Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Overwintering Caladium

It's been a minute, hasn't it?  In the past couple of months, we've been busy getting the new vegetable garden ready...and, as usual, it's taken a lot longer than we anticipated.  But we are almost at the finish line.  So exciting!

11 new beds plus a good 3" layer
of chunky wood chips in the paths....

We also decided to take a much needed vacation at the beginning of September - and we all know how that goes.  A one week vacation actually eats up 3 weeks when you take into account the amount of time spent getting ready for the vacation, going on the vacation, then catching up after the vacation 😎.

A garden renovation post is on the way, likely when the garden is put to bed.  Todays post is about something I did just this morning - digging up the caladiums.  I've never grown nor overwintered them before so figured a little bloggy journal entry was in order.

I purchased a generous pot of Proven Winners Heart to Heart 'White Wonder' caladiums back in May and they have lived in a pot by my front porch ever since.  They stayed on the small side until mid-summer when they finally poked their heads out of the surrounding annuals as if to say 'here I am!'

Early July

For the past week or so the nights have been getting cooler so it was time to pull them up.  My plan is to overwinter the tubers so that I can plant them up again next year.

Tubers dug up

One thing that I did not know about caladiums is that the sap can be irritating - using gloves when digging and trimming them is a good idea.

I did a bit of research and, as is usually the case with things like this, I saw differing opinions on how to  prepare them for curing.  Some said to dig them up, then cut off both the roots and the stems.

I gently shook most of the soil off to reveal the tuber

Other sites said to leave everything intact and cut everything off only after the tubers had cured.  Well, I decided to do a hybrid.  I cut off the roots, but left the leaves on.

Roots cut off to within about a cm of the tuber,
so as not to damage it.

Since we always leave leaves (hee hee!) to die down on bulbs so that they supply them with as much energy as possible, I figured I would do the same for the caladium.  I then placed the tubers on a few sheets of newspaper in our spare room.  The windows in this room are south facing & if I leave the blinds open, it heats up quite a bit during the day creating the perfect temperature for them to cure, which takes 3-4 weeks.  Just a note, though, that the tubers themselves are in a corner of the room that does not receive direct sunlight...I want them to cure, not bake!

In a warm room to cure

One final note - caladiums are toxic to both pets and humans which means it's important to keep these away from children, both the two and four legged kind 😁

I've marked 4 weeks on my calendar, so that I remember to pack them up once they have cured.  Caladiums aren't the only annuals that I'm planning on wintering over...there are a few more that I'll write about in the coming weeks.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

10 comments:

  1. 11 new veggie beds--wow, that is exciting! You are busy, busy! I'll follow your posts about overwintering the Caladiums. I've grown them for years, but never tried to overwinter them. Cheers!

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    1. I'll be trying to overwinter a few things for the first time - we'll see if it's worth the trouble :)

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  2. Fingers crossed that they overwinter well for you and come back bigger and better next year. Those are very smart raised beds, you must be very pleased with them.

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    1. Thank you Jo :) There were a right pain to build as the wood was "rough cut" lumber and, unbeknownst to me, the boards varied in both length and width. But it came together in the end and I'm very happy with the results.

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  3. You were already the veggie queen in my eyes but eleven new beds takes that up several notches - I'll now think of you as the Veggie Empress! I hope your experiment with the Caladium bulbs is successful. I dig up my dahlia tubers each year (to make room in my cutting garden for cool season plants) and so far that's worked well for me. I'm lucky that I can leave Caladium bulbs in the ground, although one group hasn't appeared at all this year (I'm blame our exceptionally dry conditions) and those that came up elsewhere are dinky.

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    1. You are too funny, Kris :) I've had pretty good luck with dahlia tubers as well (after my first attempt which was a total flop!). Now that I have a method that works for me, I find wintering over tubers to be quite satisfying and it's so much easier than wintering over plants (famous last words!). That's too bad about your caladium tubers. I wonder if they will rebound (or reappear) in future once you get some wetter weather.

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  4. Good luck with the new vegetable garden! This summer we've been awash with tomatoes and the leeks did OK too. Sadly, something was eating the pumpkin plant so we didn't have much luck there.

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    1. Hurray for a bumper crop of tomatoes, Nikki! Every year has its successes & challenges, no matter how many years we've been at it - we're always learning!

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  5. Hello there Margaret ! WOW !!! Are you going to open a market stall with all those VEGGIES you will be harvesting from ALL those beds !!!? LOL
    That is amazing .. I can't even imagine the crops you will have.
    I like those caladium such a pretty colour .. I think I had them one year, but then I cut back on just essentials because my gardens needed so much attention .. perennials can be a little demanding when you are a detail person ? LOL .. Good luck with the curing, I'm sure it will all work out beautifully ! .. Happy Thanksgiving !!

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    1. Ha! No garden market, just plenty of variety :) I'm not a huge fan of overwintering plants as finding a spot for them then taking care of them all winter is a right pain (although I am going to try that with a couple this year as I'm so in love with them!); digging up a few bulbs and holding them in the basement until spring is easy by comparison. Of course I say that and then they'll dry out or rot, but it's all a learning process right? Took me a couple of failed attempts to figure out how best to store dahlias in my environment, but it was worth it :) Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Joy!

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