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Re: Caladium bulbs shrinking ?


Just another point of view about growing Caladium in Florida: I tried digging
up about half of my Caladium 'Florida Calypso' early last winter after they
went dormant. The other half I left in the ground. I kept the dug tubers in a
single layer in my unheated garage all winter (just shook off most of the
sand and layed them out in cardboard flats, no fungicide treatment). When
they started to sprout in spring I took a sharp pencil and jabbed it into the
primary shoot, thus forcing the tuber to produce new shoots from accessory
buds. Since I had about fifty of these tubers I asked my daughter to help me
and she thought I had gone mad. Then I planted them. The ones in the ground
emerged about three weeks before my "mutilated" ones. Once the treated tubers
emerged they each had several leaves rather than just one or two, and filled
the bed out beautifully. Now after a couple of months growth I can't tell
much difference in the two beds. I am curious if the rough treatment I gave
the tubers will make them produce more (or fewer) offsets than the untreated
ones. At any rate, this cultivar has multiplied readily each year and if I
dig the tubers I can also collect many small tubercles which will all grow
out into separate large tubers the following summer. Now I have well over a
hundred or more sizable tubers of this one particular cultivar and I began
with about a dozen three years ago! Its a bit of a monster! I got them
originally from Dick Mansell when he was taking orders for Caladium through
the web site. He was the person who told me to dig the tubers in winter and
jab a pencil point into the new shoots each spring. He said this is what the
commercial people do to get nice full pots of leaves with just one or two
tubers.

'Florida Calypso' is very colorful, has a long growing season and can
tolerate a lot more dying out than many other cultivars without going down
(if some cultivars get one or two dry days they will immediately go to
sleep). It can even take a couple of hours of mid day sun which surprises me.
I had heard that the "Florida" series was bred to withstand more sun than
other cultivars. Anyone know anything about this? It sure is one tough
Caladium.

Donna Atwood







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