|Clumps of 'Miss Muffet', 'Iceberg' and 'Red Flash' fill this border. 'Freida Hemple' in the shade background.|
The dog days of summer hammer down on us in Florida like a warm, wet blanket of sweltering humidity that can't be escaped. August is the most difficult month to plow through, thankfully it has come to a close. Summer is when every drop of shade is a gift. Summer is when caladium foliage is the salvation of my garden.
|'White Wonder' Caladium foliage surrounds my Florida-Friendly certification I proudly display in the garden.|
Although considered to be an annual, Caladium plants return from tubers (or bulbs) left in the ground, year after year. It is warm enough in Central Florida not to bother with digging them out of the ground when winter approaches. The risk taken is the possibility of root rot. I'm sure I lose a few bulbs each year to root rot, but it's worth not having to dig up bulbs as they go dormant.
|'Candyland' Caladium is a full sun variety|
|'Postman Joyner' Caladium is a glorious bright red with deep green edges|
Without question, the bright and colorful leaves of Caladium foliage are the stars of my summer garden. They add remarkable texture, brightness, variety and just plain goodness for an extended period when so many flowers just don't tolerate the weather conditions.
|'Red Flash' and 'Miss Muffet' in back garden border|
|Side garden ~ late August|
|'White Queen' in background and 'Postman Joyner' in foreground with filtered light streaming through oak trees.|
And in case you haven't heard the news, caladiums aren't just for shade anymore. Read more about sun tolerant varieties and where to find them here.
|'Roseglow' tolerates many hours of sun.|
The possibilities for creativity are endless given the countless choice of colors and distinction of caladium varieties available.
|'Raspberry Moon' to left of pathway; 'White Wonder' to right|
Florida gardeners have the advantage. Our summer climate is exactly what these tropical and exotic-style plants desire.
|Along the street-side 'White Wonder' sparks interest among the evergreens.|
|Street-side at the corner of the driveway in my lawn-less front garden|
Heat, humidity, moisture and plenty of warm sunshine is the environment caladiums prefer. However, if you live in northern climates, caladium plants will offer the same characteristics they do here. Put them in containers or plant them in the ground. You may have to water them more often than us and also be sure to plant them after your last frost, and dig up the bulbs before your first frost. There's no reason why any garden, in any zone can't add some caladiums to your garden design for loads of foliage texture.
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