Caladium Growing Tips and Advice
Caladiums give us a beauty and brilliance that remain fresh throughout the heat of summer and the coolness of late fall.
Quick Color in Shade with Caladiums
In March, start caladium tubers indoors in 4-inch pots containing a light mixture of peatmoss, sand, and topsoil. Place the pots on a shelf extending from a window sill someplace warm to give bulbs the 70 to 80 degree bottom heat they need to start growth. With light watering at this stage strong roots develop, and then leaves appear. By May you'll have plants ready to transfer into our shady garden where the soil has been enriched with peatmoss, leafmold, and bonemeal. I usually reserve a few started bulbs for repotting so I can move them into bare spots that might develop in the garden.
Caladiums insist on lots of plant food but other than this they make few demands. They require more moisture than most garden plants, which is natural since they are native to the rain forest of Brazil. My bulbs respond to a regular program of watering and feeding with organic fertilizer. In my garden they have been pest-free, even when nearby shrubs were attacked by spider mites and mealy bugs.
All my caladium plants develop into lush 3-foot-high specimens, handsome in their color and form. The striking caladium Candidum in the photograph opposite it shown during early growth. Its cool white and green sparkles beside the rosy Crimson Wave and read and green Triomphe de L’Exposition. All of these have put on a great show every year, for I dig the bulbs in fall, store them in a frost-free place for winter, and plant them again in spring. Every week during winter I check the sphagnum moss in which I store the bulbs. If it is dry, I apply a little water to moisten it so bulbs do not dry out.
I am most grateful to caladiums for solving the problem of how to bring brightness into my garden.
1. Start caladium bulbs in pots or trays of moist peatmoss in a 70 to 80 degree temperature. Transplant when the shoots develop.
2. Transplant bulbs singly to 5-inch pots or set them right out in the garden after all danger of a late frost is past.
3. Enrich your garden soil with bulb fertilizer and improve its texture by adding lots of sand, peatmoss, and decayed leafmold.
4. To transplant from a pot, place your hand over the soil with the stems protruding between your fingers. Tap rim on a table.
5. Set the earth ball in a prepared hole and fill in all around it with loose soil, slightly firming down all the loose earth.
6. Water thoroughly after planting by placing the hose, without the nozzle, on a piece of board or flat stone. Water all summer.
Tips for growing vegetables:
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