"Dr. Bob" Hartman is the CEO of Classic Caladiums,
many patents on new varieties of caladiums and is
responsible for improving the habits of caladiums for
consumers and plant producers alike. Dr. Hartman will post
the most frequently asked questions here.
Submit a question,
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We try to answer all legitimate
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 several patents for
new varieties. We also expend considerable time and
effort rejuvenating current varieties - bringing
them back to original colors and healthier 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
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 Orlando
south. 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.