Color with Foliage

“Color with Foliage”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Rain, rain, rain. The last five days have been miserable – cloudy, rainy, humid, and hot. The tropical depression that thankfully did not develop into a storm certainly has given us enough rain for a while. The garden needed the rain and the cooler temperatures it brought, but for me there has been no getting out to check on things. Better weather will be coming though.

Plants that do seem to be enjoying the clouds and moisture are the caladiums.

 

 

These tubers were very tiny when I planted them. They were given to me by a neighbor who kept only her large ones and didn’t want to be bothered with the tiny new ones. After clearing out a section of the patio garden, I needed something to fill in the area, and these small caladium tubers were perfect. I am happy that the foliage has stayed short considering where I planted them, but I am surprised at how full the plants have become considering the small size of the tubers. I guess they must like where they are planted. Anyway, they certainly have filled in an area at the edge of the patio with colorful foliage for the summer.

I usually do not lift my caladium tubers in the fall because they usually come back, but after losing some last year with our unusually cold and wet winter, I am thinking I will dig them up this year. This is the first year I have planted mixed colors of caladiums in the back garden, and I like the effect.

More and more, I am finding that colorful foliage plants are the way to go when you live in an area with long, hot summers.

A Big One

“A Big One”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

It is amazing what rain will do for plants.  This past summer was a very dry one for us, but the weather gods have been making up lately for the earlier lack of rain.  In the last two weeks we have received 6.28 inches of rain, and the plants have started responding with renewed vigor.  With work and the rains, I have not been able to get out in the garden lately, but this weekend brought overnight showers which allowed some daytime garden viewing.

I was shocked at a White Christmas caladium.  This plant has grown in the same place for at least six years, never been moved, and always performed like all the other caladiums in the garden.  But, not this year and not after all the rain.  I have grown caladuims for over twenty years and have never had one get this big. 

 

Wh Caladium Leaf (redu)

 

I have elephant ears that aren’t this big.  This caladium has never gotten this big before.  It is eleven inches across and seventeen inches long.  There are other leaves on the plant that are also big, but not as big as this one.  Since this is the first time it has grown this large, I can only surmise that it is the rain that has caused this growth. 

While most of my other caladiums have started to fade, I just wish the rains would have come sooner so that all of these plants would have had a chance to get bigger.  Maybe next year.

Summer Favorites

“Summer Favorites”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

We all have favorite plants.  Ones we never tire of seeing in our garden or extolling the virtues of to anyone who will listen.  For the summer, I have two plants that I simply must have every year.  I don’t know why they are my favorites, but I do know that every time I look at them, I smile.

The first is the Gingerland caladium.  This is one of the more sun tolerant of the caladiums and was first planted in my garden three years ago.  I have it in the entry garden where I used to have a summer color scheme of red, white, and green.  Now that I have changed that to red, purple, and green, these caladiums still look fantastic with those colors, too.

 

Gingerland Caladium (redu)

 

My sister has planted Gingerland in her garden, too, and she has told me every time she looks at hers, she thinks of me.  I guess that is because I have raved and praised this particular caladium so much (maybe ad nauseum?).

The next plant is one that I have had in my summer garden for over ten years.  It is a coleus that goes by several names, but I usually find it available as Solar Sunrise.  Again, it is the color combination that I just love.  The purple, chartreuse, and streaks of red make this a stand out.  The fact that it can get very large is also a plus.  It makes a small shrub by mid summer.

 

Coleus (redu)

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great plants in a summer garden that I really love, but these two plants, for some unknown reason, really are my favorites, and they  must be planted every year.

A Good Idea

“A Good Idea”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

One of the best gardening ideas to ever be developed was sun tolerant caladiums.  I have used “regular” caladiums in my garden for years, but always in shady locations.  Nothing brightens up a shady area like the green and white ones such as Candidum, June Bride, Aaron, and my personal favorite, White Christmas.  I have used Pink Beauty, Freida Hemple, and Kathleen under the magnolia tree to add a little color where nothing else would grow.

 

But, there are areas that receive short periods of intense sun and then shade for the rest day that those listed above just can’t take.  I had tried some in the entry garden, but by the end of June, they had faded and were struggling in the noon day sun.  Then, last year, I tried a sun tolerant caladium – Gingerland. 

 

It works well in shade.

 

 

I originally chose this one because of its colors.  Since that garden is mainly red and purple flowers, the green and white with splashes of red would be perfect.  These little tubers have worked out perfectly.  They get full sun at least four hours each day around noon time, and they can take it.  I do water the garden almost daily in this heat, but I do it more for the other plants than the caladiums.  And, if the other plants wilt, Gingerland never does.

 

It works well in sun.

 

 

This sun tolerant caladium has performed well where other caladiums just looked stressed and faded after a few weeks in the noon day sun.  While I would not try and grow them in a hot, dry area, these filled a need for a colorful plant that could take both shade and sun.

 

 

Still Too Early to Plant

This post, “Still Too Early to Plant” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

It is hard to have to wait for some plants to emerge in the spring.  Every year I worry when the hidden ginger isn’t up even though we have warm temperatures for weeks.  This year is no different.  Many plants need warm soil to grow.

 

Last weekend when I was planting in the garden, I was surprised that the soil was still fairly cool, especially the areas that remain shady.  This past week, we have had high temps in the 80’s, but I still think it is too early to plant warm-weather plants like caladiums.  You have to be careful and not plant caladiums too early because if they sit in damp, cold soil they can rot.  Very often I will start the tubers in containers.   I usually start them in gallon containers and then put them in the ground when it warms up enough.  When leaves start showing, it is easy to gently lift them and plant in the garden.  In certain areas of the garden, under a tree for example, I will just place the container of caladiums in the garden rather than try to dig around tree roots.  These containers are placed behind low growing plants or in ground cover so that the pot does not show.  This also makes it easy to lift the tubers in the fall.

 

Caladiums need well drained soil, and filtered sunlight.  Plant the tubers with the eyes up and about two inches deep.  The roots and leaves form quickly in warm soil.  Water well during the summer.

 

This year I bought some more Gingerland caladiums, and I want to plant them now, but I know better.  With the warm spring days and flowers all around, it is hard to have to wait to plant some things, but sometimes we have to learn to be patient.