Caladiums, Tropical Mix
Large showy leaves brighten shady spots.
Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Full Shade, Part Sun
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Ornamental Use Ways in which the product may be used in the garden for ornamental effect.
Beds, Borders, Container
Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year; biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year; perennials can live for more than two years.
Growth Habit The genetic tendency of a plant to grow in a certain shape, such as vining or bush like.
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Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summerTransplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for springStart Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summerStart Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallTransplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fallStart Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Planting Caladium Bulbs
- Plant caladium bulbs outside after all danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures remain above 70 degrees. Caladiums are tropical plants and cannot tolerate any frost and only emerge when the soil is warm.
- Select a location in shade or part sun with a good rich moist organic soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
- Plant bulbs 8-12 inches apart. The knobby side should be up as these are the growing points.
- Cover with 1 inch of soil.
- Caladium bulbs may be started inside 6-8 weeks before all danger of frost has passed. They require a warm soil in order to emerge so consider using a heat mat.
Growing Caladium in Your Garden
- Keep weeds under control during the caladium growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Keep elephant ear plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots. Caladiums benefit from a granular fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
- Monitor caladiums for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Many gardeners remove any flower stalks that develop to keep the strength in the plant.
- Caladiums are only hardy in zone 10. In other locations in the fall before frost or when the foliage begins to die back, dig up the bulbs with the soil and tops clinging to them. Let bulbs dry inside, out of direct sun with plenty of air circulation. Remove the leaves when they are easily tugged away from the bulb, shake off the soil, do not wash. Store bulbs in dry peat moss, perlite or vermiculite. Do not store the bulbs below 60 degrees.
Caladium Varieties Available at Burpee Seeds
- Caladiums are great for brightening, shady areas.
- Caladiums are ideal for containers, including windowboxes.
- Caladium foliage adds drama to cut flower arrangements.