are more solid in color than caladiums, but this isn’t a hard rule.

What are the Differences Between caladium vs syngonium?

What are the Differences Between Caladiums and Syngonium

Caladiums are showier than Syngonium, but there are some key differences.

The leaves of caladiums are bigger and more elaborate than those on Syngonium, while the leaves of Syngonium look more prominent in comparison to the stems. Below are some of the other differences between Caladium and Syngonium:

Taxonomy: Caladium and Syngonium are closely related, but they’re in different families. Caladium is a member of the Araceae family, while Syngonium belongs to the Araceae family.

Caladiums are referred to as ‘Calad,’ and Syngoniums are known as ‘Aroids.’

Growth: Depending on the variety, caladiums grow anywhere from 10-20 inches tall, with their leaves ranging from 8-17 inches. On the other hand, Syngonium is a smaller plant that grows 6-12″ tall.

Despite their similar size (in terms of height), caladiums have more giant leaves than those on Syngonium, which tend to be more rounded and less pointy.

Flowers: Caladiums aren’t all too exciting once they’ve reached maturity. They produce small flowers that are often pretty ugly and smell like rotting meat.

While you might want to grow caladiums strictly for their foliage, you’ll need to uproot these plants after they flower. In contrast, Syngonium produces showy, white flowers when they mature.

Appearance and Structure: Caladiums are more colorful than Syngonium, but both plants have leaves with similar shapes. The main difference is that caladiums usually have bold veins on their leaves while Syngonium’s are less pronounced.

Caladium leaves are also bigger than the plant itself, while Syngonium’s can be up to twice as long as the stems.

Reproduction: Caladiums reproduce by means of tubers and seed, while Syngonium propagates through rhizomes and seeds. Both plants produce large leaves and can grow to be quite full, so you’ll need to prune them regularly in order to encourage continued growth.

Growth Requirements: Syngonium is more tolerant of lower light levels than caladiums are. Caladiums won’t be able to survive in rooms that are dark most of the time, whereas you can place Syngonium in a spot that doesn’t receive direct sunlight.

Plants with variegated leaves also need plenty of light to maintain their color pattern. On the other hand, Caladiums can easily handle rooms with dimmer lighting.

Water: Caladiums produce a milky sap that can irritate skin and mouths, so avoid getting these plants wet. In fact, you should always wear gloves when handling caladiums because the sap is poisonous if ingested.

Syngonium doesn’t have this problem since it lacks any kind of latex-producing cells in its leaves.

Caladiums and Syngonium come from different families, but there are other differences between them. For example, caladiums have large leaves with bold veins that can be more colorful than those on Syngonium.

On the other hand, Syngonium has white flowers that bloom as it matures while caladiums.

What are The Similarities between Caladiums and Syngonium?

What are The Similarities between Caladiums and Syngonium

There are some features that both caladiums and Syngonium share. They’re both relatively easy to care for, especially once you understand their needs.

Watering: The roots of both plants don’t like to be wet all the time, so they must get enough air circulation. You should water them deeply every few days and make sure their soil is dry before watering them again.

Light: Both plants benefit from receiving at least a little sunlight every day, but they can survive in lower light levels. You should make sure that they get four hours of indirect sunlight per day for the best results.

Temperature: Both caladiums and Syngonium can tolerate temperatures that are slightly below average room temperature, but you should protect them if colder temperatures occur.

Soil: Caladiums and Syngonium both grow well in soil that drains well, so it’s best to stick with potting mix rather than regular garden soil.

Which Plant is Right for You?

Caladiums are the most popular of the two, with over 100 varieties available to choose from.

They’re showier and more colorful than Syngonium, but they don’t fare as well in low light conditions. If you’re looking for a plant that features bright coloration, large leaves, and tolerance of darker rooms, then Caladiums would be a better choice.

Syngonium is more common than caladium, but it has fewer varieties to choose from.

They’re also capable of producing flowers and often grow larger than caladiums do. People looking for leaf coloration similar to that of caladiums would find Syngonium to be a great choice.

When to Transplant Caladiums and Synonyms?

Both plants can be transplanted when they’re dormant during the winter. Caladiums won’t produce any new leaves until springtime, while Syngonium is a bit more tolerant, and some varieties will produce some leaves at that time of year.

Insects and Diseases: Neither one of these plants is particularly troubled by bugs or diseases.


Both caladiums and Syngonium are great plants to have in your home, but there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of before making a purchase.

Caladiums are more colorful than Syngonium, and their leaves are bigger, while Syngonium produces showy white flowers when they reach maturity.

Those who wish to grow an easy-to-care-for plant tolerant of low light levels should consider Syngonium. If you are looking for a vibrant, colorful addition to your home décor, then you should consider caladiums. Whichever plant you choose, we know you will enjoy it.