Caladiums Year to Year

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As autumn days grow shorter, and nighttime temperatures cool, Caladium season draws to a close.  Caladiums love heat. Cool autumn days and nights signal that it is time to dig them and save them for another year.

Our Caladium leaves have lost their rigid posture, and some lie on the ground.  I need to dig them soon, or lose track of some of the tubers. Once the leaves fade, there is little clue of where they may be buried, and the tubers won’t survive a Virginia winter.

Some gardeners treat Caladiums like annuals and let them run their course.  But if you want to save your tubers to grow again next year, you’ll find complete instructions for success in this post, courtesy of Don Patterson of Classic Caladiums.

Greetings to the ladies of the Governor’s Land Garden Club. Thank you for your kind hospitality this morning. I hope that the instructions in this post will help you as you prepare to dig your Caladiums and keep them alive this winter for planting next spring.

 

-WG

 

Forest Garden

Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’ grown from a single bulb we dug last fall and overwintered.

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Caladiums are tender perennials, growing bigger and better each year in warm climates where they may be left undisturbed.  The catch is that they are tropical by nature, and want to stay warm, even when dormant.

The general rule of thumb tells us to store them at 60F or warmer, even when the tuber is dormant.  Certainly, one would want to bring them indoors in any climate where the soil temperature dips below 60F, right?  Not necessarily…

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Admiring my friend’s Caladium bed last week, she told me that they had overwintered in place.  She’d never gotten around to digging them, and just piled some leaves on their bed at the base of a small tree.  Voila!  They emerged this spring, bigger and better than they had been in 2016.

Now, understand that my…

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

6 responses to “Caladiums Year to Year

  1. Yes, most who grow them do so merely as annuals. I would have liked to grow the as perennials, but they rotted! I know it is possible, but have not tried it again.

    • Tony, Caladiums love heat and humidity, but hate wet, cold soil. They are originally from Central and South America, in their wetter regions. If you grow them again, try them in pots, where you can control the moisture. Grow them in the shade unless you buy one of the new sun-tolerant hybrids. They are great color plants which require very little care and a single leaf will last for months. I hope you and yours are well and not impacted by the terrible fires in your region.

      • When I grew caladiums, they were all in pots. The shaded spots that they like in summer like are just too cool and muddy in winter. The spots that are warm enough for them in autumn are too exposed for them in summer. I will not be growing them any time soon, but when I do, I will be in pots again, just for the mobility. Even though it does not get very hot here, and is never humid, cladiums do reasonably well. I just hate to dispose of them as annuals when their season is over. I would want to put them aside for later. (That is my main problem with cyclamen, which are grown as winter annuals here, rather than as perennials that go dormant in summer.) Also, I would want to grow old cultivars (if available) rather than new unfamiliar sorts.

      • The worst of the fires were hundreds of miles to the South, or up North. We somehow did not get any serious fires here. It might have been worse if the electricity had not bee turned off.

        • Happy to hear the fires weren’t near you, Tony. So sorry to see how much is being destroyed by them across the state. The weather is making too much news, lately.

          • Sadly, there is no practical remedy for the combustibility of the forests here. They get more combustible as long as they do not burn. Vegetation management is not practical for such vast areas. We do what we can around homes and towns, but even that is not much in the big picture. Some of the environmental lawn only exacerbate the problems.

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