Noel Kingsbury in his splendid encyclopedia [I call it that!] of plants Garden Flora has…
Atlanta gardens feature Victorian caladium.
The recent Garden Writers Association annual meeting in Atlanta featured several garden tours.
Caladium beds appeared in a few of the gardens.
Since I just started growing caladium in my New England garden the last couple of years, I was quite interested in seeing how these shade loving plants grew in Atlanta.
Wherever we saw them, I found them to be healthy and vigorous, showing the best of color with their fabulous leaves of green, white, and red.
Here is one garden with its bed of caladium. [below]
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 of the early 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.”
In his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly of 1879 he wrote instructions on winter care for the caladium. A customer from Newfield, New York wrote 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 in the midst of the month of October, time to think about over-wintering such tender tubers.
Vick offers timely advice.
If protected over the winter, next spring the caladium tuber will be ready to plant in the garden.