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DSC_0016For many years I have tried to raise caladiums with very little to no success, the conundrum was those funny looking tubers always confused me as to which side up was. Then what planting medium should I start them in and at what time of the spring to get them grown enough so that I would have some kind of show in my shade gardens. I read everything I could find on them and you tubed till I couldn’t stand it any more, always with the same results empty pots of soil and me at the nurseries buying grown plants for a lot of money.

Now caladiums – Araceae, are a genus of seven species of tuberous – rooted perennials from the woodland of tropical South America. Loved for there broadly arrow and or lance-shaped leaves that can come in a verity of colors like the popular green and white to shades of pinks to reds to me all are a real shade garden or planter winner.

This spring I decided once again to raise caladiums, a local discount store was selling the tubers for a dollar a bag which held six tubers, I thought at this price I had nothing to lose, so I bought three bags. I then bought a bag of plain house plant soil to start them in. Opening the bag I found six odd shaped tubers rather ugly and once again guessing what side was up. I took the time to call some gardening friends to confess to my shame, that I didn’t know what end was up, and they got, in many ways a good laugh about that. They told me to set the tubers out on the table and to roll them a little see what side sets flat, that’s the top and some times the tops are dimpled like a bowl. Finally, the top is found!

So with a new enthusiasm I filled my six and ten inch pots with soil and planted my tubers about one to two inches down and about one inch apart from each other around the end of April. I decided I would leave the pots in the full sun on the terrace stone surface and if they started by any chance I would move them to the shade then, it was my thought that the warmth of the sun heated stone under their feet might be the trick to start growth. Three weeks and nothing, I was going to give up and plan for my trip to the nursery. When while on my morning walk I saw the first leaf spire coming through the soil. I ran into Acorn Cottage looking for Jan to tell her of my incredible news, that finely I can say I started my caladiums myself.

So here I am the end of August in the shade garden enjoying my home grown caladiums that I left in their pots  and inserted pot and all in to the ground for easy fall removal and planning on next years new colors for a larger plantings of them. The conundrum solved with my sights set to the next one.

A thought; Always try – try and try again……

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