Rosebud Elephant Ear
A Tricolor Palette that Enlivens Shady Spots
Rosebud Caladium (Caladium x hortulanum 'Rosebud'), also known as 'elephant ear', looks like it was plucked from an artist's canvas. This botanical masterpiece has heart-shaped leaves that are edged in green, splashed with white and accented with deep-pink centers – breathtaking! Rosebud Caladium is unrivaled as a colorful addition to your shade garden, flourishing even in the darkest garden nook where other plants struggle. You can grow this tropical treasure with the simplest of care... even if you live in a temperate or cooler climate.
• Planting depth. Rosebud 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 Rosebud Caladium, tend to fade if they get too much sun (or the "green" may overtake the "white" and "pink"). So find a shady spot that receives – at most – a little filtered sunlight.
• Moist, not soggy soil. As a tropical plant, Rosebud 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 Rosebud 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
Rosebud 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
Rosebud 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 Rosebud 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 Rosebud 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.