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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can you grow these?

Can you grow Caladiums? I can't.

About five years ago I shot this opening photo (actually a slide). I was in awe of these beautiful Caladiums (top plant) and wanted to grow them here. Although I've tried for several years, it was no use, I'd kill them off quickly, not even a month or two of enjoyment before they died.

Of course being such an excellent gardener (tongue in cheek here) I assumed that Caladiums are impossible to grow. It certainly couldn't because I couldn't grow them. It must be that they don't like the growing conditions where I live. Yes, that's it, they just won't grow here in south Huntington and it's nothing that I've been doing wrong.

Earlier this week I saw the most luscious clump of Caladiums ever. This clump was bigger and better than anything I'd seen at the local arboretums. This clump was growing in a container, right up my very street, at my friends Gianna and Richard's house. Harumph...I guess some people know how to grow Caladiums.

Here you can see the whole container, isn't it a beauty? Luckily for me Rich was there and told me the one big secret. "Caladiums" said Rich, "are almost aquatic plants". Meaning that they need to be wet at all times.

Ah ha! That's the problem then, I had them in regular containers that dried out. Now I'm going to try them again but in a container without holes in the bottom and see if they will look this beautiful for me.

Just to prove it's not a fluke, here's another fantastic container at Gianna and Rich's. It too looks perfect which goes to show, Caladiums do grow here in south Huntington, New York.

Can you grow Caladiums?


Nicol said...

I can't grow them either. :(

lola said...

Pics are lovely. I thought they would grow anywhere. So easy. I have them everywhere--mostly shade, do get some morning sun. I have mine in the garden. I find they do better as containers do dry out faster. I have both ways. I think they are a pretty plant for their leaves. There are so many different color combinations I would like to have some of each. lol

ammaree said...

Hi, i live in central east florida along the coast and we grow them in semi-moist to dry conditions. most of us have had bulbs for years and forget exactly where they are until we are planting a winter bed or spring bed and find these bulbs. i am a local horticultralist, the How To Gardener and would suggest you have a few holes in your container for root areation. soil without areation is mud and most root system develop rot. perhaps the container idea works because it also holds heat and moisture.

Louise -Cedarthorn Gdns said...

Melanie - I've had problems with Caladiums too. I planted mine directly in the ground and after everything died out I was shocked to see new leaves forming so they are surviving. I will try the container without drainage too & see what happens. I came home from the Texas National determined to try them as I had seen some fabulous lined out ones in a couple tour gardens. I am also going to try to bring mine in to my sun room this winter & see what happens. Thanks for posting your findings... Louise

Gail said...

No I can't grow them and gave up on trying years ago!
Some plants are meant for other gardens! I think they love Florida!

garden girl said...

They seem to like it here Melanie, although I don't have any pots of them that large. There must be a lot of bulbs in those containers! I overwintered some last year, and while they started out very small this spring, the newer foliage is much larger and more showy.

All mine are planted in shade or part sun in pots with drain holes. I use a professional mix potting soil. I do keep them moist but not wet at all times, and they seem to like lots of fertilizer. I use a stinky organic granular fertilizer on 'em.

Last year when I brought them in, they kept some small leaves all winter. I probably watered them too much and some of the bulbs rotted. I think they need to be on the drier side when they're mostly dormant. Except for the ones that rotted over the winter, I haven't killed any of them (yet.) They seem pretty easy to grow to me, I just need to find out the best way to overwinter them.