About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Monday, March 01, 2010


If you're looking to add long lasting, low maintenance summer color to your garden...caladiums are a sure bet.

Caladiums are grown from tubers. There are several grades of tuber or bulb sizes available, but the large tubers produce plants with larger leaves.

Two types of caladiums are available...fancy leaved and lance or strap leaved. The leaves are heart shaped and come in a variety of colors and markings.

The University of Florida recommends that you plant the bulbs in mid-April in the central Florida area. They are available now in local nurseries or you can order them directly from the growers in Lake Placid. If you plant large numbers of bulbs, you will most likely want to order from a mailorder source for better pricing.

Two Lake Placid mailorder sources that begin shipping the first of March are:

It is my experience that bulbs sold in the local nurseries sell out quickly in the spring, so now's a great time to purchase the bulbs for planting next month.

Traditionally planted in the shade, these bulbs are field-grown in full sun in Lake Placid, Florida...the Caladium Capital. Most varieties perform better in shaded locations, but many varieties will tolerate full sun. The University of Florida's Caladiums as Potted & Landscaped Plants article provides good information on selecting and planting caladium bulbs, as well as a chart that specifies shade and sun varieties.

My neighbor has a large bed of all white caladiums growing in front of a dark green hedge on the side of their house. This large display of a single variety is stunning from April through October. It creates a calming and cooling effect in the landscape, and the simplicity of this area is fabulously beautiful. Everytime I drive by their house, my eyes are drawn to this area...it's just beautiful!


NanaK said...

Thanks for the links. I have used White Christmas under my oaks. They really show up nicely in otherwise dark corners. Do you think the unusual cold will have had an effect on tubers left in ground from previous years? I've always had good luck with them returning but am a little concerned for this year.

Meems said...

Great article, Susan. I ordered my caladiums back (from Caladium World)back in Janauary but won't have them shipped to me until May. I don't think the cold weather will matter to the caladiums left in the ground. It might take a little longer for them to start coming up because they require warm soil to start sprouting. Caladiums are undoubtedly the bastions of my summer garden!

Kimberly said...

I love Caladiums. I added a few last year, but haven't seen signs of them yet. Maybe it's still too early?!

ChrisC said...

I love the white Caladiums.They look so cooling in our hot,humid summers.
Great article!

ChrisC said...

i love the white cladiums!They look so cooling in our hot,humid summers.
Great article!

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks for this very useful post. Now I know why my caladiums have never done well: I've bought bags of small bulbs at Home Depot and I almost certainly planted them in the wrong place.

Susan said...

Kay...I like all the caladium colors but the white ones have such a cooling effect on the garden in summer. I think the bulbs in the ground will be fine...they were tucked away nice and cozy in the warm soil.

Meems...They are really great plants...and so easy.

Kimberly...It's probably a little too cool right now. If I were them, I'd wait for the warmer weather of spring.

Chris...Yes, the white ones really are great. They're all so pretty...it's hard to choose just one variety.

Penny...You might have better luckk finding larger bulbs at a local nursery. I just bought 4 size 2 tubers and they have quite a few leaf buds ready to sprout.

walk2write said...

I've always been partial to flowering plants and shrubs, but I'm starting to like the many different ornamental foliage plants more and more. The caladiums seem to be such great workhorses in the garden, and there are so many lovely varieties now. Thanks for a very informative post.

Rusty in Miami said...

Thanks for the tip, I have shade area that might look good with caladiums

NellJean said...

Your blog is new to me; I noticed it on Penny McCrea's blogroll and am happy to find it. I am not a Florida gardener, but most things that thrive in Tallahassee also do well here, not far to the north.

I plant my caladiums when the ground warms to 70 degrees.

Susan said...

Walk2write...They really are workhorses in the summer garden. You just can't beat the colors.

Rusty...They would look GREAT in your garden.

NellJean...Hi and welcome! Glad you found us here in Central Florida. Glad to hear that caladiums perform well in your area. They really are great.

Ronald said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RedneckRebel said...

I live in the Florida Keys and I'm able to grow Caladiums year round here and have for 15 years. We had bad cold snaps two winters in a row and the fierce winds are very dry and fried the foliage but they grew right back once the weather warmed back up. I cut back drastically on water in winter months. I like to plant impatiens in the fall among the Caladiums. I get people stopping by looking at the deep colors of the impatiens and Caladiums. This past winter my entire back deck has large plastic planters all along the deck rail. Brutal winds with cold snaps in December dried the leaves out and ripped them to shreds. I cut them all off and quit watering to about once every 10 days. I walked on my deck one day in February this year and my deck was a riot of color! I never seen them so full and vibrant. I kicked up the watering and they have gone nuts. I have them every place in the yard now. I love living where I can grow these beautiful plants year round. We are the only place in the U.S. that is zone 11. I purchased a Mixed box of bulbs from Caladium world. Think I had 100 bulbs to the box. The colors and varieties are just phenomenal!! I was hoping to get some Red Brandywines but everyone is sold out as of late May. Always next year. Thinking of ordering some Tuberoses and more Canas. My canas flower year round too.

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