Grow Beautiful Caladiums Year After Year

\"mixedCaladiums are the perfect foliage plant for creating bold, bright colors in shady areas. Caladiums are considered annual foliage plants, and are usually tossed at the end of the season and replaced the following year. But with a little care, your caladiums can be saved year after year and even grown indoors during winter months. Typically, caladiums are “lifted”—dug up and taken inside, either in the form of tubers (like a potato) or as the whole plant. Once nighttime temperatures drop to about 50 degrees, your foliage will start to look a little sad. This is the time to cut your plant back to the soil line. Then, using a garden fork, lift your tubers and brush off any excess soil. Place the tubers in shallow boxes and just barely cover them with a light medium such as peat moss. Keep that medium moist, but not wet, and in a temperature range of 70-80°F. As spring approaches, they’ll sprout; at that point, replant them in a rich soil full of humus. If you’re growing caladiums in pots, you can also bring them inside and use them as houseplants during winter months. Sometime around January, the plants will start to look a bit old and cranky. At that point, stop watering them and let the foliage die back, then lop off the foliage and store the tubers as outlined above. By the way, what exactly is a tuber? And how is it different from a corm? Well, both are underground food storage organs, closely related to bulbs and rhizomes. Corms consist of a dry, papery outer layer formed from semi-developed leaves. These protect the inner structure that houses the food supply and a bud. Tubers more closely resemble potatoes and are formed from a stem or root and develop eyes (or buds) all over the surface from which shoots form. These shoots grow upward and form plants. See? Everything you wanted (and perhaps didn’t want) to know about caladiums! The point is, you don’t have to throw them away each year. Show the world your gardening prowess by storing your tubers and bringing them back to life next spring. Your neighbors will think you’re a gardening guru!