"Dr. Bob" Hartman is our CEO here at Classic Caladiums. Holding many patents on new varieties of caladiums Dr. Bob is responsible for improving the habits of caladiums for consumers and plant producers alike. Dr. Hartman will post the most frequently asked questions here.

Submit a question, Email us at:   information@classiccaladiums.com
We try to answer all legitimate queries

   I like caladiums so much, but hate to wait for them to come up in the summer. I live in Savannah, Ga, and its seems that half of the summer is gone before they come up. Any suggestions about what companion plants that come up and bloom early would work well with caladiums in this area? I was thinking about daylilies, but would love your input. Or, is there anything I can do to make them come up earlier?
Thanks a lot,
Pegi Walters

Hi Pegi,
   As far as companion plants go, you might want to look at our Face Book site (
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Classic-Caladiums/130048030381003?ref=hl) as you’ll see numerous pictures of caladium combinations with other plants both in pots and in the ground.  You also might want to look at the blog, hoe and shovel.  (http://www.hoeandshovel.com/) for other examples of mixtures of caladiums with other plants. The neat thing about natural colors is that they never clash….. isn’t God cool!

  If you would like to get them going earlier and if you have a warm spot (≥80˚F) such as a south facing sun room or shed that you could put a small electric heater in, you could pot them, water them in, and then cover them with plastic.  They should sprout in about 2 weeks and then you could transplant them to your garden spot.
Hope this helps.
Best Regards, Bob Hartman

Do you really invent new caladiums?
Do you "invent" new caladiums at Classic?
Don, Englewood, FL

Hi Don,
The actual process of developing a new variety of caladium can take 7 years or more and is a  very laborious process and yes, I hold many patents for new varieties. We also expend considerable time and effort  rejuvenating current varieties - bringing them back to original colors and healthier, disease-resistant bulbs.

Bob Hartman

PS - While the question and answer are legit - the photo is just my webmaster having a little fun...

've read I must put my caladiums into a period of dormancy, and am trying to reason out when to do so. I live at 7500 feet in New Mexico. My caladiums are doing wonderfully, and they are indoors. My other tropicals, such as the hibiscus, typically bloom best in the winter, when the south sun comes in. The house typically runs 58-60 degrees overnight in the winter, with the south sun blasting everything through the windows, and a daytime temp. of about 80 degrees. Do you have a suggestion as to when to put the caladiums into dormancy?
Thank you,   Laurie Bowman

Not to worry, caladiums naturally know when it's time to "sleep".  When the temps go below 60° and stay there (say the onset of fall/winter), harvest the bulbs & leaves, let 'em dry for a week or so, trim off the tops and store the bulbs in a  warmish ventilated area (60° or better) for planting next spring. Caladium bulbs go dormant in the winter -  they like to take a nap. Make sure to identify what bulbs are in which bag - it gets interesting if you don't.
Bob Hartman

Elephant Ears
   Each year I plant elephant ears in my garden for a dazzling effect and each year I swear that I am going to start them early, so that when I put them out in May, they will already be about a foot high.  This year I want to start them indoors and was wondering if I plant them in pots and put them on heat mats, will that trick them into thinking it is spring?  (Along with a light source of course.) It seems Mother Nature is playing a mean joke on us up here in Boston, and she won’t stop sending us snow! I appreciate your advice.
Stacey Preble - Boston, MA (Feb-2011)

Good Morning Stacey,
In Florida, elephant ears grow year round.  The “dormant” bulbs we sell have been artificially “put to sleep”.  So the answer to your question is yes, you can pot them any time as long as you can meet their growing requirements which include heat and light.  Once potted they should be kept above 70F for the best results. 
   Best Regards, and stay warm! 
   Bob Hartman

Leave bulbs in ground over winter?
I planted caladiums last year, we had a freeze this year (I live in Texas). I had put some mulch down. Do you think the bulbs froze, or will they come up again this spring?
Juliet, Dallas TX    (Feb-2011)

Hi Juliet,
Thanks for your email question.  Caladiums are tropical plants and are typically hurt and eventually killed when soil temperatures persist below 50F for long periods of time.  Caladiums come back every year in Florida from I-10 south (I-10 works well for most southern states).  We have contacts in Louisiana and the Houston TX area that report caladiums surviving some winters.  All caladium varieties are not equally susceptible to cold damage.  So the answer to your question is that your bulbs probably didn’t survive but it depends on:  1) What part of TX are you in, 2) in many parts of the country we experienced record cold this year, therefore how was it in your area this year, and 3) which varieties did you grow?  If you plan on leaving them in the ground, mulching them like you did is the best thing to help them survive.  Digging them in the Fall and storing them in your house is the best way to assure their survival. 
   We wish you great success with this versatile tropical species.
   Bob Hartman


When is the best time to plant caladiums?
Determine your USDA Hardiness zone http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov
This list is a general guideline.  If your winter seems to be lingering please wait until all threat of frost has passed.  Planting your caladiums in soil that is maintaining a temperature of 60°F or higher will ensure that you have healthy lush caladiums. 

How deep and how far apart should I plant specific bulb sizes?
Plant your bulbs deep enough to cover them with about 1 ½ - 2 inches of soil.  Plant them with the knobby side up (these are actually the "eyes" or growing points.  Plant your bulbs 3-4 X their width.  Example:  A 2 inch wide bulb should be planted 6-8 inches apart.

How often should I water?
Water frequently and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.  For indoor potted plants make sure to discard any excess water from the drainage dish after watering.

How often should I fertilize?
For best result fertilize every four to six weeks with a light application of 6-6-6 fertilizer.  For household potted plants a liquid fertilizer for house plants is recommended. 

What bulb size should I order?  What’s the advantage over larger bulbs?
Caladium bulbs are available in various sizes.  As a general rule the larger bulbs produce more leaves.  Planting smaller bulbs in a cluster will give the same effect as a larger bulb.

Can I plant caladiums in pots and put them in house/patio/porch?
Yes you can use caladiums as potted plants for the house/patio/and porch.  They work great in combination patio planters.  It’s important that your plant be placed in a draft free spot where it receives indirect light.  Caladiums like it bright.  Keep soil moist and discard any excess water from the drainage dish after watering.

What are the most Sun Tolerant Varieties?  Will they still grow well in the shade?
Strap leaf varieties as a group are more sun tolerant than fancy leaf varieties.  However all caladiums grow well in partial shade.  Please check specific varieties for sun tolerance at www.classiccaladiumsllc.com.

How and when should I store my bulbs each year?
When the temperature goes below 60° F and stays there you need to harvest the bulbs for storage. Dig up the bulbs, cut foliage off 1 inch above the bulb.  Clean off excess dirt and allow roots to air dry for one to two weeks in open trays. Layer the bulbs in layers of newspaper or slightly moist sphagnum inside a cardboard box with proper air circulation. Make sure the bulbs are placed in a dry location that maintains a temperature of no less than 55° F. 
Which caladiums will be taller/shorter or better border plants?
As a general rule the Fancy varieties are usually taller.  The Strap varieties make excellent border plants in front of the Fancy varieties to give a two dimension look or tier affect.

Once I order online when will my bulbs be shipped?
We begin shipping at the end of February.  The weather and zones dictate when we ship the bulbs for all zones.  It is very important that shipped bulbs are maintained at 60° F. Freezing bulbs during shipping results in very poor growth, if any.

When will my credit card be charged?
The day that your order is shipped your credit card will be charged. This will allow you to order early and assure that you get your favorites before they are sold out. Particularly true of new varieties.




Classic Caladiums
1315 S.R. 64 West ~ Avon Park, FL ~ 33825
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