"Dr. Bob" Hartman is our CEO
of Classic Caladiums. Holding many patents on new varieties
of caladiums Dr. Bob is responsible for improving the habits
of caladiums for consumers and plant producers alike. Dr.
Hartman will post the most frequently asked questions here.
question, Email us at:
We try to answer all legitimate queries
like caladiums so much, but hate to wait for
them to come up in the summer. I live in
Savannah, Ga, and its seems that half of the
summer is gone before they come up. Any
suggestions about what companion plants that
come up and bloom early would work well with
caladiums in this area? I was thinking about
daylilies, but would love your input. Or, is
there anything I can do to make them come up
Thanks a lot,
As far as companion plants go, you might want to look at our Face
Book site (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Classic-Caladiums/130048030381003?ref=hl)
as you’ll see numerous pictures of caladium
combinations with other plants both in pots
and in the ground. You also might want to
look at the blog, hoe and shovel. (http://www.hoeandshovel.com/)
for other examples of mixtures of caladiums
with other plants. The neat thing about
natural colors is that they never clash…..
isn’t God cool!
would like to get them going earlier and if
you have a warm spot (≥80˚F) such as a south
facing sun room or shed that you could put a
small electric heater in, you could pot
them, water them in, and then cover them
with plastic. They should sprout in about 2
weeks and then you could transplant them to
your garden spot.
Best Regards, Bob Hartman
Hope this helps.
Do you really invent new caladiums?
Do you "invent" new caladiums
Don, Englewood, FL
The actual process of developing a new variety of
caladium can take 7 years or more and is a very
laborious process and yes, I hold many patents for
new varieties. We also expend considerable time and
effort rejuvenating current varieties - bringing
them back to original colors and healthier, disease-resistant bulbs.
PS - While the question and
answer are legit - the photo is just my webmaster having
a little fun...
Dormancy've read I must put my caladiums into a
period of dormancy, and am trying to reason out when to do
so. I live at 7500 feet in New Mexico. My caladiums are
doing wonderfully, and they are indoors. My other tropicals,
such as the hibiscus, typically bloom best in the winter,
when the south sun comes in. The house typically runs 58-60
degrees overnight in the winter, with the south sun blasting
everything through the windows, and a daytime temp. of about
80 degrees. Do you have a suggestion as to when to put the
caladiums into dormancy?
Thank you, Laurie Bowman
Not to worry, caladiums naturally
know when it's time to "sleep".
temps go below 60° and stay there (say the onset of
fall/winter), harvest the bulbs & leaves, let 'em dry for a week
or so, trim
off the tops and store the bulbs in a warmish ventilated area (60° or better) for planting next spring.
go dormant in the winter - they like to take a nap. Make
sure to identify what bulbs are in which bag - it gets
interesting if you don't.
year I plant elephant ears in my garden for a
dazzling effect and each year I swear that I am
going to start them early, so that when I put them
out in May, they will already be about a foot high.
This year I want to start them indoors and was
wondering if I plant them in pots and put them on
heat mats, will that trick them into thinking it is
spring? (Along with a light source of course.) It seems
Mother Nature is playing a mean joke on us up here
in Boston, and she won’t stop sending us snow! I
appreciate your advice.
Preble - Boston,
Good Morning Stacey,
In Florida, elephant ears grow year round. The
“dormant” bulbs we sell have been artificially “put to
sleep”. So the answer to your question is yes, you can
pot them any time as long as you can meet their growing
requirements which include heat and light. Once potted
they should be kept above 70F for the best results.
Best Regards, and stay warm!
Leave bulbs in ground
I planted caladiums last year, we had a freeze this year
(I live in Texas). I had put some mulch down. Do you
think the bulbs froze, or will they come up again this
Juliet, Dallas TX (Feb-2011)
Thanks for your email question. Caladiums are
tropical plants and are typically hurt and
eventually killed when soil temperatures persist
below 50F for long periods of time. Caladiums
come back every year in Florida from I-10
south (I-10 works well for most southern states). We have contacts in Louisiana and the
Houston TX area that report caladiums surviving
some winters. All caladium varieties are not
equally susceptible to cold damage. So the
answer to your question is that your bulbs
probably didn’t survive but it depends on: 1)
What part of TX are you in, 2) in many parts of
the country we experienced record cold this
year, therefore how was it in your area this
year, and 3) which varieties did you grow? If
you plan on leaving them in the ground, mulching
them like you did is the best thing to help them
survive. Digging them in the Fall and storing
them in your house is the best way to assure
We wish you great success with this versatile tropical species.
When is the
best time to plant caladiums?
Determine your USDA Hardiness zone
This list is a general
guideline. If your winter seems to be lingering please wait until
all threat of frost has passed. Planting your caladiums in soil
that is maintaining a temperature of 60°F or higher will ensure that
you have healthy lush caladiums.
How deep and how far apart should I plant specific
Plant your bulbs deep enough to cover
them with about 1 ½ - 2 inches of soil. Plant them with the knobby
side up (these are actually the "eyes"
or growing points. Plant your bulbs
3-4 X their width. Example: A 2 inch wide bulb
should be planted 6-8 inches apart.
should I water?
frequently and keep the soil moist, but not soggy. For indoor
potted plants make sure to
discard any excess water from the drainage
dish after watering.
How often should I fertilize?
For best result fertilize every four to six weeks
with a light application of 6-6-6 fertilizer. For household potted
plants a liquid fertilizer for house plants is recommended.
What bulb size should I order? What’s the advantage
over larger bulbs?
bulbs are available in various sizes. As a general rule the larger
bulbs produce more leaves. Planting smaller bulbs in a cluster will
give the same effect as a larger bulb.
Can I plant caladiums in pots and put them in
Yes you can use caladiums as potted plants for the
house/patio/and porch. They work great in combination patio
planters. It’s important that your plant be placed in a draft free
spot where it receives indirect light. Caladiums like it bright.
Keep soil moist and discard
water from the drainage dish after watering.
What are the most Sun Tolerant Varieties? Will they
still grow well in the shade?
leaf varieties as a group are more sun tolerant than fancy leaf
varieties. However all caladiums grow well in partial shade.
Please check specific varieties for sun tolerance at
How and when should I store my bulbs each year?
When the temperature goes below 60° F and stays there
you need to harvest the bulbs for storage.
Dig up the bulbs, cut foliage off 1 inch above the
bulb. Clean off excess dirt and allow roots to air dry for one to
two weeks in open trays. Layer the bulbs in layers of newspaper or
slightly moist sphagnum inside a cardboard box with proper air
circulation. Make sure the bulbs are
placed in a dry location that maintains a temperature of no less
than 55° F.
Which caladiums will be taller/shorter or better
As a general rule the Fancy varieties are usually
taller. The Strap varieties make excellent border plants in front
of the Fancy varieties to give a two dimension look or tier affect.
Once I order online when will my bulbs be shipped?
shipping at the end of February. The
weather and zones dictate when we ship the bulbs for all zones. It
is very important that shipped bulbs are maintained at 60° F.
Freezing bulbs during shipping results in very poor growth, if any.
When will my credit card be charged?
The day that your order is shipped your credit card
will be charged. This will allow you to order early and assure
that you get your favorites before they are sold out. Particularly
true of new varieties.