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I just bought some 'Kathleen' Caladium bulbs and it says to plant the pointed side up. These don't seem to have a pointed side. They are kinda irregular roundish shaped. There is something starting to grow out of them but I am unsure if this is roots or the leaves. Any ideas? I don't know which way to plant them. Thanks! Em.
Edited to add: Should I move this to another forum? Wasn't sure where to post. Sorry if I'm in the wrong place!
This is the best picture I could find of what the top of the tuber should look like http://www.dkimages.com/discover/Home/Gardening/Gardening-Basics/Propagation/Bulbous-Plants/Bulbous-Plants-17.html
It can be kind of hard to tell which side is up on anything that isn't a true bulb. I mean, which side is up on a potato? :)
I tell my mom (so she doesn't have to call me every time she wants to plant something) that when she isn't sure just plant it sideways, that way it can only be half wrong :) Even if you were to plant it upside-down, the plant usually finds a way, it just might take a little longer for it to emerge.
I know there are exceptions to everything pertaining to gardening, but typically a caladium tuber will have a slightly flatter side. This side goes down. The other side should be somewhat "rounded". If not, and you see something growing from the tuber, that is likely to be an "eye" and those should be planted pointing upward. The tuber will put off top growth (called buds or eyes) first and roots last - USUALLY. If all else fails, don't sweat it...I used to plant them the wrong way not knowing it mattered, and they always came up and looked fine. Plants tend to do their thing despite what we put them through.
plantfreak78 was sending a message at the same time I was, so I read that one after mine posted. I like the idea of planting them sideways to split the difference. Sure wish I thought of that! I learn new things here all the time.
Sure they are! Along with phototropic chemicals, they play an important role in plant growth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitropism I remember learning about why plants will grow the wrong way for a little while if you lay them on their sides for too long. And how plants don't really grow towards sunlight per se. The chemicals for growth are sensitive to light and therefore try to avoid it. This causes them to build up on the shady side of a stem and so the shady side will grow faster than the sunny side of the stem, which in turn causes the stem to bend toward the sunny side! OK, so I should have been "plantgeek". I love this stuff! Hurray five years of college! :)
plantfreak and growgirl - thank you so much for the info - an sorry about calling the tuber a bulb - duhhhh - the instructions on the package they came in talked about "bulbs" but the front of the package said tuber - I should read everything! eventually i'll learn - hopefully! I will plant them with the eyes looking up - kinda creepy thought lol This is first time I am trying to start them from tubers - should be interesting. Gotta love that pink and green color tho. Have a great day and Happy Gardening! Em.