Monday, December 8, 2014

Cool Caladiums

Today was quiet around the Horticulture Center for the most part.  Overnight sleet/rain/ice made for some slick road conditions this morning but we did have some Grumpies come in for various tasks.  Vern, Dave, Jim and Ron Y. continued work on some carpentry projects with help from Bob K. and Dick H.  Bob also had some electrical troubleshooting to accomplish.  Maury ran more errands for us and Gary stopped by to pick-up a "homework project."  We also saw Dr. Yahr and a few others today.

As I go through my 2015 catalogs, I've already decided to bulk up on caladiums (Caladium sp.) as they have done so well out in the gardens as seen by the variety 'Moonlight' both above and directly below.  We use them universally in partly shaded areas that we can keep moist as they thrive and fill in very nicely.  They are also superb candidates for the partly shaded container.  We purchase caladiums as bulbs (actually corms) and have them shipped to us in March.  The second photo down shows a box of about 200 corms.  We then pot them in 4" pots (1 corm per pot) and put them out in the greenhouses to give them a jump on emergence and growth before planting in late May and early June once the soil has warmed sufficiently.  Native primarily to South America, caladiums have naturalized in many other locations worldwide.  The majority of our domestic caladiums (all those we order) come from the warmest portions of Florida and there are so many selections available with new varieties offered annually.  All of these photos were taken by me and represent a small fraction of the varieties I've observed.  These corms can be dug up in early October (like you would cannas and dahlis), rinsed off, dried and then stored around 55 degrees F (dormancy) for re-use/planting the following spring.  Regardless, with the arrival of Impatiens Downy Mildew wiping out our impatiens this year and those shaded areas being "off limits" for impatiens, I'll rely more on caladiums and the colorful foliage "oomph" that they provide!

 a box of caladium corms from Florida
 'White Christmas'
 'Painted Dart Frog'
 'Painted Tie Dyed Tree Frog'
 'Sweet Caroline'
'White Cap'
 'Party Punch'
'White Majesty'
 'Artful Fire & Ice'
 'Artful Heartfire'
'Raspberry Moon'
 'Angel Wings'
 'Fanny Munson'
 'Florida Sweetheart'

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