|Growing Zones:||4-10 (potted) 9-10 (in ground)|
|What's my zone?||
|Mature Height:||1-2 ft.|
|Mature Width:||1-2 ft.|
|Sunlight:||Full - Partial|
|Botanical:||Caladium x hortulanum 'Florida Cardinal'|
|Cannot Ship to:||AZ|
|Plant Directions:||Sent with Order|
Florida Cardinal Elephant Ear
You’ll be Seeing Red…but in a Good Way!
If you like bold, vibrant colors in your landscape, Florida Cardinal Caladium (Caladium x hortulanum 'Florida Cardinal'), also known as 'elephant ear', is a must-have for your shade garden collection. Vivid red splashes against a border of green on each heart-shaped leaf make dark garden areas spring to life. In shady spots where other plants struggle without direct sunlight, Florida Cardinal flourishes. You can grow this tropical treasure even if you live in a temperate or cooler climate…with the simplest of care.
• Planting depth. Florida Cardinal Caladium grows from an underground tuber, which you plant like other garden bulbs. You'll appreciate not having to dig deep holes as some other bulbs require, because caladium tubers need planting only two inches below ground.
• Prevent sunburn. Yes, even plants can get sunburn! In plant-talk, this doesn't mean the leaves will turn red as human skin does, but they'll turn brown. And some brightly-colored foliage plants, such as Florida Cardinal Caladium, tend to fade if they get too much sun (or the "green" may overtake the "red"). So find a shady spot that receives – at most – a little filtered sunlight.
• Moist, not soggy soil. As a tropical plant, Florida Cardinal Caladium likes moist soil. Just make sure, though, that the soil is not soggy or the tuber may rot.
• Indoor growing. If your idea of gardening is growing houseplants, you'll be delighted to know that you can easily grow Florida Cardinal Caladium indoors!
Which End is Up?
Look for the knobby growths on a caladium tuber – the buds or eyes – and plant the tuber with these facing upward. But don't worry…even if you plant the tubers upside down, the plant will still grow. It may just take a little longer for the leaves to emerge.
Hot, Hot, Hot
Florida Cardinal Caladium is indefatigable in hot weather. Plant the tubers outside – well after the chilly nights in spring have given way to warm nights in summer. Cold soil can actually delay the growth of caladiums significantly.
A Container Masterpiece
Florida Cardinal Caladium is a perfect potted plant:
• It grows super-fast.
• The tubers don't need a deep container.
• Pots can be placed under trees where tree roots may make digging in the ground difficult.
Because Florida Cardinal Caladium is a tropical plant, it's a perennial only in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. So if you live outside this hardiness range, the tubers cannot survive the cold temperatures of winter. Although some people grow caladiums as annuals, you can easily store them inside during winter and plant them outside the following spring.
• Dig the tubers after the foliage dies to the ground in autumn, before the first frost.
• Remove the dead leaves, shake the dirt off the tubers and store in paper (not plastic) bags that contain peat moss or vermiculite.
• Store in a dry, warm, dark spot, such as a closet or on top of the refrigerator. (For example, don't store in an unheated garage or outside storage shed.)
• Wait until the ground has warmed up in late spring or early summer before planting the tubers outside again.
• If you grow Florida Cardinal Caladium as a houseplant, the leaves will start dying after about six months of active growth. This is normal. The tuber simply needs a rest period. So when you see the leaves wither and die back, withhold watering and follow the winter storage instructions above with one exception: you can store potted plants in their containers. After several months of "resting," watch for new growth before you place the pots into a brightly-lit room and resume watering.