Caladiums to dig and save

cynthianovakAugust 26, 2012

Is there a way to get your bulbs to grow larger? It seems that I plant them and most of them come back out smaller than when they went in late spring. I losst last years so I had to buy new ones this year. Is there something I'm missing?

I have good soil that I added composted cow manure as a light mulch or top layer after I planted. They have been troopers in my hot TX shade. Any suggestions are welcome


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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Maybe you are just not meant to be a caladium farmer. If you think of tulips and daffodls, the bulbs from the better sources are much larger than your run of the mill garden examples. I guess if you've got a field of thousands of bulbs you can pick out the top 25% to sell... something you'll never see in your own garden when you dig and replant everything. So I guess what I'm trying to say is you are planting the cream of the crop, grown under ideal conditions, and there's only one way they can go (smaller).

But..... there's always something more you can do. Maybe they just need more moisture or higher humidity. It's going to be hard to give them perfect conditions and still make them do their job in the landscape. But I'll leave any other suggestions to the more experienced caladum growers. I would think good soil and your added cow manure are a good start.

DO you mind giving some digging and storage advice? I used to have no problems but the last two years the bulbs seem to dry out and die in as little as a month or so.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I have most sucess when I dig, let them dry a little until the leaves whiter. Then I pull off the leaves and put in a paper bag in the coat closet just inside my front door.

When I put them in a flat or cardboard box they dried out. I presume that the bag, with the top rolled down a little gives them just enought dry and moisture. I know they like it cool, so I use this outside wall closet. But I'm in TX and they will likely be even happier in yours.

You are probably right about having more bulbs to select from. if they are like tuplips. they have been grown for maximum color this year. I shall soon see what lies beneath.

happy digging

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:06PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

cynthia, you might enjoy reading Garden bulbs for the South by Scott Ogden. His book is written especially for the Gulf Coast, but I have found it very useful for me in central Mississippi. He says that once the leaves begin to flop or wilt as fall air becomes cool, it is time to dig the bulbs for winter storage. They need dry (but not too dry. I store mine in my basement), warm air, as you have figured out. It is VERY important not to put them in the ground too early in the spring. If the soil is chilly, they will be stunted and won't develop properly. It's possible this is your problem.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 6:24PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Thanks for the storage tips. Thats about what I've been doing but for the last couple years it hasn't worked out. Maybe my growing conditions are soooooo bad not only does the bulb get smaller it gets so small it just straight out dies. They only get about two months of good growing here (partly because I'm always late to get them planted).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:46AM
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