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Many colored leaves

April 19, 2019
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Please add some cool color to your summer garden. Now is the time to decide which plant to choose from, a choice of at least 40 colors, with solid and/or multi colored leaves.

The plants are the easy care tropical caladiums that can be planted right now or any time in the next few spring months.

You may buy and plant these plants even in July, after visiting the annual Caladium Festival in Lake Placed, Florida.

The festival this year starts Saturday, July 27, and runs to Monday, July 29.

This is the 39th year for the festival, which features the lovely caladiums as well as arts and crafts, strawberries and ice cream, music and wine tasting.

There is also an air-conditioned bus ride down through acres of colorful caladiums that the area has been growing since the 1940s.

The event and parking are free and there are lots of old shady trees. The perfect hot July place to visit.

The Garden Club always sells small bags of these plants at its Annual Garden and Plant Sale, in the Cape. You might have missed that but you have plenty of time to seek out some of these easy care plants and beautify your landscape.

They come in short 1-foot tall plants, 2-foot tall plants and a very small size.

The leaf styles are mainly fancy style or the lance or strap leaf style.

The fancy leafs are very large with an elegant heart shape, are on long stems and between 1 and 3 feet tall.

The lance or strap leafed are a more compact growth, with the leaves smaller, narrower and thicker, and grow to about 1 foot. Because they produce a more compact style they are good as a hanging plant, or window box.

Containers need to be kept moist and be able to drain freely.

Garden plants also need well draining soil and watering during a dry spell. The summer rains or summer sprinkler systems work well.

These plants are so versatile in the landscape; they are good as an edging plant, as a formal planting or drift planting. A large shady tree could be circled with some of the larger plants.

Caladiums are mainly bright sun and light shade plants. Morning sun and shady afternoon. A dappled shade space is good. Read your plant description and find one that is a good full sun or full shade plant.

These plants are a tuber plant, although they are often described as a bulb plant. You need to know that the knobby end of the tuber sets upright and the smooth end is the down side.

A tuber planted upside down will actually grow and find its way to the sunlight, however it will take longer.

Plant about 2 inches deep and water in after planting to set the tuber well. Space about six inches apart. No pests for these plants.

Plants do not need a lot of fertilizer unless your soil is not good soil. Wait a week or two and see growth. This is a perennial plant and it will die back in fall and come up in spring, if a dry spring, water.A summer shot of liquid fertilizer will be fine.

No plant trimming is necessary, just pull or cut a spent leaf.

Some interesting plant names are Miss Muffet, my favorite, and a Smaller Cultivar, with petit freckles of rose on a creamy white background and a pale green heart shaped edging.

Candidum is also heart shaped with large green edging and veins. It is a cool shade of crackled green and just looks cool in the garden.

This one can be 20 inches tall or a junior only 12 inches tall. The is one that definitely needs shade.

White Christmas is "white" and will show you at night. New colors this year are Tinker Bell, Florida Sunrise and Florida Calypso -- that sounds like a great one.

You can plant all of these up North in your summer garden, you just need to dig them up for the winter, lay them in a box with some soil around them and lay some newspaper over them, or whatever you already do for anything you dig and over winter for spring.

You can order these plants also.

Check your computer for the caladiums and Lake Placid, Florida.

This Saturday is the Butterfly, Native and Edible plant sale in Rotary Park. You will be sure to find something interesting there, or maybe just some answers to your gardening questions, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wear sunscreen.

Good Friday, Passover and Easter round up this weekend.

Happy celebrations to all however you wish to celebrate.

Happy Gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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