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July 10th, 2019

Caladiums – My Summer Color

by R.S. Walsh

Caladiums are one type of plant that do very well in hot, wet Florida. Planted as either tubers in spring or fully leafed out plants in summer, they are so easy to grow. The best part is once planted in the ground, they will come up year after year as soon as summer turns on the heat and rain. I plant them in the summer in the same areas I will plant my colorful annuals in the fall and winter.

Every year just as my winter annuals fade from the heat, up pop the Caladiums for the summer. Then just about the time you want to plant the fall seasonal color, the caladiums fade away and retreat back underground to rest up for the next summer. It is not necessary to dig up the tubers, just leave them alone and let them do their thing. It’s like planting once for the year and getting twice the seasonal color. This, of course, makes them my favorite for adding summer color to my flower beds and as colorful border plantings around the trees at the corners of my house.

People love to grow caladiums for their colorful leaves in pots, hanging baskets, in their yards, and many other locations. In the landscape they can attract quite a lot of attention when displayed in large planting groups. There are many colors and leaf patterns to choose from. Popular colors are white, pink, red and green in a fascinating array of combinations. They instantly add colorful interest in pots or in the landscape.

Caladiums are grown from tubers and are easily grown. Plant the tuber upright in the ground. They like wet soil and are light feeders. They do not require a lot of fertilizer, in fact, less is more in their case. There are many varieties to choose from. Some like shady conditions and there are some that are for sunny locations.

Many Florida growers are adding more and more Caladiums to their greenhouses and increasing the availability to garden centers. Caladiums look fun and exotic yet you don’t see many people using them. I say, give them a chance. Once you find out how easy they are to grow and the array of color they bring to your summer landscape, you will wonder why you didn’t plant them sooner.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, Florida.

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