Crazy about Caladiums

close up of plant with red and green leaves

Bored of the same old-same old? Are you ready to let a little wildness escape from your typical green foliage? One of the first caladium growers, Theodore Webb, has something to offer you. They have traveled from the dense shaded areas of the Amazon in Brazil, to the coasts of the United States, and finally to the last stop being our personal gardens. Which we all know has been in need of color. Caladiums offer a little contrast amongst flower beds and home décor alike. Tom Webb’s horticulture love began when he was hired by a town near West Palm Beach for renovating a local golf course. After discovering for himself the infamous caladium bulb in Tampa, Florida he quickly rose to the challenge of propagating the plant and selling it in the 1930’s. Today there are over fifteen different variations providing any gardener with great selection.

Now as for living in Iowa and growing caladiums, readers are in for a treat. Caladiums love the humidity that Iowan summers can offer. They also enjoy those particularly shady spots that may pose as struggles for other vegetation. The downfall about the USDA hardiness zone we reside in is the unpredictable rain. Caladiums will not do well in areas that do not drain effectively. Have pudde issues? I would suggest either a new location or a new plant. Do you have limited ground space? Not a problem! Caladiums enjoy container-growth almost as much as ground-growth! They are roughly 12-30 inches in height and their dazzling leaves vary in width. Leaf appearance varies on the variety that a gardener chooses. Caladiums are to be treated as an annual and removed (it’s possible to replant the next season) before Iowa’s winters.

Location Location Location! The tricky part is deciding where to put your Florida Moonlight, Rainbow Mix, or White Queen in the garden! Caladiums tend to flourish in well shaded, humid, and wind shielded areas. They’re slightly picky and don’t enjoy being too wet. Their large leaves may compete with each other if planted too close together. So what are you to do with such a spoiled plant? Add its colorful foliage to border a garden or next to your home. Feel free to pot the bulbs in baskets, hangers, and planters. It’s okay to showcase their heart shaped leaf, because those who pass by will enjoy. It’s been said they look great in the foreground, but their tropical summer feel is perfect for anywhere you are looking to add a small amount of color.

Caladiums can be found at Reiman Gardens in the conservatory. They surround the metal flora in the inner conservatory, adding a delightful spectacle for visitors. Now whether you’re looking at adding a little Amazon flare to your garden or simply a little love with the Caladiums’ heart shaped leaf. Caladiums offer fabulous colored foliage to any home planter or bed border.