I've even been interested in starting a Caladium Society but haven't found any interest from others concerning that idea. Considering how many people around the world must grow Caladiums, that is a real surprise to me!
i have tried growing caladiums..with lousy results..
i dont know if i bought cheap tubers.. to small..
i understand they need HEAT to grow..and if here in utah i just
dont have enough warm weather to get them going before
pulling them out in fall..
anyone else in the "north" :) grow caladiums sucessfully???
id love to grow them..they would fill in areas real nice below all my
tropicals.. and add some nice colour...
IMHO, to grow them in the "north", you'll have to plan to keep them as houseplants during the latter part of their growth cycle. Mine start in March and some of them are going dormant now in late August, which is about a 6 month growing season. Some varieties grow longer, up to 8 months. So if your growing period is less than 6 months, you'll need to grow them inside for the rest of the period. At first you'll just have to bring them inside for the night, as the daytime temps would still be warm enough.
Another key is fertilization. Some information on the internet is erroneous, indicating that Caladiums do not need fertilization. You do need to fertilize them if you wish to have success. I start with time release fert in the soil mix (retail name Dynamite) and supplement with 1 tsp/5 gallons water of regular Miracle Gro at least once per week. Later in the season, switch to bloom booster Miracle Gro to help grow the tuber.
My climate is probably a bit warmer than yours, and the growing season a bit longer, but I still cannot grow caladiums outdoors. It is just not warm enough early enough in the season
I start them indoors (generally in early March) in a generous container at least 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep with at least 4 bulbs evenly spaced. I use packaged potting soil and probably add a littler perlite or vermiculite and keep it moist. Packaged soil is enriched with osmocote or something similar.
It generally takes a few weeks if they are kept in a warm room; longer if the temp is below 70. When I started them on the floor where it is cooler, they took longer. Once they start poking through the soil, I put them in a window. When it is warm during the day, I take them outside and bring them inside at night. When the nights are warm, they stay outside. I keep them in containers and move them around as it suits us. It takes a couple of months before they become full plants.
The deep pink and green (Carolyn Whorton variety) came from Wallyworld and grew fine. I don't remember the size of the bulb. When you order online, they ship later, depending on your area.
It's my first time ever growing them. I bought a red one called cinnabar. It's only about 3" high. I've been growing elephant ears for years and thought it was time to give these a try, and how could you pass up on the beautiful red leaves.. I agree it would be nice to have a place to go with questions
thanks all.. i have my next yr want to try growing list.. its growing..
bamboo is one,more gingers,cordyline(ive had moderate luck so far) and
tropicals i have so far are great for foliage and size!!!
btw your portodoras are doing super lari ann!!!
thats why im thinking more cordylines and id love to see if
i can grow caladiums ..the colours are super!!!
hope more post thoughts here...
My caladiums live in the ground year round here. They usually go dormant around late October. I water them frequently but as far as fertilizer goes they just get a top dressing of chicken poo, and over the winter a good blanket of leaves that fall from the Oak trees.
Most of my Caladiums are dormant through winter but some still do put out a few leaves. A lot of them are in the ground and I've got some mixed in with Alocasias in a large pot (over half a metre wide).
This one's been growing for over a month now, from the middle of winter.
Very nice plant, that "cinnabar". Where did you get it - I've not seen any like that available around here. Mjsponies, chicken poo is fine so long as it has been composted. I like that intense red Caladium - is it a named variety?
Tropicbreeze, sometimes I have one or two Caladiums that insist on staying up in the winter - the Thai Caladiums want to but cool or cold weather kicks them back into the ground. I'm hybridizing the Thai and the Western Caladiums - I'm calling the progeny "Thaibrids". This will be my first year having Thaibrids large enough to observe their winter behaviour.
I know Agristarts has been distributing the Thai hybrids. Cinnabar is one of them. The Thai hybrids I've seen are pretty nice but I'm partial to one called Green Pearl.
LariAnn, Yup, chicken poo very well composted before use.
I've had that Red Caladium for 4-5 years now. I don't remember where I got it even, it's in a big bed with others. I think this year I'll dig around down there to see how many babies there are there.
I have a Thai that looks just like the Green Pearl except that in between the green veins is a salmon color. The most spectacular Thais are not yet on the market in the USA, but all of the Thais are more finicky than the Western Caladiums we are used to. So my goal in mixing the two types up is to get the deep and interesting colors and patterns of the Thais into more durable plants like we are used to growing.
If you want to drool all over the keyboard, go to the following link:
Thais are not very tolerant of cold. They form much smaller tubers than the Western types and they may rot away in cool or cold wet soil. So be forewarned - best to keep them in the greenhouse if you have one, or inside, out of the cold, if you want them to live from year to year.
LariAnn wrote:Another key is fertilization. Some information on the internet is erroneous, indicating that Caladiums do not need fertilization. You do need to fertilize them if you wish to have success. I start with time release fert in the soil mix (retail name Dynamite) and supplement with 1 tsp/5 gallons water of regular Miracle Gro at least once per week. Later in the season, switch to bloom booster Miracle Gro to help grow the tuber.
LariAnn, I am fascinated by caladium and have quite a few in my yard. My favorite is the still hard-to-find Pink Cloud - and of course, Galaxy. I am new to DG and am intrigued by your fertilization recommendation. I have never fertilized mine before - and now I'm going to. I want to make sure I understand your recommendation: one teaspoon regular MiracleGro per five gallons of water? Why do you reduce the rate so drastically? I think the rate on the side of the package - for most plants but certainly not all - is one Tablespoon per one gallon of water. Why do you apply it so weakly? Is it because you are applying it frequently (weekly)?
Yes, my low usage rate is correct - at this strength, you could water them with it every day, or several times per week, but since I also use controlled release fert (Nutricote/Dynamite) in my soil mix, I apply the Miracle Gro just once or twice a week. My experience has shown me that this low rate works best for plants that have the controlled release fert in the soil mix. However, if I had no fert in my soil mix, I might apply at a somewhat stronger rate. The idea is to provide a constant but mild feed to the plants, rather than periodic bursts of high concentration, which can be a shock to some plants.
Do you have a picture of the Pink Cloud? Reason is, I want to see if I have one like it. I do have the Galaxy.
Thanks for the link to the Pink Cloud picture. I do not have one of those so I think I need to get some for my work. The white veins are the real show stopper - I can see possibilities for breeding with that characteristic. I found that Caladiums 4 Less has the Pink Cloud available.
Oh yeah, I know where to find them. :) I just meant that you do not yet commonly find them in the Big Box stores where they have plenty of bags of Aaron, Blaze, Candidum, Whortons, Elise, Joyners, Hemples, etc. I hesitate to even write that they are my favorite, because I don't want to fight anyone else to get them!! LOL! I think, not taking size, health, etc. into consideration - only coloration, Pink Cloud, Galaxy and Rosebud are the most visually appealing. But that's just me - I'm sure there are folks who love the reds or whites, too. Yes, try to breed some with white veins!
Mangogirl, with regard to fertilizing, it seems that most if not all of the packages recommend a feeding that is excessive for all plants. In good gardening, less is more. We use less fertilizer and dilute more and use it less often for most plants.
A nursery may do things differently as they are in the business of selling plants (and fertilizer). We never want to burn tender roots with too much fertilizer, either.
LariAnn, I love what you do. If it does not warm up here quickly, I'll have to move to make room for the plants. Last year's caladiums, which have been in pots since I last year, are all growing, and the Carolyn Whorton is going to bloom (under fluorescent light). The Galaxy needs its own zip code as the leaves are about 10-12 inches long.
This year's new bulbs have mostly been planted, and they are also starting to grow. I just received a couple of Thai Hot Lips that arrived as plants even though I was expecting bulbs. I'll wait till they acclimate to my home temperatures before anything else. Since they are obviously finnicky, I'll treat them with kid gloves.
This winter was unusual in that the Caladiums, by and large, never went fully dormant. I had a few leaves on many of them all winter long, then when the night temps really warmed up, they all shot out leaves about a month early. The fert has really made a difference, as most of the plants are throwing extra-large leaves and many blooms. Last year I did so many Caladium crosses that I was overloaded with, perhaps, thousands of seedlings. So this year I'm being much more selective in my breeding so I don't get overwhelmed.
So far, the Thaibrids are behaving just like regular Western Caladiums, which is exactly what I was hoping for. That means that the unique colors and patterns I've developed will be on plants as easy to grow as the ones everyone is used to.
Great photos, interesting results—all of them. The Pink American Thai is especially interesting, not a strap leaf, if I've got the lingo correct. Like them all, but I absolutely love the Moon Mystique. I am sure you are patience personified. Glad you have a background in botany. How long have you been propagating caladiums?
I started hybridizing them about 4 years ago, but have been growing them for longer. Once I got wind of the Thai Caladiums, I knew I had to add Caladiums to my breeding programs. Last year I did crosses with one I call Dark Chocolate Thai, and that is no joke - it is about the color of dark chocolate! Just wait until you see the progeny of that cross. I also worked with one I call the Black Thai, which is about the color of licorice. These progeny are all still too small to really show their colors off. Some of the names I'm thinking about should give you clues, like "Pink Blizzard", "Red Nebula", "Strawberry n' Lime", and "Spring Flurry".
I ordered from McClure & Zimmerman, and they were out of Thai Beauty, so they're sending Dark Chocolate. They already sent 2 Thai Hot Lips, and I'm sort of anxious to see what they become. They're in 3-inch pots and fairly delicate, so I might just be keeping them inside till they're adults. In the meantime at least 3 of the newly planted containers with Fannie Munson, Miss Muffet and Gingerland have all reared their heads , and a few others will be popping up soon and they are all looking pretty healthy. The Thai plants have a few leaves, mostly small, and that's it.
Do you breed other aroids? I got some Hilo Beauties, and apparently they are propagated by tissue culture, so I guess they would resemble the parent plant. Another curiosity purchase... This morning it was 34 degrees, still too cold for my friends to play outside.
Oh, yes, I've been breeding other aroids since the late 1970s. I started with Alocasia, then expanded into the big 'tree" Philodendrons. In the last 5 years or so I've started doing Anthuriums, especially the large ones that have some cold resistance (not actual hardiness). Then I started Caladiums and last year I began with Typhoniums due to some hybrids done by a friend. His were very pretty but small - I saw them being large, so I went ahead and did the necessary crosses. This year I should have red spotted, silver veined, red spots plus silver veins, and two different leaf shapes (palmate and somewhat heart-shaped).
I am fascinated by your work with caladiums! So interesting! The photos you posted are gorgeous. I especially love "Pink American Thai". Will there be a time in the near future that you will be willing to sell/trade/share? I would just love to try some of those in my garden. I live in Jacksonville and have caladium here for quite a few years. I couldn't believe it this year when they started popping up in February. I usually don't see them until April, so that was fun. I've grown just about every variety in my yard and the best was a few years ago when at end of season, CaladiumBulbs4Less sold 200+ bulbs in a large Flat Rate box on eBay for $19.99. They were mixed bulbs and I really boosted my caladium when I purchased two of those boxes. Haven't seen that deal since, LOL!
I would love to hear more about your actual pollination, seed collecting and germination routine. Do you ever have seeds to sell/trade/share? I would love to know more. This is so interesting!
I'm eager to hear how your purchase from McClure & Zimmerman works out. With regard to fertilizing, my routine is to use less fertilizer, dilute more and use it MORE often. I fertilize very, very weakly about once a week for plants in the ground. I add an extremely dilute fertilizer to every watering for potted plants.
I got my Thais from a local wholesale nursery that got theirs from a tissue culture lab. I'm due to check in with them and see if they have anything new I can add to my breeding collection.
I've learned some things about Caladium pollination that are not mentioned anywhere on the internet. In fact, some of the information out there is not exactly accurate. As far as seeds go, Caladium seeds are so tiny I don't think they would survive shipping. Germination is the easiest part. I wrote an article about the procedures I used prior to about a year ago, when i learned some new information. My Dave's Garden article about Caladium breeding is at:
I would love to see a forum dedicated to caladiums!!!
LariAnn, You're doing some great work!! I'm working with a professor at Oklahoma State University in regards to crossing some of the different Thai's with the domestic varieties we grow. It's exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing some results soon!!
cathy166 - I have about 50 different Thai's in my collection and they're doing great. They're in the same environment as all my others.
Time and money permitting, I'll be selecting a few of my best Caladiums for placing into tissue culture. The Pink American Thai and Moon Mystique will be up there high on the list, along with a few others I haven't shown pictures of yet. One that is still small is a translucent white and a few others have translucent colors - I call them my "stained glass" Caladiums.
LariAnn, I have been following you for a long time. I bookmarked your stained glass caladiums at least 4-5 years ago! Read every word of how you pollinate your caladiums. Will probably be asking for more help!
The newest I've learned about pollinating Caladiums is that 1) Caladium blooms are fragrant when ready to pollinate or when shedding pollen and 2) Optimum time for pollination is early evening (8 to 10 PM). This is when the bloom first opens. If you don't do it then, you have to do it a day or two before the bloom opens. The morning following the evening the bloom first opens is too late.
They are all in pots so I can move them around if necessary. The few that I have planted in the ground are in Air-Pots for ease of removal when dormant and to prevent escapees. All new hybrid seedlings are kept in greenhouses for at least one year after germination to give me control over conditions such as temperature and moisture levels.
Love this spotty pink one with a dark grey/blue leaf hue I scored at HD last year. LariAnn, did you ID it for us last summer as one you've used for breeding? Pretty sure I tagged it but the tag is lost. It's got three flowers (one's over, two coming). Pardon the hard water spots on the leaves . .
This one disappeared abruptly once the nights cooled last fall, but some of my white ones - Candidum and White Christmas - kept a few leaves right through winter. Guess they don't really need a dormant period like other bulbs? They're all coming on like gangbusters now.
Can't wait to see the Stained Glass varieties. They sound wonderful. Pink American Thai and Easter Confetti are fabulous, too.
The spotty pink one with dark grey/blue leaf is called "Jungle Rain" - it was the first Thai Caladium that I did crosses with using Western Caladiums. The Moon Mystique is one of the progeny of my first cross with that plant. This year I have selfed the Jungle Rain in order to determine the parentage. This will show me the dominant parentage in the progeny - there may be something in the previous parents that i might be able to use in other crosses. In the past I've discovered some interesting "previous parents" showing up in F2 or F3 crosses. In case you don't know about things like that, "F2" means "filial generation 2" and "F3" means "filial generation 3".
I have a variant or sport of the Jungle Rain that is hot speckled pink with black veins. I'm still waiting for that one to bloom so I can do my thing . . .
Ooo, that hot pink/black veins sounds really cool. Lots of scope for combinations with these interesting Thai crosses, huh?
Thanks for the ID on Jungle Rain!
This pot was another score on the markdown rack at Lowe's. There are obviously two different varieties in here, but the black one really catches my eye. Could it be the one you're calling "Black Thai" ? It's really almost completely black, with just a few red flashes on the leaf edges. It's not terribly vigorous, but considering how sad it looked when I got it, it's coming along!
So I had to settle for this one I found at Lowe's...the leaf on the right has about a 10 in. leaf span...
I already had most of the ones they were offering. I'm hoping they get some of the Tai's in. I've been hearing reports that they may be hardy indeed for my zone.
I ordered 3 Thai "hot Lips" and 1 Thai "Dark Chocolate." They arrived around the end of March in 2 separate orders from McClure & Zimmerman around the end of March. They were in pots that are about 4" in diameter and 3 inches high in a very loose soil. They each had a leaf that was about 1-1.5 inches long. I figured that since the shipping temp was a bit questionable, I would treat them with kid gloves. I left them in their little pots and kept them moist (and warm) with fluorescent lighting. The existing leaf on each subsequently dried up, and now 3 of the 4 have new growth.
So, do I take them out and repot or wait for their new growth to fill out some? They are in a very loose soil.
With small plants such as you have, I would wait a bit for their new growth to fill out some. I'm fortunate in that I have two full grown Hot Lips (one bloomed and I crossed a Western Caladium with it) and a full grown Dark Chocolate (of course, I crossed Westerns with it this year as well as last year). You should also consider giving your plants a weak fertilization of Miracle Gro at least once per week (1 tbs per 5 gallons water, equivalent). I also add Superthrive to all my soluble fertilizer mixes. With that loose soil, be sure they don't dry out between waterings.
The Thais might not survive in the ground in your area - they are pretty intolerant of cold weather (even soil temps in the 50s or 40s). That's one reason I'm mixing them up with the hardier or more durable Western Caladiums. My Thaibrids are better suited to the same conditions that the familiar Caladiums tolerate.
If you would like a chuckle, picture a chubby lady who planted many, many caladium bulbs indoors in March. Now that the weather is warmer, I have taken them outdoors. However, when the weather forecast is for a cool night, I run outside and stuff all the caladiums into the car for protection. When it stays colc and rainy, they ride around with me all day, some heat one, of course.
Carol, my McClure & Zimmerman plants arrived, and with lots of attention, they all seem to be growing, even the one that looked dead. They arrived with foliage that was not more than an inch long, and the new leaves they are producing are about six inches long.
LariAnn, I planted three Hilo Beauty things, which I thought were bulbs with one Miss Muffett Caladium. Miss Muffett, which is still indoors, is doing well, with no sign of the Hilo Beauties. When a plant grows from tissue culture, do you plant the material as a bulb, keep it very moist and warm as Caladiums? The material I planted looked like a little log, about 2.5 inches long if memory serves. They were approximately 3/8 of an inch in diameter, a little thicker towards the center. Since they did not sprout, I chose to leave them inside where there was little variation in temperature and consistent light conditions. On the plus side, I love Miss Muffett.
As far as I know, I've never gotten a TC plant in bulb form before. Every TC plant I've gotten has been a growing plant. The "logs", IMHO, are corms of the Hilo Beauty. I would keep them moist (not wet) and warm and see if they sprout - they should, eventually.
Went out of town for a week, and came back to a big, black bud on my Black Thai. This winter I'm definitely going to have to split up these two, the white one is suffering a bit from being crowded in with the black one. The latest leaf on the black one has green and red "stained glass" effects.
Jungle Rain has some white spots on it now, too. It might be getting too much light . . ?
Despite their formerly unwholesome appearance, all four seem to be doing well, producing a much larger leaf. I keep Caladiums in containers of all sorts, and I think I will keep the TCs indoors where they are under my constant control. I put a few drops of liquid MG in a quart of water, and spray the surface to keep it damp. If and when they show more promise, they will be moved into the same container.
The plants that are outdoors seem to be doing well, starting to fill out and some have giant leaves (Brandywine). LariAnn, the Gingerlands and Miss Muffetts and I guess some of the others are sending up their spikes. Since I do not breed, is it appropriate to remove them as they start to grow?
As it has taken quite a while to warm up here (at night), the Caladium containers have been mostly in sun, which does affect their coloring. At this point Fannie Munson and Brandywine are in full color, and White Queen is quite red. They will change when I move them below the shade tree and to the east side of the house that only gets morning sun. They still get a good spectrum of light even in the shade, but the direct sun can burn their leaves. It takes forever for the soil in the shaded areas to warm, and thus they usually rot if not in containers.
I'm pretty jealous of you Floridians. The large stores like HD an Lowe's do not sell many Caladiums up north, and I've yet to see a Thai any place but online. I think this is the first year I've seen bulbs at Costco, and yes, I snatched them up as soon as I saw them.
Thanks, Marcia. I've searched a bunch of sites and White Queen was my choice as the closest, even though it basically has no white at the moment. I'll find it a spot in the shade and see what happens.
Just went back and read Lari Ann's article on Caladium breeding. I'm going to try pollenating that plant's flower, if I can get some pollen from the flower on my black one. It's open now, but we've had so much rain today I can't see any pollen. Hope it's not all washed away.
So what d'you think we'll get by crossing (what might be) White Queen with (what might be) Black Thai?
Anything is worth a try. I have never done that, and I know the window of pollination is small, but LariAnn does have lots of good reading on it. The only others I grow that look anything like that are Zantedeschias (calla lilies), and their blooms last quite a while and are recognizable as flowers.
I'm guessing the seeds are a fine powder. I hope you can encourage them to be open at the same time. I look forward to the offspring and your experience. Have you done other breeding? Truth is, some things are just fun to try!
Never done it before, just want to give it a shot since I do seem to have two flowers at the right stage now. The black one is already open, but I can't see any pollen. Letting it dry out and will try . . The colored one is not open yet, but Lari Ann's article says if it's already open it's too late to pollenate. Seems counter-intuitive to me. How the heck do these plants "do it" in nature then? But, she's the authority and I'm going with what she says to do.
Pic #1 is Miss Muffet
Pic #2 looks like an immature White Queen- the red bleeds out of the veins and the leaf will have the pinkish hue to it. The leaves will turn more white as the plant matures
Pic #3 &4 is Arno Nehrling
A few words about Caladium breeding. Caladium blooms open initially in the early evening of the day. At that time, they are warm and also fragrant. That is the very best time to pollinate them. If you wait until the next day, the bloom will still be open but will no longer be receptive to pollen. The evening of that day, the pollen will drop. So you see the pollinators are going to be evening or nighttime insects as that is the time when all the action happens at these flowers. I found that if you pollinate a day or two before the bloom actually opens (you have to cut open the lower part of the spathe to gain access to the female flowers), you can get success that way, but if you don't do it the evening the bloom first opens (i.e. wait until the next day), you are too late.
Caladium seeds are about the size of a pinhead, but are not powdery at all. They come in white berries that are loved by ants. Be warned - the ants will steal the ripe berries if you don't protect them somehow.
Thanks, Lari Ann. I kind of doubt that I was successful, because although I did find a little pollen in the one open flower, it had fallen down into the bottom of the spathe. Might not have been viable.
I did open the bottom of the other flower before it opened by itself and applied the pollen using the little clean pipe cleaner I had collected it with. It came out with some stringy sticky liquid on it.
Anyway, we'll wait and see, and I'll certainly report if it looks like I'm getting berries. The mother plant is inside the pool cage, so not too many ants.
If the cross worked, you will know in a couple weeks as the female flowers will show noticeable swelling. Even a week into it, you should see signs if you were successful. From pollination to ripe berries takes 5 to 6 weeks. If you think you see signs of swelling, post a pic and I'll confirm - I've seen so many of them that I can be nearly 100% sure of my assessment.
I just got a new (for me) Thai Caladium called "Pink Charm"; it has a bloom just a day or so from opening. My Galaxy has a bloom that just dropped pollen last night, so I went ahead and did the deed last night. I have 2 to 3 days grace for "premature" pollination so I'm hoping this one will work. Many of the crosses I did this Spring (over 25) have resulted in pots full of tiny seedlings. it'll be next year before I can see some colors.
Fly ahead 2 months: I hope everyone is having a good Caladium season. Everything seemed to flourish here this summer in spite of the sunny conditions. LariAnn,I'm sure you've had a BUSY summer.
I added 3 Hilo Beauty corms to Miss Muffetts, all planted at the same time. One one Hilo Beauty grew, but maybe I should have planted them horizontally instead of vertically. She did not start growing until 2 months after Miss Muffett. I believe that pot was a favorite of the chipmunk wars, and additional bulbs may have been eaten. They may be cute, but they have been rampant this year and destroyed much.
Does anyone know if HB goes into dormancy like Caladiums? Soon it will be time to pull them in as the nights will be going into the 50s and the soil will cool.
Many of my Caladiums, having had an early start, are going semidormant already. Hybridizing continues, as I've got the Philodendron crosses ripening up and a late Alocasia pod ripening in the next few weeks. I even did a late summer Thai-Western cross (Pink Charm x Galaxy). Hilo Beauty does not naturally go dormant as Caladiums do, but can or is forced down by temps being too cold. If kept warm, it just keeps on going.
This year the Caladiums I had done last year grew very nicely, but I did not do any new Caladium crosses this Spring. Nearly all my crosses were with Philodendrons in the same group as is the "P. selloum". I had so much success there that I have, perhaps, thousands of seedlings growing and many more ripening seedheads.