From the Sperry Garden – October, 2007

There is history and a story behind these caladiums. Let’s start with the history.

My very good friend Bob Brackman, then of the Dallas Arboretum and now Director of the San Antonio Botanic Gardens, did pioneering research 16 or 18 years ago regarding caladiums (a) grown in full sun and/or (b) planted later in the season. He conducted his research for several summers and I was amazed at the results. The landscaping industry has taken note and caladiums are more popular than ever before — and in places we never dared try them before.

That said, the story on these particular caladiums. Another friend (who also happens to be the world’s main distributor of caladiums) sent me some trial tubers late in the spring. My wife and I were about to leave town for 10 days and I set them aside in the garage. To be honest, I forgot about them for several weeks, and it was July 20 before we got the tubers potted up and watered. What you see are the plants that have come on so strongly in the ensuing 6 weeks!

From Bob’s research, I know that these plants will be colorful for the rest of the growing season. They will look good longer into the fall than other caladiums that were set out in April. They’ll still put on their great show, only these plants are looking good at a time when I really need the color in my garden. It’s been a really difficult summer. These plants are like a refreshing breeze.

Thanks, Harry, for the trial tubers, and thanks, Bob, for showing us all the way. In the future I’m planning on buying my caladium tubers when stocks are plentiful in the spring, then waiting until June or early July to plant them.

Oh, to all his friends, I had dinner with Bob in San Antonio two weeks ago while attending the big nursery trade show. He’s doing great at his new position. It’s wonderful to have him back in Texas after 13 years in Nashville.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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