I bought about 50 caladium bulbs and planted them 30 days ago. To date, not one plant is growing. Is there any chance they will bloom in time?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Kay: Caladiums provide colorful foliage to any shade garden or container. Native to South America, these tropicals require warm soil and air temperatures to thrive. They should only be planted outdoors when air temperatures range between 65-75 degrees F, including nighttime temperatures. Did you plant these directly in the garden or did you start them indoors? It may be that the temperatures have not been warm enough for them to put on any growth. Depending on conditions it can take up to eight weeks for these bulbs to show any sign of life, so patience is a must when it comes to these plants. As with any bulb, rot can be a problem when they are exposed to cold temperatures and/or excess moisture. The soil should be evenly moist in order for them to grow but it should never be sopping wet. They should be planted 1-1/2 inches deep. For now you can gingerly pull up a couple of bulbs to make sure they have not rotted. If they are still firm, put them back in the soil and wait patiently. For future reference you can dig up these bulbs in the late summer/early fall, cut back the foliage, and store them for next year. Allow them to dry before placing them in a brown paper bag and store them in a dark cool space; air temperature around 55-60 degrees F is ideal. Then you can pot them up indoors the following spring to get a jump start on the growing season. A heat mat may be beneficial since they do take so long to come up.