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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.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Stars of Summer

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' is one of the largest leaves and tallest varieties of caladium. In the side garden, it blends well with 'Miss Muffet' and her chartreuse background and magenta flecks.

Reds, greens, chartreuse, magenta and shades of pink blend in perfectly with my informal landscape. 
'Red Flash' and 'Miss Muffet' in back garden border
I can't think of another foliage available (maybe coleus?~ but coleus are so much more finicky~ imo) that offers so much form and texture. Caladiums' heart-shaped leaves are vivid in any setting. The veins are often prominent and provide contrasting color, the margins are yet another source for contrast in many varieties and within the leaf there are flecks, spots, bumps and puckers depending on the cultivar. Even the stems can add drama with exceptional distinction color-wise.
Side garden ~ late August
Caladium plants combine with existing shrubs and perennials to add a punch of pizzazz for the entire summer.
'White Queen' in background and 'Postman Joyner' in foreground with filtered light streaming through oak trees.
'White Queen'
Plant the bulbs behind a border to hide the stems on taller varieties.
'White Wonder'
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.
 Mix caladiums together by clumping bulbs that blend or contrast or use one variety planted in large numbers for dramatic impact.
'Postman Joyner'
 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.
 The more rain the better, as long as the soil drains well. They don't like standing water.
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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  1. I love how they are paired with the variegated liriope and flax lily. They make gorgeous borders!

  2. Dear Meems: I really love how you place the caladiums to have beautiful color splashes in the garden. I have a long over due question for you though: how do you deal with those vacant spots left by the summer caladiums when they go on dormant in the winter? I often find that I am afraid to dig to plant other plants in those spots concerning ruining those bulbs underground. I see your garden always looks so full and beautiful in any season, so you must have the answer for it :) Thanks!!!

  3. Oh your garden is looking so good! Funny that my caladiums are growing right now in our dry season, not sure if they go all the way through the wet, but we don't seem to have a dormant time here. I will have to keep an eye out.

  4. You definitely have the most beautiful collection of caladiums I've ever seen. I love the 'White Wonder' in combination with the ferns. So pretty!

  5. My hubby and I are relocating to Tampa in a few months and I am so envious of your well-earned beautiful garden! I am hopeful I can mimic at least a part of what you have accomplished!! First step is to find a location and a home! LOL Thank you for sharing your knowledge and beautiful garden!

  6. Your caladiums are looking great, Meems! Definitely spotlight worthy. Mine aren't doing too well. I thought it might be due to overcrowding but yours are doing just fine despite their number.

  7. So lovely to see beautiful garden.

  8. Lovely flowers are there.............


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway