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Caladium Planting Guide

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Foliage that Challenges the Brightest Blooms
Caladium

If you haven't grown caladiums, consider making this the year that you learn first hand about these wonderful plants. While most of us concentrate on our favorite flowers - often varieties that bloom for a short portions of the season - we often have yet to embrace foliage plants that provide a brilliant show for months. Reds, pinks, whites, greens and incredible foliage patterns - caladiums have it all! The icing on the cake? Caladiums prefer the shady, humid sites that spell the demise of so many plants. So if you garden in a warm region (or can provide that environment), have your cake and eat it, too. Grow caladiums, glorious foliage plants that challenge the brightest blooms.




Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2"-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Caladiums thrive in average to moist soil but will not survive in soggy settings.
  2. Site your caladiums where they'll receive filtered sunlight, bright indirect light or partial shade. In the hottest areas full shade is fine. Caladiums have big leaves that can be damaged by strong winds, so it's best to plant these tubers in areas with some wind protection.
  3. Dig holes and plant the caladiums 2" deep. Look for the sides of the tubers that appears to have the most "eyes" or growing points; these look much like the eyes on a potato. Plant the tubers with the eyes facing up and 8-12" apart depending on the mature size of the variety. Mixing a handful of bone meal into the planting soil tends to improved caladium performance.
  4. After planting, water your caladiums generously to settle the soil around the tubers. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soils and air temperature. (If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Or start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms. Caladiums like heat.)
  5. Water your caladiums enough to keep the soil slightly damp but never enough for it to be soggy.
  6. Enjoy the colorful foliage and feel free to pinch off a few leaves to add zip to mixed arrangements.
  7. After the season has finished, trim off any yellow foliage to tidy up the garden. In cold areas, dig caladium tubers before the first frost if you wish to save them for next year. Let the tubers air dry for several days, then store them in a cool location in paper bags or boxes filled with peat moss.
  8. Your caladiums will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Planters, Pots, Tubs, Urns and Windowboxes
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; caladium tubers must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot. Keep in mind the mature size of the varieties you have chosen and plan your container sizes accordingly.
  2. Feel free to mix caladiums with other plants in the same container. Just keep in mind that all must have the same light and water needs.
  3. Dig holes and plant the caladiums 2" deep. Look for the sides of the tubers that appears to have the most "eyes" or growing points; these look much like the eyes on a potato. Plant the tubers with the eyes facing up and 7-10" apart depending on the mature size of the variety. Mixing a handful of bone meal into the planting soil tends to improved caladium performance.
  4. After planting, water your caladiums generously to settle the soil around the tubers. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soils and air temperature. (If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Or start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms. Caladiums like heat.)
  5. Water your caladiums enough to keep the soil slightly damp but never enough for it to become soggy.
  6. Enjoy the colorful foliage and feel free to pinch off a few leaves to add color to mixed arrangements.
  7. After the season has finished, trim off any yellow foliage to tidy up the containers. In cold areas, dig caladium tubers before the first frost if you wish to save them for next year. Let the tubers air dry for several days, then store them in a cool location in paper bags or boxes filled with peat moss.
  8. Your caladiums will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.




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