You may have heard the old saying, “That plant is so easy to grow, all you have to do is plant the green-side up.” I am here to tell you when it comes to Heart to Heart caladium tubers, all you have to do is plant the white side up.
Son James and I took possession of several boxes of Heart to Heart caladium tubers in the early spring. To be honest, it looked like a lot of work. Neither one of us had much experience planting caladium tubers, as he had been using container grown caladiums, and I try to avoid anything resembling hard work. (Just kidding, but you know what I mean.)
We looked at the tubers with almost dread, but as you will see, we were oh so wrong. At least we knew to plant the white side up.
See, Heart to Heart has taken the guesswork out of deciding which side goes up with white marking. You can imagine that studying each tuber to determine the top side would take days to plant for the novice gardener — and for the pros, too. Each tuber has also been de-eyed, meaning you are going to get the maximum-sized foliage.
We each selected our tubers for the various projects and combinations. Cold fronts with temperatures in the 40s kept coming, even in late spring, causing us to delay planting. When planting tubers in the ground you want the soil to be a warm 65 degrees.
While both of us had considered the laborious task of shovel or hand trowels, we opted for Twist ‘n Plant garden augers attached to drills. This will change everything you do in the garden.
The Twist ‘n Plant auger on my cheap cordless drill worked like a charm. I planted 100 caladium bulbs in mere minutes. It was so easy I also used it to plant 4-inch bedding plants the next day. When planting was over, James and I laughed at how we had fretted so needlessly.
You may be wondering what you can do with caladiums. The answer is anything you want. At one office complex, James has created a look that is like a festival of happiness and color. He chose Heart to Heart Bottle Rocket and Heart to Heart Snowdrift intermingling with Surefire begonias, Unplugged So Blue salvias and Diamond Snow euphorbia, with a dash of lime from coleus. He used Heart to Heart caladiums in front porch containers at homes in Old Town of North Columbus mixed with petunias, calibrachoas, begonias and salvias, creating a textural feast for the eyes.
At my house I was a little more old-fashioned, planting Heart to Heart Fast Flash and Heart to Heart Mesmerized with Royal Hawaiian Maui Gold elephant ears all around a windmill palm. The look is lush, exotic and tropical. I strategically placed the Heart to Heart Mesmerized to be in visual proximity to a dozen orange and red Soprano impatiens that will also be making their debut in 2022. There is something wondrous about impatiens and caladiums.
There are a couple dozen Heart to Heart caladiums to choose from, with more additions in 2022. Search for Heart to Heart caladiums online and you’ll find detailed instructions on growing, storing for winter, and choosing the best ones for your amount of sun or shade. Know this: If you have fertile, well-drained soil, you are in business.
Even though it is June, you can still get months of great color. If you are buying tubers, select those that are plump and firm. Plant them about 2 inches deep with the white side up. If you find yourself planting gallon or six-inch containerized plants, set these in the ground with the top of the root ball even with the soil surface.
What can you do with Heart to Heart caladiums? Anything you want. You are the art director. Caladiums with hostas — yes. Caladiums and hydrangeas — perfect. White caladiums to line a shady path — that’s unbeatable too.
Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.