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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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caladiums :: Not Just for the Shade Anymore

'Raspberry Moon' from Classic Caladiums
Did you know there are many hybrids of caladiums that perform well in full sun? You read that correctly. It's true. There are many hybrids of caladiums that perform well in full sun. We've been taught for so long that caladiums are fabulous shade-loving plants only. While many types of caladiums do prefer more shade than sun, in recent years, caladium breeders have developed new cultivars that excel in sunny conditions.
'Raspberry Moon' from Classic Caladiums along front-garden pathway
Without all the facts about caladiums you could possibly be deterred from the pizzazz these heart-shaped foliage beauties add to every garden. You might be a gardener who has virtually ignored the variety and lasting character of one of the most versatile plants available for summer color. I know you don't want to miss out for another moment.
'Candyland' from Classic Caladiums
Last summer was my first experience with 'Candyland'. I planted 3-5 bulbs into several containers with other existing mixed plantings. They received 2-4 hours of full middle-of-the-day-sun. Florida's sunshine can be brutal in July and August. Plants in containers dry out faster than plants in the ground, generally. I monitored them while testing whether they performed well in these conditions.

Not only did they exceed my expectations in terms of their pretty factor, they outlasted many other varieties planted in less-harsh situations. Something that really surprised me is they required no more irrigation than their counterparts sharing the soil with them.
'Candyland' from Classic Caladiums
With these remarkably positive attributes, I decided to order more 'Candyland' bulbs this spring. I placed them in a more prominent position in the back garden. 'Candyland' provides an excellent soft, pink border in front of a mixed planting bed with blue daze, pentas, angelonia, bulbine, Wendy's wish and beach sunflower. 'Candyland' finishes off the curving edge along this pathway with a height reaching only 12" to 18".
'White Wonder' Caladiums from Classic Caladiums in foreground; 'Raspberry Moon' in background
I've exclaimed the praises and virtues of 'White Wonder' in past writings. They jazz up the front gardens, with exclamation points of white, rocketing out of the ground among evergreens. (Caladiums go dormant in winter and return when the soil warms in March/April.)
Street-side/curb-side view of front garden on the south side of driveway.
I plant 'White Wonder' in clutches along the span of the curbside. This edge next to the street is out from under the canopy of oak trees that partially shades most of the front garden. Afternoon sun spills across all these plants and the slightly sloping lot dries out quickly. None of these factors discourage 'White Wonder' from looking perky from May until late October and possibly November.

The other side of the driveway is another good place for 'White Wonder' with a few clumps of 'Red Flash' interspersed.

I have removed all the grass from my front garden.  Adaptable, sun-loving caladiums are one of the plants to include for great lawn alternatives.
'White Wonder' up close in the back garden
Last year 'White Wonder' made such a lasting impression in my front garden, I decided to make some space for it in the back garden this spring. I have limited areas with ample sunshine as so much of the back gardens are covered with shade.
Although 'White Wonder' does well in partial shade I prefer making the most of its ability to withstand sun. To plant more bulbs of 'White Wonder' in the sun, meant they'd have to go on top of large roots left from a tree we removed. I mounded up piles of fresh potting soil (about 10" high) mixed with mushroom compost. They are kind of like little hills on top of the large roots. Since caladium plants don't have a large or dense root system, it was the perfect answer to fit them into the sunny area.
It's not too late to plant caladium bulbs if you live in Florida! These bulbs are available at Classic Caladiums.

Happy gardening, Meems

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  1. Your front yard is looking wonderful! So lovely and foliage friendly. Caladium photos are stunning.
    Looking forward to your talk on Caladiums at the Platt Library on September 13. If you have a special caladium photo I may use for our email reminder to the folks do send to me. Thanks and see you soon!

  2. I was heading south on US 27 and stopped at their office and they were having a sale last week. Yeah!!!

  3. I always enjoy seeing posts about your wonderful caladiums. I'm loving and enjoying mine. :-)

    Enjoy your week ~ FlowerLady

  4. Beautiful photos..glad to know it's not too late to plant bulbs..I haven't decided where to put mine so I have been prcrastinating.
    What are the delicate fern looking plants with your White Wonder and Red Flash..I love the look with the caladiums.

  5. LOVE! the candyland the one with the spots...I thinks Im getting them next year!!!

  6. I've always admired your posts and photographs of your gardens, especially the caladiums. . . and remained quite envious until now. I have very little shade and thought I'd never be able to grow these. . . thanks so much for this post! These will certainly be a garden addition before long.


  7. Good to know they will grow in sun, as we have very little shade.
    How much do I love that you have removed your front lawn??? ;0)

  8. Caladiums look especially nice in large clusters like you plant them. Half of my yard is sunshine, so I'll have to give some of the white ones a try.

  9. I love caladiums. Yours are absolutely gorgeous! What beautiful pictures!

  10. You need to be working for the Caladium Council. Those are fantastic pictures. Mine even came back this year in full force. Our mild winter did not kill the bulbs. I love when that happens.........

  11. Sherry (Chadderdon), I'm really looking forward to coming to your library again. You know I love to share about these fabulous plants. You are welcome to grab the first photo from this post for your newsletter if you like. :-)

    Aunt Diane,
    You smart girl! Love a good sale!

    So glad yours have returned this year!

    Laura R.
    Get those bulbs in the ground! The plants you see are not actually ferns at all. It is yarrow! It spreads easily and does well as "filler" all year long.

  12. Sharon,
    Candyland is in the 3rd and 4th photo.

    Sun-Caladiums will be great for your garden.

    Someday you'll have shade and a lawn-less front garden... I just know it. :-)

    You will love 'white wonder' in your sunny areas.

    Jim Martin,
    Thanks... so glad your caladiums returned... mild winters are helpful!



Have a blessed day,

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