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6 Tips for Growing Caladiums in Zones 5-7

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Mar 3, 2015

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If you live in the northern half of the U.S., you may think caladiums are only suitable for southern gardens. Not so! The photo above was taken in a zone 6 garden in New Jersey, and we have customers from Pennsylvania to Iowa getting the same great results.

During the summer, most of the country has exactly the type of weather caladiums love: 80-85 degrees and humid. Other plants — including many annuals and perennials —  struggle when the weather gets hot, but caladiums flourish. They continue producing fresh new leaves throughout August and right into the fall, so your yard and garden looks great while you’re indoors with the air conditioner on. 

If you live in growing zones 5-7, here are a few tips to help you get the most from these easy summer-blooming bulbs.

 

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  • Start with large, grade #1 caladium tubers rather than the smaller, #2 or #3 sizes. The bigger the tuber the more stored food energy the plant will have available to fuel its growth. You’ll get more stems per bulb and faster coverage. All Longfield Gardens caladiums are #1  tubers.
  • Don’t be too eager to plant your caladium tubers. Wait until the soil temperature is warm — at least 65-70°F. In the central U.S. this is usually around Memorial Day. In northern areas you may need to wait until mid-June.
  • To get a quicker display of color, caladium tubers can be pre-sprouted indoors. Start them about 6 weeks before you’ll plant them outdoors. Grow the tubers in barely moist potting soil, under lights or in a sunny window. Keep the plants cozy (70-75°) day and night. 

 

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  • Caladium tubers are usually planted about 6″ apart. In northern areas, another option is to plant the tubers in groups of 3 spaced a little more closely together. At the start of the season, these clumps have a bigger presence than single plants that are evenly spaced. 
  • Caladiums grow very well in pots and planters — including hanging baskets. Soil temperatures are usually higher in containers, and caladiums appreciate that extra heat. In northern areas where the soil temperature may not reach 70°F until June, planting caladiums in containers gives the tubers a big head start.  

To learn more about growing caladiums, read our Growing Guide for Caladiums. You can click here to see our complete selection of caladiums.

Topics: Foliage Plants Shade Plants Summer Blooming Bulbs

Kathleen LaLiberte has been writing about gardening for more than 30 years from her home in northern Vermont, where she tends a half acre of flowers, vegetables and fruit. She has been working with Longfield Gardens since 2011.

8 Replies to “6 Tips for Growing Caladiums in Zones 5-7”

    1. Hi Lloyd,
      Officially, caladiums are hardy to zone 9. But there are no hard and fast rules. In a protected location with well drained soil and a few inches of mulch, you may find they will overwinter. Hardiness zones are based on averages, and some winters are milder than others. I would definitely give it a try!

  1. Lloyd,

    I would bring them in for the winter, living In VA your winters will be unpredictable ( I loved in RVA for 36 years ) and the bulbs may come back if it is a soft winter but a harsh winter will zap them and one of the best things about these bulbs is that over time they get bigger. I would suggest uprooting them in the fall and placing them in a open tub with soil, they can get cold but not frozen they should be good in the garage in the winter. I Live in Alabama now and I still do that because even thought we are typically warmer cold is still cold. Good Luck

    1. Thank you Katie for that good advice. Gardening is local and the best information always comes from someone who has experience gardening where you do!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience & information. 2016 was my first year trying caladiums, & our winter was mild in OK. I’m hoping my potted caladiums, will survive my ignorance. I’m looking forward to trying again with new bulbs. I truly enjoyed the lovely variety of colors under my pear tree.

    1. Hi and thanks for your comment. I bet they looked lovely under your tree. Hope you have good luck again this year!

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