Caladium beauty

Thu. May. 17, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Caladium beauty

The shady garden always seems to be the toughest for finding color pop and circumstance.  Enter the caladium.  Talk about adding pizzazz to a gloomy dark corner.

The name ‘Freida Hemple’ doesn’t SOUND like it would bring delight to the dark corners of your garden but let me tell you, this Caladium is jazzed up with big gorgeous red leaves ringed in green.

‘Freida Hemple’
Freida up close!

‘Fanny Munson’ adds bright pink with crimson veins and ‘White Christmas’ is just what you think it would be.  Brilliant white ribbed with green.

‘Fanny Munson’

You may not be able to find these specific caladiums, but there are so many cultivars, just enjoy the shopping and discover one… or three… or more, you love!

‘White Christmas’

Caladiums like moist, not soggy, soil and prefer a pH of about 6.  (do a soil test and use elemental sulfur if necessary)  Soil temperature should be around 70 degrees at planting time and the warmer the air temperature, the faster they’ll start growing.  Give them filtered sun to partial shade and well drained, warm soil.  I planted mine too early one year and wound up with rotted bulbs.   Plant your tubers knobby side up about 2 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches apart depending on mature size.  Mulch with a couple of inches of organic matter like shredded leaves, compost, shredded bark.  This will help conserve moisture, however, don’t let the bulbs sit in soggy soil.

If you order bulbs, do a little search on the company, check out their return policy.  If those bulbs come with any mushy parts or are dried out, send them back.   There are LOTS of cultivars, now some for sunny spots.  Be sure to check the sun/shade conditions on the bulbs/plants you buy!

A cousin to caladiums is Elephant Ears.  Those enormous leaves are beautiful backdrops to colorful caladiums.    Remember, these plants are huge if planted in the garden.  A container will contain their size somewhat.  Always read the label!

Elephant Ear – Imperial Taro

I brought the above plant in my home but it didn’t really last long.  First, the only place to put it was in my kitchen near the sliding door to the outside…  brr….  and the lighting just wasn’t right.  BUT it was fantastic outside for the season.