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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, July 22, 2014

Modern Art and Cheerful Container Caladiums

If you've spent any time with me here or in my garden you already know that I'm a mega-fan of Caladiums. I plant them in the landscape as edging, borders, clumps, and sweeps. Almost every one of my containers has a few of them peeking out between the flowers and plants.

A row of container pots with various Caladiums, begonias, Coleus and ferns along the walkway in my back garden. 
I prefer planting Caladium bulbs over purchasing the potted plants in garden centers. You get more *life* out of your Caladium varieties if you start with bulbs. Plus you get to pick from a vast array of sizes, colors and patterns rather than the few options available in the stores.
A wider view of the walkway and containers pictured above. Photo taken: July 18, 2014
There's nothing wrong with buying Caladium plants for sale in nurseries. But here's something to consider. The beautiful foliage that Caladiums sprout has an annual life span of about 150 days on average, then they return to their dormant state until the following spring. Some quick math will prove the bulbs that were forced in pots and for sale at stores will have less number of days (by a little) to be dancing in your garden. No biggie though. Whether you plant Caladium bulbs or purchase potted plants the important thing to remember is you don't want to be without their glorious cheery faces dancing in your summer garden.
Brand new sprout from Caladium bulbs planted July 12, 2014.
They come up out of the ground very quickly this time of year with summer rain and humidity.
When you plant bulbs versus buying plants, you get the thrill of watching that first sprout rocket out of the ground.
Brand new leaves from bulbs planted July 12, 2014. A package of mixed whites... each leaf a surprise.
Then you look the next day and wonder of wonders... there are more leaves. It's like fireworks. If you blink you might miss the entire explosion.
Red variety in front is 'Bombshell' and to the left is 'Candyland'. Behind 'Candyland' is 'Red Ruffles'.
Each spring/summer I plant a few bulbs into my existing perennial and evergreen pots. Caladiums elevate any plant combination to gorgeous and the additional summer color and texture is a no-brainer. This year I decided to be more deliberate. I planted more Caladium bulbs in containers specifically designed to highlight the splendor of Caladium foliage. Classic Caladiums sent me a number of new and new-er varieties to trial this summer. They produce high quality bulbs at their farm in Avon Park, Florida.
Spray paint your own pots to save some dollars!
For starters I spray painted some plain clay pots with 'Brilliant Blue' to mimic the more expensive blue-glazed pots I already have throughout my garden. I placed them on the open deck at our new home.
Containers were planted 4.15.14 and this photo was taken 5.17.14. Only two Caladiums leaves have started to unfurl.
Silver lace, maidenhair and bird's nest ferns along with various begonias are included in the mixture. The spilling vine is Hemigraphis 'Red Ivy' (amazing part-shade plant) and the sweet green and yellow foliage in left pot is Asystasia. Blue spray-painted Crepe Myrtle branches were *planted* in the center pot.

June 2, 2014 a few more leaves keep me encouraged as we wait.
Then I remembered (for a change) to take photos of the development as the Caladiums evolved into their best cheerful faces.
Just a few days later June 8, 2014 even more progress.
'Modern Art' is the stunning variety I used in this combination. I de-eyed them a few days before planting them. You can read more about the procedure of de-eyeing and see comparison photos of Caladiums de-eyed vs. not de-eyed here.
Also June 8, 2014
Caladiums that are de-eyed take a little bit longer to press out of the soil. But the form and habit of the plant is usually worth the wait!
June 30, 2014 time to trim the Red Ivy and where did the begonias ad ferns go?
'Modern Art' starts out with smaller lace shaped leaves and then push out some nicely large shaped ones to top off the bouquet.
June 30, 2014
The corner spot where these three pots reside is mostly shady with a spot of direct sun for about an hour midday as it shifts through the tree limbs above.

July 11, 2014 Almost 3 months since the bulbs were originally planted.
You gotta love foliage plants with a variety of color, shape and texture. These containers only need water once a week. If it rains I don't give them any extra irrigation.
Stunning close up! July 11, 2014
In each pot I popped in about 3 or 4 #1 size bulbs. I've been using Fafard Professional Formula 4P mix with superb results for my edibles and all my container plants this year. It is light and airy and yet retains moisture better than any other potting soil I've ever used.
July 22, 2014
And there you have it. The full progression through today.  Purposeful pots in the no-flower zone and who can deny the cheerful color they supply all summer long! I'm sold on 'Modern Art'. Cheers!

Have you planted your Caladium bulbs this year? If the answer is no, it's not too late. 

Happy gardening,

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  1. I love all of those tropical ferns that you can plant and enjoy. They are rarely available around here even for summer planting.

  2. How funny.I paint paint pots,too."Modern Art" seems to be a cross between Miss Moffitt and Candyland.

  3. Modern Art Caladiums are gorgeous! I love seeing what you are doing there with your new gardens. Your brick walkway is pretty too.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  4. Pretty! My husband loves Caladiums. I'm slowly moving more on-board (I just prefer flowers!). Your containers look lovely!

  5. Just gorgeous. You got me more interested in caladiums and I am so happy I bought several varieties of bulbs, they look so lovely and cheerful popping up in pots all over my back porch.


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