The Q&A Archives: Starting Caladium Bulbs

Question: I planted my caladium bulbs many weeks ago, right after Burpee sent them. They sat in the basement for about 6 weeks(planted in pots) and as the weather got better I put the pots on the back porch. Nothing has happened yet and I am afraid it will be so late when they sprout that the summer will be half over. Last year I tried the same thing and many of the bulbs had rotted. I ended up getting plants from the nursery and vowed not to do this again, however, I did. What can I do to speed up the process so I know whether to go to the nursery again, or not? I planted them with about 1 inch of dirt on top. HELP!

Answer: Caladiums need warm temperatures to sprout and are best started indoors in March and set outdoors in May. Optimum temperature is 75F for sprouting and growing caladiums, so perhaps your basement isn't quite warm enough for successful sprouting. Caladium bulbs should be planted two-inches deep, knobby side up, in fast-draining potting soil. They can take from 30-90 days to sprout when kept at 70F to 85F. Don't give up on yours yet! Provide warm temperatures and they should sprout.

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