Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
To De-Eye or Not to De-Eye
When planting caladium bulbs, especially into a container, there is a procedure called de-eyeing(which you can learn more about here) that can help or "force" each bulb to produce more leaves. The finished habit turns out a slight bit shorter and remarkably more full. I experimented with de-eyeing for the first time when planting some varieties of caladium bulbs this spring.
Feeling inexperienced and a bit shy with this process I admit I was hesitant to try my hand at de-eyeing. If executed incorrectly I could dig out too much of the flesh of the bulb and damage the sprout altogether. But I was determined to give it a whirl. I used the tip of a Phillips head screwdriver to gently release and remove the central growing point or "terminal eye". It popped right off and turned out to be not as scary as imagined. Following this the bulb should be left to heal over or "cure" as disease can enter the open wound. I actually forgot about this step and held my breath that each de-eyed bulb would emerge.
In 2 containers of equal size, (5) #1 size (1.5"-2.5") bulbs were planted in each and placed in the same partially shady conditions with each receiving the exact same irrigation. The comparisons featured below speak for themselves.
Raspberry moon is a recent hybrid introduction by Dr. Bob Hartman of Classic Caladiums. It is a brightly colored lance leaf variety of chartreuse and 'raspberry'. It is sun tolerant growing from 18- 24" in height.
Above is the container planted with the bulbs that were NOT de-eyed.
And above is the container planted with the bulbs that WERE de-eyed.
Side by side visuals clearly indicate the fuller habit, more leaves, and brighter colors in the container planted with Raspberry Moon caladium bulbs that WERE de-eyed.
I'm a believer. I will take the time to de-eye caladium bulbs that are planted into containers from now on.
This whole fun experience has my curiousity up ... is this a method you've heard of or tried?
Disclosure ***Dr. Bob Hartman and Mike Woods of Classic Caladiums generously gave me (10) Raspberry Moon bulbs during my tour (which you can read about here) of their facility in February. They did not require anything in return. I believe in what they are doing to improve the caladium industry and I LOVE caladiums so much I am honored if I have any small part in promoting the industry and specifically Classic Caladiums. It isn't too late to plant caladium bulbs. If you want to place an order Classic Caladiums still has a few specials being offered at great values and prices.