Tropicals forum: Colocasia and caladium as winter houseplants

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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 11:35 AM CST
My plan was to put my calocasia and caladiums in clay pots which would reside outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter.

I haven't bought any colocasia yet and my caladiums are NOT happy. I can't tell if they've died or gone dormant. I guess I'll find out in the spring when I put them outside again. UNLESS you tell me they don't do dormancy ever at all.....

They wilted, browned, and stopped putting out new leaves. When that happened, I stopped watering them thinking they may be dormant.

Help?
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Feb 13, 2014 12:21 PM CST
Caladiums do go dormant.
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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 12:30 PM CST
Well that's good to hear - maybe I haven't killed them yet.
NEXT year I'll store them in the basement with the dormant lilies, dahlias, and amaryllis.

Now what should I plan to do with my colocasia?


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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Feb 13, 2014 12:38 PM CST
Colocasias like a very damp atmosphere unless you can provide that in your house I would wait.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 13, 2014 1:46 PM CST
I agree on the Colocasias. They like lots of water, humidity, warmth and good indirect light. Mine live outdoors all year, in shifting shade under my huge oak trees. If it gets cold enough they will die right back and stay dormant for a month or two. I cover them with mulch to keep them evenly moist and protect from frost. If they don't go dormant, they still slow down, the big leaves drop and they put out small leaves, slowly until the weather warms up.

Don't really know what they'd do indoors where it stays relatively warm all the time. But you'd sure have to keep them watered and if the light wasn't enough, they'd probably put up leaves with long, floppy stems. Most people on this forum who grow these up north let them die back in the fall and store over winter to use outdoors only.

Aiming to get them outside in May, for the summer? I'd think you could start them growing in mid- to late March indoors, to get a head start on the season. They'd be about ready to produce some nice big leaves by May.

Caladiums have a somewhat short season here, although a few of mine start up again in the late fall, after going dormant as soon as the weather cools and sometimes before that. I've heard you can prolong the life of the pretty leaves if you snip off the flower stalks before they open.
Elaine

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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 2:35 PM CST
Thanks, Floridians!
None of them would survive outside here in the winter, mulch or no.

I think I will TRY them as house plants in the winter but now at least I know to be prepared for that dormancy thing. I know I see both of them in the houseplant sections in places, so I thought they'd not go dormant.

I can water the colocasia every day if that's what it needs.

I watered the caladiums once a week, like my other house plants.
Do you think the caladiums would go year round if I watered them more???
Or are do they just NEED to go dormant?

I kept a "Black and Blue" salvia green in the house over a winter, but it stopped blooming. So I let it go dormant in its pot in the basement the next year. I eventually lost it but I'm not sure it was because of the winter in the basement....
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Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Feb 13, 2014 2:48 PM CST
You could actually grow the colocasia just in water as long as it got enough light. I have them growing in an inside pond, just in gravel in the filter. They have light from above, and they put out new leaves and seem fine. They do sometimes need more support if they start growing up out of the gravel too much. I've often seen them here just stuck in gravel and a few inches of water in a pot or vase inside.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 13, 2014 4:00 PM CST

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I usually order bulbs in January and have them sent to me by March. Here the night temps are in the 50s by then, if not warmer. Caladiums always go dormant when the ground temp is about mid 40°. I have been successful starting them early in pots and keeping them warmer than they'd be in the ground. Even though caladiiums like plenty of water, they don't like it to be wet and cold. The bulbs will just rot.

I have saved bulbs over winter, but they just aren't the same. 'Much smaller and weaker.

Here's a good website for answers to a few questions about them. Just scroll down caladiums.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/flowers/...
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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 4:21 PM CST
extranjera said:You could actually grow the colocasia just in water as long as it got enough light. I have them growing in an inside pond, just in gravel in the filter. They have light from above, and they put out new leaves and seem fine. They do sometimes need more support if they start growing up out of the gravel too much. I've often seen them here just stuck in gravel and a few inches of water in a pot or vase inside.


WOW! I never would have thought of that.

And I'd think they could stay in the ground where you are! Hilarious!
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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 4:22 PM CST
And Bubbles, if it won't last a few seasons, I can't afford to invest in it. I don't throw money at annuals.

But hey, if they work for me they work for me and if they don't they don't!
Rolling my eyes.
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 13, 2014 4:34 PM CST

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Oh, I surely didn't mean you shouldn't try it! One year, I cut the bulbs into pieces. Each piece had an "eye" and I planted them in a long skinny pot. Most of them came up, but they stayed fairly small. I was pleased that it even worked! It was a lot of trouble, though. Now I just buy them fresh each year and rationalize that what I spent on the bulbs is no more than a pair of shoes, and both the bulbs and the shoes probably wouldn't last two seasons! For some reason my DH doesn't understand that logic.
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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 5:18 PM CST
Hilarious!
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Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Feb 13, 2014 5:50 PM CST
Yes, they grow in the ground all year here, but they also make a nice vase plant. Kind of like a vase of flowers but they stay alive and you don't have to buy them Rolling my eyes. we often use philodendrons in the same manner.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
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crittergarden
Feb 13, 2014 6:06 PM CST
cool.
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Feb 13, 2014 10:10 PM CST

Plants Admin

Just a comment on sunshine critter. Outside you can bump it up a notch or three if you want. Even the white leaved Caladiums only had a little leaf scorch in 6 hrs. of sun here. Fine in shade too. The tubers don't get or stay very big but they do survive dry storage. I'll try starting early this year. I tried Sandis hanging coir basket with holes cut in the sides and it was just starting to look presentable by the time the season was done.
Evan
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crittergarden
Feb 14, 2014 6:41 AM CST
And you're in my zone, too!
Keep in touch.
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 14, 2014 5:28 PM CST

Moderator

Pssst.....it's 86 this afternoon. I ordered caladiums today and it's your fault crittergarden ( Evan too). I wasn't planning to order any this spring because of the dry summer we had last year. I couldn't resist, though. Hope to get them here by first of March. Enablers!
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crittergarden
Feb 15, 2014 7:17 AM CST
Whistling
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Name: Debra joeswife
Derby,Kansas (Zone 6b)
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joeswife
Feb 15, 2014 10:58 AM CST
my caladiums are coming back down in the basement gardens, and the EE's seem pretty happy.. I use the fish filter to root things in a lot.. just need some warmer weather outside now..
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crittergarden
Feb 15, 2014 12:40 PM CST
joeswife said:I use the fish filter to root things in a lot..


DO 'splain!
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