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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moonlight in the Daylight

Nothing in the summer garden excites me more than when the Caladiums begin to emerge from the ground. Slowly at first and then day by day clumps of them appear fuller and fuller.

Maybe you'd like to join me for a look at some along the tropical pathway. We'll start in the circle garden and round this corner between the potted containers overflowing with coleus, rojo congos, and macho ferns.

Moonlight caladiums are tucked back into a deeply shaded nook of the tropical pathway. The all-white foliage of this variety brightens the background layers behind the Queen Emma Crinum.

Single file past the narrowing passage where volunteer impatiens growing wildly are progressively inching out the foot path.

There are so many neighboring plants crammed into this tropical garden we'll have to squat down underneath those ginormous leaves of the Queen Emma and between the blackberry lilies to get a better view of these beauties.

A look from the other side gives a better view of how they are tightly planted in two tiers. One behind the retaining wall and another at ground level in front of the wall. Both layers curving around to merge with either White Queen caladiums or Miss Muffet caladiums.

Featuring Moonlight this week in celebration of the full moon seems appropriate. These lovely large, fancy leaf variety grow from 18" - 24" in height and are well-suited for shady or filtered morning-light areas in the garden.

Since my garden has plenty of locations with those specific conditions I've planted Moonlight in several places in the back and in the front. Here they are blended in with other mixed-whites with White Queen in a sweep behind them.

One of the questions I am asked often is what to do about the bare ground caladiums leave after they finish their growing season. My answer to that is: I don't necessarily use bare ground to plant the bulbs. I typically plant them layered underneath shell gingers, saw palmetto, coonties, oakleaf hydrangeas, and pentas and between existing plants. In almost every situation they are squeezed in between rows of aztec grasses, irises, flax lilies, and xanadu that serve as supports for holding them as the season wanes.

Moonlight is a 2004 introduction from the University of Florida produced by Classic Caladiums. The thin, dark green veins and edges are a perfect contrast to the clear white of the leaf in Moonlight. I am really pleased with the habit and appeal of Moonlight as this is the first summer they have shined brightly in the daylight of my garden.


Disclosure ***Dr. Bob Hartman and Mike Woods of Classic Caladiums generously gave me Moonlight 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.


  1. They are gorgeous and oh-so-healthy looking! What a beautiful way to add some light to a shade garden.

  2. Those are wonderful bits of moonlight in daylight that is for sure. They really are pretty there in your lovely, overflowing gardens. I just want to take my time walking to see everything, or maybe even take a seat to sit and contemplate life for awhile.

    Very soothing ~ FlowerLady

  3. I ♥ the Moonlight Caladium!! They are gorgeous!

    Your coleus in the 3rd photo look so tall. I am really enjoying mine this summer....even grew some from seed. Am thinking of starting some cuttings late in the summer and using them as house plants during the winter.

    Thanks for the walk through the garden : )

  4. Those designs are really beautiful. I also love caladiums and i have some of them, but mine are the old types. Those bred in Thailand are so marvelous but also expensive here!

  5. Wonderful! Caladium is wonderful and your garden is a magic place!

  6. Wow, those are so, so pretty. They remind me a bit of Jack Frost brunnera, but much larger and showier.

  7. Oooh, pretty new caladium for me to NEED next year. I like your description of tucking them in tightly under and between other plants. That does help explain why your garden doesn't seem bare even when the caladiums go dormant.

    Your Queen Emma is looking healthy. The baby you gave me is growing well,I love it. Are the lubbers sparing your crinums this year? I've only noticed a few out and about lately. I'm thinking the Nolo Bait must have helped because the big ones I've seen seem extra sluggish.

  8. Hi Meems, Just stopping by to say HI and see if things in FL are doing great. Looks like your garden is glorious--as usual..

    We are fine --and just returned from a 3 week trip out west. It was awesome...


  9. I love caladiums, but they were a little harder to come by this year because of the big freezed we had during the winter in Florida. Hopefully, this winter won't be as harsh.

  10. caladiums and impatiens - two of my most favorite summer plants - but can't do well in my sunny yard. your variety of blooming leaves amongst all your tropical greenery is always stunning!

  11. That is a cool look, kewl looking too.

  12. I just love caladiums! They are so bright and easy!! I also wanted to comment on the Queen Emma Crinum. I am about to show a picture of mine in a post, but I'm almost embarrassed to show mine compared to yours! Wow. So THAT'S what it's supposed to look like. I assume yours are perennial?? Not so for me, so it never gets a chance to grow to its potential, I guess.

  13. Daisy,
    Shining brightly in the shade!

    There's plenty of places to sit and contemplate here... join me anytime.(((hugs)))

    Siesta Sister,
    The coleus are in containers. The closest ones in the 3rd photo are in a 36" shallow bowl in the middle of other coleus planted in the ground and the volunteer impatiens. I always start cuttings in late summer or fall and then I don't have to wait for the garden centers to get them in.

    The Thai caladiums are really something else! And yes, pricey.

  14. Tatyana,
    Caladiums grow so well here it is difficult to take any credit for them. They are hard to mess up. :-)

    I am a big fan of 'white' anywhere in the garden that it fits. They really do sparkle in the deepest shade.

    Yes, moonlight would look so perfect in your shady garden!

    There are 3 more Queen Emmas at the end of the tropical garden. This one being the mother of all of them. They are chewed up quite badly actually. I never got the NOLO bait and I'm having a terrible time with Lubbers. Kill several every day. Boo!

    So nice to see you. You two definitely make the most of life and travel. Will come by your blog to see your photos and hear your stories. Miss you.

    Bulbs were a little more scarce this year due to the last three winters. But Classic Caladiums still has some to order ... not as many choices but the mixed varieties are a GREAT deal.

    Thanks, Mom. I know you miss your impatiens that used to grow under the giant live oak at the old house. Always trade-offs for not raking leaves anymore. :-)

    Just seeing white in the shade will cool you down in this summer heat!

  15. Toni,
    My crinums are considered tropical as they have frosted back the past several winters. The leaves become complete mush and go away... but when it warms in the spring they return quickly. My biggest problem is the Lubber Grasshoppers chew away on the giant foliage and it becomes tattered and torn... and unsightly. I think crinums do well here because they probably like our humidity.

  16. Hi Meems, Your Moonlight are beautiful! One of your readers commented about caladiums not taking the sun. As you know we are working on "sun series" caladiums evaluating both new and old varieties for sun tolerance. Among the whites, Mt. Everest, White Marble, Aaron and Garden White can take full sun. In recent Spring and Summer trials at Disney, University of Georgia and Ohio State University, White Diamond, White Pearl and White Delight proved to be full sun tolerant. Those with sunny yards might want to try some of these varieties.

  17. Meems, You know moonlight is my favorite caladium, even on a hot day looking at your photos makes it seem cooler. Janis

  18. These caladiums are outstanding in your wonderful garden.

  19. i host a garden party on thursday's & would love to have you link up! xoxo, tracie

  20. Dr. Bob,
    Thank you for your comment. I have some of the sun series planted and will report on their habits in the near future. My biggest concern is keeping them watered sufficiently when located in the sunnier parts of my garden. So far, so good with the help of summer rains. :-)

    It's not too late to order a few more to last through the fall for you. They are a lovely addition and I agree they will cool you down at a glance. *smile*

    I definitely count on them to prop up my summer garden. When the humidity wraps around us like a blanket ~~ caladiums are happy about it.

    Fishtail Cottage,
    I will be happy to check it out but I have to admit I'm not very good with memes. Too many other deadlines in real life. :-)

  21. Thank You so much for the blog shout out Meems. Wish I had more garden pics up....been spending most of my time with Elizabeth now that school is out. :)

  22. Sincerely beautiful! Your gardens are so lush right now. The moonlight Caladium is so light and airy...I love them! Thank you for answering the most asked question, and my question, of what to do during the winter months. As mine are beneath a saw palmetto stand, I will add something else to the mix, although nothing is necessary. I've considered some ferns but am afraid they'll get out of hand...maybe the flax you mention.

    Great post, Meems!

  23. Dani,
    I don't blame you... it is good to have extra time with them while you can. I'm doing the same with my grandkiddos.

    I hope it helps. I love seeing palmettos with caladiums tucked up underneath... so tropical.

  24. Beautiful photos! Makes me wish I didn't live in Zone 3!

  25. Shannon Marie,
    I guess we all have some form of zone envy. From zone 3 you would NOT be fond of our humidity. Good thing the caladiums thrive on it. :-)


Have a blessed day,

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