Do perennial caladium plants come back after winter?

Do perennial caladium plants come back after winter?

Caladiums are stunning tropical plants with colorful leaves that brighten up the shadier areas of your garden. But are caladiums perennials that grow back every year after winter? Or will you need to buy new plants to replace them in the spring? Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your playgrounds and keep them growing year on year.

Playgrounds were initially limited to the shadiest sites, with only a few hours a day of dappled sun or less intense morning sunlight. However, newer varieties can be exposed to direct sunlight, especially in northern regions.

What is caladium?

Caladiums are perennials that will only grow again in frost-free areas after winter. Hardy in zones 9-13, these tropical plants are easily killed by freezes and do not do well in cold weather. Anything cold enough to warrant a coat is generally too cold for them. However, don't despair. Caladiums can be grown as annuals and houseplants or planted outside and dug up every year like dahlias.

Caladiums grow from a bulb (technically called a tuberous corm). When purchasing, you may notice different bulbs of different sizes. The foliage grows directly from the buds on the bulbs, so the more there are, the more foliage you'll get. Therefore, larger bulbs command a higher price. Bags of caladium bulbs found at a department store are likely smaller bulbs. They will continue to grow; They won't make a lot of foliage. However, smaller bulbs can be planted close together to create a fuller effect.

Most of the caladiums grown in gardens are cultivars of Caladium bicolorThere are hundreds to choose from. Caladium is sometimes referred to as elephant ears or angel wings but check the genus name Caladium On the plant tag. Other plants, such as Alocasias, also have these common names.

Bob Stefko


Caladium bulbs for winter

Many gardeners treat galls as annuals and let them die back at the end of the season when cold weather arrives. They then buy new caladiums to plant the following year. However, if you have a caladium you like or want to save expense, you can dig up the corms in early fall and store them in a protected location until warm weather returns in the spring. Just be sure to dig your courts before the first frost falls in your area. Then follow these steps:

  1. Dig out the worms carefully using a shovel.
  2. Trim any remaining leaves or roots.
  3. Allow the bulbs to dry in a shaded location that stays above freezing for a few days.
  4. When dry, place the bulbs in a cardboard box filled with sawdust or straw.
  5. Store the box in a cool, dark place. The back of a closet or basement shelf will suffice.
  6. In the spring, start awakening the bulbs by placing them indoors in a warm location. Or plant it outside after the soil temperature rises.

If you grow your gladiolus in containers on your deck or patio all summer, it will be a breeze in the fall. Simply clip the remaining foliage as soon as it begins to die and bring the entire pot into an unheated garage or shed that will stay above freezing. In the spring, move the pot outside once danger of frost has passed.

Lori Black

When and how to plant caladium bulbs

Caladiums can be purchased as bulbs ready to be planted in the ground or as nursery plants. Northern gardeners may want to start their cuttings indoors to get a head start on the season.

Growing caladium indoors

  1. Choose a pot with drainage holes.
  2. Fill the pot with fresh potting mix.
  3. Place the bulbs in the potting mix with the eyes facing up and gently cover the entire bulb.
  4. Water well and then wait for the foliage to appear. Don't continue watering before the leaves appear and you risk the bulbs rotting.

Growing caladium outdoors

  1. Wait until soil temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Caladiums will not grow in cold temperatures, and the bulbs are susceptible to rotting in cold, wet soil.
  2. Work in compost or old manure into the garden bed. Use a quality potting mix for the containers and add some finishing compost.
  3. Place the bulbs two inches deep and cover them with soil.
  4. Larger bulbs in the garden should be at least 8 inches apart. Small bulbs or those in containers can be closer together.

Recommended gardening tools

Good garden tools can make working with plants, trees and shrubs much easier. We love these trowels for digging holes to plant bulbs and seeds and for weeding, and these garden hoses and reels are the best on the market for all your water-related work. A plant moisture meter can help you avoid over- or under-watering your flowers and vegetables. Recycle food scraps and use them to fertilize your plants with a compost bin that suits your needs. If you have a large garden, a lawn mower is a lifesaver and makes the task more enjoyable too.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can caladiums stay in the ground all winter?

    If your lawn is in zone 9 or warmer, leave your courts in the ground. As tropical plants, they do not tolerate cold temperatures or cold, wet soil, but in nature they will of course remain in the ground.

  • Do deer like to eat caladium?

    Although pitches are deer-resistant, they are certainly not deer-resistant. Some gardeners have reported deer walking near their yards, while others have choice words about it. Caladium contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause mouth irritation, which may explain deer's reluctance to go beyond a taste test.

  • Do caladiums bloom?

    It is rare for caladiums grown as ornamental plants to bloom, but it does happen. Most gardeners prune the flowers because they are not so showy and they take up resources that could be put into growing more dramatic foliage.

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