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Planting and growing our
Classic Caladium bulbs is a breeze.
These hardy plants just need a
little warm soil and some occasional watering and fertilizer to
vibrant colors all season long.
Caladiums like well drained soil.
If the area puddles after
a good rain, you might want to look elsewhere to plant your
bulbs. "Mound" an area for better drainage. Keep the newly planted bulbs moist - not soggy.
Shade is Good!
Where most plants don't tolerate shade very well - caladiums love
shady areas! When your favorite flower will bloom for a week
or two, caladiums will provide wonderful
leaf color and texture all summer. White varieties like White
Christmas, Moonlight or Candidum put on an outstanding show
all season long in shady areas.
Sun tolerant caladium
tips. Some caladiums tolerate
full sun (6-8 hours of sun); see reference on each variety
in the description. Caladiums
planted in full sun generally require more watering, the
length of exposure to sunlight is the determining factor.
All of our varieties are grown in full sun on our central
Florida farms. Overexposure results in holes with brown
edges in leaves between the main veins.
As a general rule, caladiums grown in the sun show more color than
they would in the shade. Watering caladiums early in the am
or late in the pm helps eliminate sun burn.
When should I plant my bulbs?
Bulbs should be planted in the landscape in the spring after
the last frost. The USDA temperature
zone chart provides guidelines for your zone, however
temperatures can vary in specific locales and from year to
year therefore nothing substitutes for local knowledge.
Generally, plant your bulbs with the soil temperatures warm
to 65°F-70°F. If you are planting caladiums in northern
climes, you can start the bulbs earlier in a warm, moist
(not soggy) place inside and give them a head start (see the
interesting tip from Ed Groff at the bottom of this page).
How do I plant my bulbs?
Plant right side up. Caladium
bulbs have a rather smooth bottom side and knobby (these are
actually the eyes or growing points) top side. Though they
will grow no matter which way you orient them, planting with
the top side up will provide you with the shortest sprouting
time and the happiest plant.
Planting depth. Your bulbs
should be planted deep enough to cover them with 1 ½” to 2”
of soil. A bit of bone meal would make your caladiums
happy. Water after planting. Mulching helps preserve soil
moisture and provides some weed control.
Bulb Spacing. In your landscape, evenly
space 4 each #2 bulbs, or 2 each #1 bulbs or 1 each Jumbo
bulb per square foot By multiplying the length by the
width of your planting area you will know approximately how
many bulbs to order. For instance, if you have a 2 ft.
by 10 ft. planting area you should multiply 2 X 10 = 20 sq
ft and order accordingly; 4 X 20 = 80 #2 bulbs or 2 X 20 =
40 #1 bulbs OR 1 X 20 = 20 Jumbo bulbs. You would use similar spacing in a patio
Caladiums like a little bone meal or 6-6-6 once a month or
so - more for cladiums in full sun. Watering in early am/late pm seems to make 'em
happy - you don't need to soak the ground. Again, caladiums
in sun, want more water, too.
Bulb Size Tips - Planting Separations by bulb size
Yup, it's true: bigger bulbs yield more foliage - go figure!
Caladium bulbs are sold in various
size grades based on
the diameter of the bulb. Generally the larger the
bulb you purchase the better the performance as the bulb is
the source of energy reserve for the plant, therefore the
larger the bulb the larger the energy reserve thus the
opportunity for better performance. Bigger bulbs should be
planted farther apart - jumbo bulbs about 12"-18" apart,
smaller bulbs, 6" to 8" apart, see spacing details just above.
If you notice several dominant "lumps" on your bulbs,
you can cut them out and get a plant that has several even
shoots (fuller habit) popping out rather than 1 or two
dominant leaves and some smaller, see our
de-eyeing page for more.
End of season
temps go below 60° and stay there (say the onset of
fall/winter), harvest the bulbs & leaves.
go dormant in the winter - they like to take a nap.
In the Deep
South (south of the I-10 corridor) usually heavy
mulching (3”-6”) will allow the bulbs to survive the
North (north of the I-10 corridor) dig up the bulbs and
leaves, let ‘em dry for a week or so, trim off the tops and
store the bulbs in a warm (60°F+) ventilated area for
planting next spring.
Height and Color
Individual conditions vary greatly in the US. Caladiums in shade
tend to have bigger leaves and want to be taller to catch
the light as opposed to caladiums in direct sunlight that
don't have to work so hard, Colors can vary according to
sunlight and feed.
Gary Henderson (L), farm manager and Classic CEO Dr. Robert
Hartman (R) keep a sharp eye on field and trial bed
conditions. High quality, disease resistant bulbs is our #1
Learn more about our central Florida Farm