Friday, August 31, 2012

Colored Leaves

One foliage which gives so much charm and color in the garden is the caladium, Caladium bicolor. They are planted for the beauty of their leaves and not necessarily for the blooms. In our hot tropics they come alive during the rainy season, but lay dormant under the ground during the dry season, leafless and sleeping. 

My caladiums are the old varieties, from friends, from old residential locations, or requested from some big clumps found anywhere in the country. In fact, once while I was in a garden show in a public area, I saw a very small caladium sprout on the roadside which i got and nurtured till it grows bigger and now already lovely.

 The above variety has normally very long petioles, so i planted it in shallow plastic container and nutrientless soil. I wanted it to be a bit nutrient deprived so it will get stunted, and hopefully not produce very long petioles. And there it is now, according to my wish, stunted with short petioles. This is just starting to grow, so it will be lovelier in a few weeks.

This variety also have very long petioles and wide leaves. The disadvantage of long petioles is the tendency to droop when there is water shortage. A strong sun is enough to wilt them, so i guess short petioles will be better. I planted this in an area with much eroded topsoil. The rock is basically calcareous or rich in limestone, so to get nutrients the plant has to crack the crevices. Again, my wish is granted, their petioles are shorter with narrower leaves.

are they not lovely?

 The above are of two varieties just starting to send off leaves. Can you see the rose as their muse!

 A month of rains without much intense sunshine propel this variety to produce more leaves. The intense red center and dark green margins make this a favorite.

 The above is not producing much leaves yet as it shares a small space with the Sansevieria. But this variety has comparatively shorter petioles and narrower leaves. I actually love this one.

 The oldest variety of them all, which could be the mother of most caladium hybrids. It has produced a lot of corms in the property, because i see a lot of volunteers anywhere. Sometimes i uproot them for a nicer spot.

 I have been a little guilty with this one. The first leaf is not yet ready to unfurl, but i don't have much time as I am leaving already for the city. Two days are not enough for it to totally open, so i helped it tenderly to open, so I can peep into its leaf design. It is not planted there purposely, so I don't know its exact patterns.

 The above is the forcedly opened leaf, but it still cling to its own curl.

So with force from my stronger hands, i pried it to open, although the margins are still adamant to follow me. I can now observe that its pattern is different from those which are already there with us, and i love it. This is actually just the first leaf to grow. It has a leathery almost transparent center, with totally absent chlorophyll, and just spread along the margins. 

You might disagree with me with the above photo. Yes you are right it is not a Caladium, even if their leaf shapes are the same. They are of the same family, but this is a taro or Colocasia esculenta.

ff   blumen zum wochenende
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  1. You do have some beauties in your collection. I have only a few Caladiums and certainly not as many varieties as you have. They are very hard to find in my area now.

  2. I have only started to collect some caladiums a few months ago and bought some small plants which I kept in pots over Winter. They go dormant here in the cooler weather. Do yours grow all year round? I'm hoping mine become as strong as yours with time.

  3. Caladiums are gorgeous foliage plants! They can be a bit tricky to get going here but do love seeing them in the tropics :)

  4. They are lovely. You have some great varieties. Wish I could do them here without pulling them in Winter.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  5. Wonderful leaves in green-red. Beautiful catched !

  6. I have caladiums in my garden in pots and can't get enough of them. Yours are gorgeous with the red stars in them and beautiful variegation. Love these! On my recent pond tour the caladiums were a big hit with visitors too.

  7. Hi Andrea,

    Your caladiums are stunning! I just love all the pretty variegated leaves. They are only annuals where I live, but maybe next year I will plant some in my shade garden. Thanks so much for stopping to visit me.

  8. You have some gorgeous caladiums! Caladiums are among my favorite for adding color to shady areas. Unfortunately, they are not hardy here. I am so envious that they just plant themselves around your garden and come up reliably every year!

  9. they are gorgeous. out here they can get very expensive too, because they're considered indoor ornamental plants.

  10. Caladiums are so gorgeous, Andrea. I tried one year to grow them here --but our weather is not good for them (too cold in winter)... I grow Hosta instead which it not nearly as colorful...

    How are you feeling? Better I hope.

    Have a great weekend.

  11. Terrific work here.... just great!!

  12. These are some of my favorite plants to place in pots around our gardens here. I like mixing Caladiums with the Colocasia plants. They look so nice together. Fun colors. But seasonal and disappear in winter.
    As for mushrooms, I can see where you might be a little sensitive:) Hope your feeling a tad better. They can be scary.

  13. They are beautiful, I really enjoyed seeing them. They are tricky here as our nights are only warm enough for a few weeks to make them happy. I love the colors.

  14. love this post with your pictures and information! thank you. I am your newest follower.

  15. I have Colocasia and Syngonium but no caladiums yet. They are definite in my wish list.

    1. I know caladium is common and can be very accessible in Malaysia, so i will not send you this, haha! I am glad today, i bought 3 bulbs of red amaryllis, just bulb without leaves. I will plant them in the province and hope in two years i will have the bloom.

  16. These are really pretty! A consideration for me because I'm thinking aobut a major redo in my front perennial gardens. I'm thinking about doing more colored foliage, monochromatic colors - maroons, different shades of green, etc.

  17. Beautiful! I love the colors and the patterns.

  18. Those variegated leaves are lovely Andrea - makes me wish I had a tropical greenhouse to grow them in ...

  19. I prefer shorter petioles and narrower leaves too.
    It stays gorgeous that way :)

  20. I love these but they seem to be very fragile, I never managed to take proper care of them.

  21. Not sure about the rose being a muse - the caladiums seem to be pretty inspired by themselves.

  22. Hi Andrea,
    I enjoyed seeing your lovely caladiums. I think it is very cool that you have some old varieties, and are keeping them going.


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