Colorful Leaves For The Shade

This large planter is filled with caladiums.

White-leaf caladiums

White caladiums that brighten a boxwood garden in summer.

Window box of caladiums and ivy

Caladiums are great for our hot summer gardens. Their colorful leaves can really brighten a shady spot, and they are easy to grow. All of the ones except the window box was grown from tubers. The window box was planted with purchased plants, and if you look a bit they are still available in the garden marketplace. If you purchase them now make sure to buy vigorous plants that have new leaves unfolding and plant them pot to pot when you take them out of the pots. If you have them growing in you garden now, remember to remove the spent and dying leaves, keep them watered well but not over watered, and fertilize them with liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks to keep new foliage growing. Once the plants seem to quit producing new leaves and are no longer attractive, dig up the tubers, remove all the leaves and soil, and allow them to go dormant in a cool dry place. Once this has occurred, I bag mine in paper bags and keep them in the basement refrigerator until spring when I plant them again. If you don’t want to over winter them, just add the spent plants to the compost pile. I want to let you know the ones shown here are shade lovers, but there are sun loving types, too. I have not had as much success with those, but many folks like them.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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