Caladiums - My new obsession if I can get them to grow.

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Dave Brown
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Caladiums - My new obsession if I can get them to grow.

Post by Dave Brown » Sat May 21, 2011 11:57 pm

While on the EPS visit to Kew today I spied a huge Caladium in the undergrowth in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Wow, what a plant, and thought I must look for one of those :wink:
2011-05-21 14-28-48  Planted Caladiums.jpg
On the way out we popped into the shops, and I was not expecting to buy anything, then out of the blue. Some stranger picked up an Ensete from outside on the window display. I t was so dark it looked like a Montbeliardii, so I went to investigate. It wasn't a 'Montbeliardii', just a very well grown Maurelii. While outside the front, there they were. Caladiums icon_thumright One was almost the same as the one I pic'd earlier icon_thumright and another was white with emerald veins. I had yo have these two but they were £12 each, so that ruled out getting all 5 on display :roll:

Anyway here are the 2 x I bought icon_thumright
2011-05-21 23-10-38 Red Green Caladium.jpg
2011-05-21 23-15-24 White Caladium.jpg
Anyone else grown of growing these :?:

New territory for me :wink:
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Troppoz
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Troppoz » Sun May 22, 2011 1:31 am

Lovely arent they Dave and come in a huge range of colours and leaf shapes. I have many in my garden in Darwin, they are very hardy butters in the tropics and are seasonal, growing in the rainy season and dying back to a tuber in the dry season. Despite their tropical origins you can have good success in temperate areas if you follow a few rules.

My mother grows them in frosty Canberra (she had -7c last week) and has good success both in pots indoors and outdoors as well as in the ground. Of course Canberra has comparitively hot summers so her growing season is much longer than yours but heres how she does it;

Plant in a well drained porous mix, as they can be prone to fungal attacks, and dont over water, especially in cool weather. Using to much nitrogenous fertiliser isnt a good idea since you tend to loose the coloured markings and end up with a washed out green colour to the leaves. Give a bright light but not necessarily full sun as once again this can wash oout the colours. Of course British sunshine is an order of magnitude weaker than Australian sunshine so experiment but if you do notice the colours becoming washed out perhaps move to less direct sun.

Once the weather starts to cool reduce watering and allow the leaves to die back. This is essential to long terms success as it allows the tuber to absorb all of the nutrients gained from the leaves and results in larger healthier plants next season. My mother had grown some indoors through the winter and though they remained leafy the plants eventually lost their vigour and died after a couple of years. When I had a look at them the tubers were almost non-existant so they definately need a dormant period. The plants that she allowed to dry out came big with great vigour each spring.

To overwinter she would either lift the tubers and store somewhere indoors cool and dry for the winter or else leave them in the pot and put the pot somewhere protected but dry, commencing watering in the warm spring weather. Interestingly she has also had some tubers survive in the garden over winter, reemerging in the spring but not long term. The winter wetness definately is not to their liking.

One other thing is that the strap leaved varieties arent very hardy so I wouldnt waste precious money on them. Even in Darwin they failed to impress me. Stick to the classic aroid type leafed varieties and you should have good success.

Good luck and enjoy, they are smashing plants!
Sean


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by redsquirrel » Sun May 22, 2011 7:23 am

i have never seen them before until yesterday,they were bigger than your pic suggests and very impressive. what i found even more impressive was the weather there all day,it was like a baking hot july august day.great to spend some time with you and Simba there icon_thumleft and all the other eps members of course. as for your burger,that was robbery but looked very nice
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Chad » Sun May 22, 2011 7:51 am

I can't grow them here; too cool in summer. In Kent they did well in only the hottest summers [1976 did well]. They really need glass heat in the UK.

Good luck with them, well grown they are stunners.

Please prove me wrong and grow prize examples out doors!

Chad.


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Steph » Sun May 22, 2011 7:51 am

Yep caladiums are amazing, never managed to keep one alive long but you are tempting me to try again.
Maybe summer bedding, they need humidity which was my pitfall.
Keep the corms when they die back & try again the next year.

Wish we'd made it to Kew yesterday, sounds like you all had a brill good time!


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by redsquirrel » Sun May 22, 2011 7:58 am

it was great Steph,they even had some interesting agaves/aeoniums for sale this time. icon_thumright
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Simba » Sun May 22, 2011 8:59 am

Steph wrote: Wish we'd made it to Kew yesterday, sounds like you all had a brill good time!
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day trip Steph, topped off by coming home with a Trachycarpus Princeps and Cycas Circinalis.... icon_thumleft

Would have come home with more if I could have sneaked it past Kew security.... :wink:



I have always seen various Caladiums for sale in the indoor plants section at Wyevales, B&Q too if I remember rightly, but never to the size that Kew had on display.

And following Troppoz's guide, I think you might have a degree of success here Dave...


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Dave Brown » Sun May 22, 2011 9:13 am

Thanks for the wealth of info Sean icon_thumright I must admit I would have been very tempted to keep them growing overwinter as they are such showy plants. Also the nitrogen, as I tend to give the leafy plants extra nitrogen for BIGGER leaves.

I'm surprised about sunlight, as all the info I have read suggests it is a No-no. It will be so much easier if they can take early morning/late evening sunshine, as although we are not quite the 'land of the midnight sun', the sun rises in the NE and sets in the NW in summer, making all day shade a bit of a problem outside.

I wasn't initially sure that the plant at Kew was a Caladium, as Red pointed out, the leaves were huge and far bigger than I have seen on this type of plant before. Just to confirm what I was looking for I used the 10x zoom to full advantage. Zooming in on the label about 25 feet away, and this confirmed that it is a Caladium bicolour, but there is probably a variety name under the compost there somewhere. John P was intregued at this use of the camera :lol: but I'm so long sighted, I use it a lot to get a close up view icon_thumright .
2011-05-21 14-29-26 Caladium Label.jpg
This morning while still marvelling at the new plants, I noticed the white one has a flower about to open. A bit of a bonus really icon_thumright
2011-05-22 08-44-18 White Caladium flower.jpg
Just one further question is about humidity. I guess they want high humidity, if possible, in the growing season? Just seen your reply Steph, so as I suspected

Just counted and the red one at least 13 growth points, and the white one 7 :wink:

Chad, I suppose needing shade, and high temps are a bit mutually exclusive in most the UK, although I have some of the highest summer max, I'm a lot cooler than London at night.

Red, That burger was quite something else :lol: Not only was it by far the most expensive burger I have ever bought, @ £9.50, it was also easily the biggest at about 8ozs. and did come with sautee pots, tomatos and onions. Certainly kept me going all day. Irony was, my wife had decided on a BBQ in the evening, but following a broken down van on the elevated section of the M4, it was too late by the time I got home :roll: so had the burgers cooked under the grill. I don't think my doctor would have been too impressed with my diet yesterday :lol:
Best regards
Dave
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Scott Radford » Sun May 22, 2011 9:15 am

Troppoz wrote:Lovely arent they Dave and come in a huge range of colours and leaf shapes. I have many in my garden in Darwin, they are very hardy butters in the tropics and are seasonal, growing in the rainy season and dying back to a tuber in the dry season. Despite their tropical origins you can have good success in temperate areas if you follow a few rules.

My mother grows them in frosty Canberra (she had -7c last week) and has good success both in pots indoors and outdoors as well as in the ground. Of course Canberra has comparitively hot summers so her growing season is much longer than yours but heres how she does it;

Plant in a well drained porous mix, as they can be prone to fungal attacks, and dont over water, especially in cool weather. Using to much nitrogenous fertiliser isnt a good idea since you tend to loose the coloured markings and end up with a washed out green colour to the leaves. Give a bright light but not necessarily full sun as once again this can wash oout the colours. Of course British sunshine is an order of magnitude weaker than Australian sunshine so experiment but if you do notice the colours becoming washed out perhaps move to less direct sun.

Once the weather starts to cool reduce watering and allow the leaves to die back. This is essential to long terms success as it allows the tuber to absorb all of the nutrients gained from the leaves and results in larger healthier plants next season. My mother had grown some indoors through the winter and though they remained leafy the plants eventually lost their vigour and died after a couple of years. When I had a look at them the tubers were almost non-existant so they definately need a dormant period. The plants that she allowed to dry out came big with great vigour each spring.

To overwinter she would either lift the tubers and store somewhere indoors cool and dry for the winter or else leave them in the pot and put the pot somewhere protected but dry, commencing watering in the warm spring weather. Interestingly she has also had some tubers survive in the garden over winter, reemerging in the spring but not long term. The winter wetness definately is not to their liking.

One other thing is that the strap leaved varieties arent very hardy so I wouldnt waste precious money on them. Even in Darwin they failed to impress me. Stick to the classic aroid type leafed varieties and you should have good success.

Good luck and enjoy, they are smashing plants!
Quality info Troppoz

That's the kind of thing this site is so great for icon_thumleft

Scott :D
Kind Regards icon_thumleft

Scott


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by brendan » Sun May 22, 2011 9:58 am

In will giles book he advises growing them in pots so if the weather turns cold they can be brought in side.


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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Troppoz » Sun May 22, 2011 9:59 am

Thanks for the wealth of info Sean icon_thumright
No worries at all Dave! Ill be interested to find out how you go. As for humidity it doesnt seem to be a problem for my mother in inland Australias very dry summers. I think as long as you ensure that the soil stays moist but not wet low humidity shouldnt be such an issue.

The varieties youve got are very showy, but if you ever come across the natural form you should find it a lot hardier than the fancy types. It is the form that almost becomes a problem in my garden and is the only variety that came back after winter in the ground in Mums garden in Canberra.

I thought I had some pics of my Darwin garden including caladiums on my laptop but seems Ive deleted them somewhere along the line, but I did find this pic from a google search so you know the variety I refer to. They call it 'Florida Clown' but I have never heard it referred to as that. Old lady gardeners around town always call it 'painters palette', but like I said it the natural form rather than a cultivar.

Keep us informed of their progress!

Sean
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by redsquirrel » Sun May 22, 2011 10:16 am

Sean,you can easily see how it got its name icon_thumright
something else that one.
Dave,i got caught in that mularkey too ,after an hour i got to it,what did we travel,half a mile if that?? there was a black audi parked in the back of it too so a double whammy for the fun of it.
there was some scary lane changing going on after that between 4 and 6,was easier getting a car round a banger track
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Dave Brown » Sat May 28, 2011 11:39 pm

Been doing a bit of research on these, and as usual you can buy bulk and cheap in the US but due to problems importing from outside the EU, no-one seems to agree to sell into the EU, and the EU being useless, don't produce these. :roll:

Some are sold as able to take full sun, others are for shade only SEE THIS WEBSITE for what we can't get here :roll:

The thing is that if they can take sun, we will have warmer conditions for them to thrive :wink:
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Re: My new obsession if I can get them to grow - Caladiums

Post by Troppoz » Tue May 31, 2011 7:38 am

Dave the two varieties you have I grow in my Darwin garden in a fair amount of sun, some clumps in full sun. Taking that into account I think it would be a safe bet that they would take UK sun. Maybe you could consider dividing the clumps and try them in different positions and see how they fare?

Sean
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Re: Caladiums - My new obsession if I can get them to grow.

Post by Dave Brown » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:54 am

Been trawling the web again, and one supplier will ship internationally, but only in multiples of 1000 bulbs per type. A few more than I need :lol: They confirm a low nitrogen fert quoting 5-10-10. Seems Chempak No8 is a 12.5-25-25 which is the same ratio, so I will keep an eye open for that. Aslo say it is good for Cacti :wink:

Th American websites say they need 70f (21C) to grow and to bring in when nights are below 60f (15C). No month here has a min of 15C, so it may be a case of bringing into the conservatory at night, as I used to with Musa Siam Ruby :wink: I think these will do well in cities though where temps are held up by the heat island effect.

Had to move out of the conservatory yesterday as was 35C with humidity below 20%. At least it was 44% minimum outside.

Kept in shade for the time being until I can experiment with more than one of each type, as I don't want to fry all the leaves in one go. Many plants can take sun when grown in sun, but transfering from shade to sun is a bit more difficult. I suppose getting bulbs in early spring would be the best way and starting off in sun. :wink:

I will investigate dividing over the coming weekend. If there are numerous small bulbs it won't be a problem, but if just one 'jumbo bulb' I will be a bit scared to cut it up :ahhh!:

Dave P seems to have grown these outside in Torquay.... how did you grow them Dave :?:
Best regards
Dave
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