|I JUST BOUGHT 2 VIGORO ANNUAL CALADIUM CALADIOS AT HOME DEPOT. HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THIS PLANT IN TERMS OF WATERING AND SUN AND SOIL AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN?|
|One important aspect of caladiums is that they provide color in shady locations. Caladiums thrive under oak or other shade trees where it is almost impossible to grow most flowering plants. Since they perform so well in a shady landscape, it is commonly thought that all caladiums require low light to grow well. However, there are cultivars that will perform well in partial shade and full sun, and some examples are: fancy-leaved cultivars ?Aaron?, ?Candidum Jr.?, ?Carolyn Whorton?, ?Florida Elise?, ?Florida Fantasy?, ?Pink Cloud?, ?Red Flash? and strap-leaved cultivars ?Florida Red Ruffles?, ?Florida Irish Lace?, ?Florida White Ruffles?, and ?Florida Sweetheart? and ?Pink Gem?.
The limiting factor when growing these sun tolerant cultivars in direct sunlight is water. When caladiums are stressed from lack of moisture, the leaves will appear as if the sun has burned them, but the cause is really due to the plant drying out.
Caladiums prefer a high organic soil although they can grow in sandy or heavy loam soils if irrigation and drainage is managed properly. Sandy soils can be amended with peat moss or compost and the soil covered with a heavy layer of mulch after planting to help retain soil moisture. For clay or loam soils which retain too much moisture, addition of peat or compost will help provide aeration to the soil. If the soil is excessively wet, drainage may need to be provided, or the beds can be raised slightly to provide an area for the caladium roots to grow above the saturated soil.
Caladiums must be irrigated frequently. If they dry to the wilting point, caladiums may initiate a dormancy phase. Plants may not resume growth, or grow poorly, even after being watered if stressed long enough. On the other hand, caladiums thrive during rainy periods when many flowering crops perish.
Some gardeners save their caladiums from one year to the next by digging tubers. When temperatures begin to drop below 60o F, caladiums will start to loose leaves. If a severe cold front moves through the area, and temperatures fall below 50o F for a few days, it is time to dig the tubers. Tubers need to be removed before soil temperatures drop below 50o F . In general, the growing conditions and the length of the growing season prevent tubers from increasing in size. Rather, they use up their storage reserves and thus are smaller and less vigorous than freshly purchased tubers. However, some are successful at carrying over tubers for several years. Tubers must be stored above 60o F and preferably at 70 to 75o F.
Hope this answers all your questions!