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Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials

Caladiums (page 3 of 3)

by Barbara Pleasant

Fun in the Sun

If you live in a cool climate, it's important to grow sun-tolerant caladiums in a sunny spot from the beginning, or at least let the plants gradually become accustomed to the feel of warm sun on their leaves. Even with the most sun-tolerant varieties, if you grow plants in the shade and suddenly shift them into bright sun, existing leaves are likely to develop brown sunburned patches. However, the new leaves that replace them should look fine, and will turn your bed or patio into a technicolor tropical paradise.

Six Caladiums Selected for Sun

Name; Type; Use; Colors

Aaron'; Tall fancy-leaved; Beds; White; medium green edge.

'Carolyn Whorton'; Tall fancy-leaved; Beds; Pink, green, red.

'Red Flash'; Tall fancy-leaved; Beds; Red, green; white speckles.

'Florida Sweetheart'; Interspecies hybrid; Beds, pots; Pink; green edge.

'Miss Muffet'; Interspecies hybrid; Beds, pots; Cream; red speckles .

'White Wing'; Short lance-leaved; Beds, pots; White; green edge.

Caladiums for Cutting?

It's true. You can use caladium leaves in flower arrangements, where they will last two weeks or more. The trick is to soak the freshly cut stems in deep water in a dark place for 24 hours before putting them to work in a vase. Being pollen-free, caladium leaves are naturally nonallergenic.

Elephant's Ears

As common in the Deep South as buttermilk biscuits are the huge green leaves of a caladium relative, elephant's ear (Alocasia), which grows to 8 feet tall in rich, moist soils. It is hardy to zone 8. Few plants are more dramatic when grown at the edge of a water garden, but any moist, shady spot will do.

Barbara Pleasant, a freelance garden writer who lives in northern Alabama, wrote the National Gardening Regional Report from the Middle South.

Photography by Mike MacCaskey

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