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Caladium, Late Summer Bloomer

Since we have downsized, my garden now sits on our balcony in the form of a few pots of different sizes.

Annuals are now my choice of plant .

We get a lot of shade and therefore I needed a plant that could tolerate several hours without sun.

Over the last few years I have experimented with caladium in my garden.

So I decided on caladium in pots for the balcony.

My choice from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs was their caladium ‘Apple Blossom’. The oxalis called ‘Iron Cross’ they also supplied. The combination worked well as you can see. [below]

An added feature was that this oxalis has a tiny pink flower that was a perfect addition in the container.

Caladium ‘Apple Bloosom’ with oxalis ‘Iron Cross’ [Courtesy of Brent and Becky Bulbs]

Though I knew it took a long time for the first leaf of the caladium to appear, I planted them in mid May in the container. It was the earliest I could put them in the soil.

Caladium, Popular Victorian Flower

The caladium has appeared in gardens since the Victorian period.  Then they naturally ranked among the choicest plants for the garden because of their large, colorful leaves.

Rochester seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) sold it in his catalog of 1880. The plant however does not appear in his catalog in the 1870s.

He wrote, “The Caladium is one of the handsomest of the ornamental-leaved plants. Roots obtained in the spring will make good plants in the summer.”

Winter Storage

In his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly Vick wrote instructions on winter care for the caladium.  A customer from Newfield, New York lamented that the previous year he had lost the caladium that he had stored in the basement.

Vick responded in the magazine, “They should be kept in a cool, dry place, and in sand.  A good, well-drained cellar usually offers a suitable place, but they should be stored on shelves, and not on the cellar botton.”

This is certainly timely advice, since we are now at the first part of September, time to start to think about over-wintering such tender tuberous roots.

If protected over the winter, next spring the caladium tuberous root will be ready to plant in the garden.

If you are really zealous, you could start them indoors in a pot about mid-March.

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