Just bought caladiums & colocasia

Centreville, MD

Our Lowes and Walmart stores have put out their stock of boxed summer-flowering bulbs and I was lucky enough to get there before they all got snapped up! Now, I know I can't plant them outside, but don't have a greenhouse or bright-enough light inside to start them growing. Any ideas on how to store/keep them dormant until it gets warm enough outside - mid April is our last frost date. Sorry if this question has come up before - please direct me to the answer? Thanks for any and all help.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I see you mentioned caladiums and calocasias, neither of which are considered summer flowering, but both are tropical plants. What you have are bulbs, correct? You can plant them in a container indoors now. They need to be above 60 degrees but the potted bulbs do not need light. Quite frankly, make sure you label them or you will think you have a pot of dirt.

Depending on which caladium you have, the bulbs can take any amount of time from one to two months or more till you see it sprouting. It also depends on the quality and size of the bulb. To put them outside, the ground soil needs to be at least 60 degrees, so even if the air warms to that temperature, putting caladiums in cold soil will most likely cause them to rot. You can leave them in the package (indoors) until you are ready to plant outdoors, or your can start indoors. Since I don't have the best luck starting outdoors, I start them indoors and make sure they are watered. If you mix different types, they grow at different rates. I like containerizing because I can move them around.

The first is Gingerland. The second is Miss Muffett with a Hilo Beauty Alocasia that I would not get again. Third is White Queen and something else. The more sunlight White Queen gets, the darker pink the veins become. These were taken July 7, 2012. I think the fourth is Brandywine, taken in August. The fifth is more of a closeup of White Queen, also taken in August.

Caladiums do bloom, but are not considered flowering plants because their foliage is so showy and their blooms are insignificant. You will learn a lot from LariAnn on the Aroids Forum. In short, they send up a stalk (spathe) and it opens with tiny, tiny blooms.

For a good show, make sure you plant enough bulbs per container. Your planting zone is probably warmer than mine, so you will most likely have a longer growing season. Other bulbs that would probably do well for you (in ground) are calla lilies (zantedeschia) and they have a very showy. They are also called Arum lilies and are aroids. Some are tender, but many are winter hardy in your area. The "bloom" lasts about 3 weeks, and if you alternate the planting, you can have a longer season.

Don't forget to check the Aroids Forum. Lots of interesting and educational info. You get a lot of bank for your buck when it comes to caladiums.

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Centreville, MD

Thanks for the info about how long it takes for these FOLIAGE :-) plants to get started in the spring. (Of course, I was using the term "spring flowering bulbs" to designate a class of usually tender bulbs [even though many of them are not even bulbs but tubers, corms, rhizomes, etc!] that the big box stores put out for sale about now, or later, I guess, up your way.) So I will get them started and put their labels in the pots too - I got C.candidum and "Pink Passion." The latter is nowhere to be found on Google Images except the lone Lowes photo(which is where I bought them). Also TU for directing me to the Aroids discussion group. Their Konjac fixation is something else - too funny!

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

If you check out bulbs from caladium growers, you may be able to match up "Pink Passion." Sometimes the label is from one grower only, packaged and sold to big boxes stores for promotion. Truth is, colors are somewhat subjective because growers will show a photo of a particular plant, and the same bulbs look some or very much different. Plants that produce foliage in the shade may turn out to be shade-only plants or create a strong color in full or partial sun.

Last summer I mixed dwarf and large leaf plants in the same container, but it wasn't really the best idea. We live and learn. I hope you have lots of fun with them.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Our local Costco got in an order of spring bulbs this week. While I usually get the biggest and best cladiums at Caladiumbulbs4less,com, Costco had about 4 or 5 varieties if you are so inclined. Now I'll have the fun of seeing if thee Florida Sweethearts look anything like the ones I have ordered. As I mentioned, there are lots of variables in the final product, mostly light and temperature, but caladiums need a little light feeding from time to time.

Lake Placid, FL(Zone 9b)

I have to chime in here. For the Big Box stores to put Caladium bulbs and Colocasia bulbs on there shelves in MD in Feb. IS Absolutely Ridiculous!!! They sure do not do us any favors as an industry!!!!
First of all they're generally dinky little bulbs but more importantly they are on the shelves just wayyyy to early!!!!
Folks see the bulbs on the shelves and buy them and some do but a lot DO NOT, read the planting instructions!!
Planting a caladium bulb in cold soil is a death sentence for the bulb and for folks that don't know that get a bad taste in there mouth for caladiums thinking they're hard to grow!!! That's the farthest thing from the truth!!
The absolute key to growing caladiums successfully IS warm soil, the warmer the better!!!!
If anyone ever has a question in regards to caladiums please don't hesitate to email me at CaladiumBulbs4Less@earthlink.net
The day I know everything about them will be the day I'm pushing up caladiums, I don't like Daisy's....lol.... but I do know quite a bit.....

Also, I've never heard of Pink Passion but that doesn't mean a thing!! It is not uncommon for a variety to be called different names!!


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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

They are half the size of your bulbs, Bill.

If I did not start caladiums indoors, they would take forever. My shaded ground barely gets above 55 before the end of June.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Bill I sent you an email in January and left a phone message, but never got any replies.

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