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!