I’ll admit it – I’ve never given much thought to caladiums.
But having trialed several this year (thanks to the generous folks at Classic Caladiums) I can proudly say I’m a Caladium Convert!
Similar to coleus, they come in a psychedelic array of color combinations,.
Caladiums, however, seem to have more of an air of elegance about them. The foliage is simultaneously light and delicate while making a strong a visual impact.
One reason why I’m now a caladium fan is its ability to create magical color echo combinations.
Take the ‘Candyland’ variety (left) for example.
On its own, the narrow heart-shaped leaves streaked with light pink are pretty enough, but when paired with a nandina (below)- look out!
The nandina’s early summer foliage is primarily green, harmonizing with the green color in the caladium leaves.
But once cooler temps arrive, and the nandina’s foliage turns shades of red, pink and maroon the resulting color echoes are nothing short of spectacular.
Another favorite of mine is ‘White Star’.
The ethereal ghostly white foliage, tinged with just a tiny splash of pink in the center, is mesmerizing.
But what I love so much is the slightly undulating shape of the oversized leaf.
Those wavy edges provide a sense of motion, even on the stillest of day, adding a visually dynamic element to a simple container.
In my zone 9 garden, the caladiums grew much easier in containers rather than planted directly in the soil.
This doesn’t really surprise me since despite regular amendments to my clay-based soil, it’ll never be the nutrient rich, fast draining soil caladiums crave.
Combine that with our drought-like summer conditions and the poor moisture-loving caladiums have an uphill battle.
The solution is to plant them in a container (with really good soil) in a semi-shady spot and give them somewhat regular watering. Do that and you’ll be rewarded with months and months of gorgeous color.
When it comes time to overwinter them, unless you live in the tropical south you’ll have to dig them up in early fall, let the tubers dry for a few days and place them in a dry area to store.
In addition to planting caladiums in pots, I wanted to show you a few other ways you can incorporate them into your garden.
Caladiums are natural companion plants for impatiens, begonias and ferns, and as such are an excellent choice for window boxes.
Michigan-based Deborah Silver is an amazing designer and is is The Queen when it comes to creating the most jaw-dropping window boxes, many of which feature caladiums. Below are just a few of her gorgeous creations.
For more window box inspiration, click here.
Another of my favorite landscape designers who gardens in a vastly different climate than Michigan, Austin-based Jenny Peterson.
I would never dream that caladiums could thrive in Austin’s hot temperatures, but look how Jenny has used them – bordering the swimming pool!
And the reflection they cast – absolutely magical.
With a mind-boggling array of colors, sizes and foliage shapes, surely there’s a caladium just right for your garden.