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 Letters from customers - Starting stored bulbs in Northern Climes


 Last winter, I purchased 20 or so caladium bulbs/roots from you folks.  Living in an apartment, I thought I would plant them in peat pots, placing them in window wells in the basement of the complex, feeling there was sufficient warmth and light.  I wanted to get a head start on the growing season, as we do not put hot weather plants in the soil until after May 1-15, depending on the spring temperatures. I reside half way between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA. I had been forewarned they take a considerable amount of time to sprout.

    After about three weeks on the window sills, nothing appeared to be happening and I was very discouraged.  I dug a few bulbs out of the pots and found they were not showing any signs of sprouting and the bulbs were very soft.....thinking the roots were rotting. I concluded the window sills were not providing enough warmth, too drafty. I was so disgusted and discouraged after all the work and cost for the roots, I took all of the peat pots and dumped the soil and roots back into the plastic bag of starter mix, putting everything back in my storage bin......disgusted.

   About a month later, in early May, I needed potting soil and opened the bag of potting soil. As I was pouring out the soil, to my surprise, I found all of the caladium bulbs were shooting out roots and full of sprouts.  I immediately put them back into the peat pots, planting them outdoors two weeks later.  My caladiums are now  huge  and beautiful.  I have talked to several people in my area,  who tried raising caladiums only to fail and give up.  I believe I have found the secret for northen growers, quite by accident, who want a head start for their caladiums roots.  Next year, I am  going to place all of my bulbs in a bag of moist potting soil, knobs up, 1 1/2" to 2" inches deep and place them near my baseboard heat.  I will do this about a month in advance of my expected outdoor planting time.  After they have sprouted and are shooting out roots, I will plant them  directly into the soil, after it has warmed.   I believe based on my experience, I will do just fine.  The problem for northern growers, who do not have a green house seems to me.......they do not have a warm enough place to grow them.  Optimistically,  I have solved that problem

   I just thought you might want to hear of my experience, hoping  it might  be of some help for other northern growers.  

Ed Groff,
Souderton, PA 


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