How the Caladium Plantitions Spread Like the Corona Virus

ctto: Caladium bulbs like these varieties are even sold online

Covid-19 pandemic continues to de-center society in many ways, and grounds many Filipinos at home who kill boredom with home gardening. Plantitas and plantitos have sprung up like mushrooms after a long destructive rainstorm. Home gardens everywhere in the country have grown and blossomed more than ever in the history of agriculture-based Philippines. Much smaller-scale in area coverage, yes, but so much wider in varieties and types of plants being nurtured, grown, bartered, gifted, and sold — hey, even uprooted and stolen — this home plantition (my own term) has been one of the positive results of the nasty virus and overly-constraining pandemic.

The varieties of caladium, for example, have become quite staggering, as people purposely and sometimes inadvertently hybridize this already versatile eye-candy. Plant breeders even reach out online to promote their products. Caladiums are this blog’s focus of interest.

ctto: various online photos

Caladiums have come a long, long way from the typical heart-shaped multicolored, shade-loving plants of yesteryears. Now, caladium leaves come in various colors of the rainbow, with different hues and tones of colors. The edges of the leaves are no longer just the plain-edged as more caladium plants have been developed to assume serrated, corrugated, frilled, pointed, and various other configurations. Even the old plain-edged leaves now come as smooth, rough, thick, thin, or sharp-edged. The shape of the leaves have become variants of the heart-shaped originals.

Many caladium varieties sport mottled looks, looking like tie-dyed work of art, while most still have mirror-image punctuations, depressions, and colorations. Even heat-tolerant varieties have been developed, so caladium no longer merely reign as the queen of the shade.

The colorful beauty also comes in various sizes, from diminutive ground-huggers to statuesque five-footers; from vigorous, almost invasive, spreaders through their tubers (often called bulbs) to very behaved plants that stay in one place for years.

Caladium flower – rare and rude-looking

Caladiums rarely flower, but their beautiful foliage guarantees a colorful show wherever they are planted — beneath trees, between shrubs, in perennial borders and in containers, you name it, the emerging plantitas and plantitos have been very innovative and creative with siting their caladium specimen or collection. Anyway, flowers of caladiums may be faintly sweet-smelling but look quite lewd, resembling human reproductive organs, eeew.

Caladium prefers shade or part shade and moisture-retentive soil to thrive and multiply fast. It survives part sun, but the leaves look haggard when intense sunlight blazes on them. Coloration may also diminish in full sun.

It is a low maintenance beauty. However, some people have reported that the plant is toxic if ingested and may cause contact dermatitis on the skin.

WHERE/HOW TO PLANT CALADIUMS

SPECIMEN PLANT: Use one type of caladium to create an undulating sea of leaves. This method works best when you have a very large garden space, and you want to fill it up with the most visual impact.

COLLECTION: Showcase your collection of caladiums by planting them together, making sure contrasting colors and patterns, height and bushiness of plants are nicely considered in your plantings.

CONTAINERS, PATIOS AND DECKS: The foliage of caladiums are attractive enough to decorate your outdoor sitting areas like a lanai. Potted or in planters, white and light-colored caladiums never fail to brighten a shady porch or a covered deck. Punctuate the center with a dark-colored, taller variety for a dramatic contrast.

WINDOW BOXES: Strap leaf caladiums are whole-year attractive plants for your window boxes and hanging planters. Hang them in pots around your home to give your place an even more exotic, tropical feel. Of course, the Philippines is already a tropical paradise. I don’t think there’s harm in over-exploiting the tropical feel. In fact, surrounding your front with potted and boxed caladiums, with pretty foliage, will increase your home’s curb appeal and create a charming “mini-garden” for all to admire.

ENTRYWAYS AND BORDERS: Use fancy leaf caladiums to soften a walkway to your front door, edge a shady garden bed or line a path beneath shade trees and shrubs. My best childhood memory of caladiums was those of our poor, elderly neighbors (Lola Dufina and Lolo Catalino). They were poor, yet their dilapidated humble on-stilts bamboo-and-nipa house that precariously tilted to one side looked exotic as it had multi-colored caladiums lining its short dirt walkway and an expanse of white-splashed caladiums surrounding the dirty kitchen and the outhouse toilet at the back.

Caladium “Aaron” has long been a favorite for its pure white splashes on substantive heart-shaped leaves

COMPANION PLANTS IN THE GARDEN: Depending on which varieties you choose, caladiums can be bright and flashy or cool and sophisticated. The pinks, greens and whites pair beautifully with other soft colors, and the red-leaved varieties can hold their own when combined with hot-colored begonias, coleus and impatiens. Caladiums pair well with dainty-leaved shrubs and with ornamental grasses. At the feet of lubi lubi (ornamental palm trees), caladiums look splendid and calming. Ferns and caladiums look good together as well.

Caladiums are exactly the type of leaf attractions you want in your garden. When it comes to unapologetic and audacious color, the foliage of the caladium alone can stand to the competition of any flowers near them. These beautiful plants are a jewel in your garden. Planting caladiums is the best pick for your pesos in this pandemic stay-at-home times.

Hurry though, for if you haven’t yet grabbed as many caladium plantlets as you can, pretty soon the Filipinos’ ningas cogon attitude will soon drive the prices of these leaf divas to pandemonium level if the pandemic rages much longer. The once lowly caladiums have exploded in varieties, color combinations, and popularity. They have proven themselves to be part of your indoor and your garden’s A-lister plants. Caladium plantition it is, folks! It’s spreading as wildly as the Covid-19 virus.

Covid-19 pandemic continues to de-center society in many ways, and grounds many Filipinos at home who kill boredom with home gardening. Plantitas and plantitos have sprung up like mushrooms after a long destructive rainstorm. Home gardens everywhere in the country have grown and blossomed more than ever in the history of agriculture-based Philippines. Much smaller-scale […]

ctto: Caladium bulbs like these varieties are even sold online

Covid-19 pandemic continues to de-center society in many ways, and grounds many Filipinos at home who kill boredom with home gardening. Plantitas and plantitos have sprung up like mushrooms after a long destructive rainstorm. Home gardens everywhere in the country have grown and blossomed more than ever in the history of agriculture-based Philippines. Much smaller-scale in area coverage, yes, but so much wider in varieties and types of plants being nurtured, grown, bartered, gifted, and sold — hey, even uprooted and stolen — this home plantition (my own term) has been one of the positive results of the nasty virus and overly-constraining pandemic.

The varieties of caladium, for example, have become quite staggering, as people purposely and sometimes inadvertently hybridize this already versatile eye-candy. Plant breeders even reach out online to promote their products. Caladiums are this blog’s focus of interest.

ctto: various online photos

Caladiums have come a long, long way from the typical heart-shaped multicolored, shade-loving plants of yesteryears. Now, caladium leaves come in various colors of the rainbow, with different hues and tones of colors. The edges of the leaves are no longer just the plain-edged as more caladium plants have been developed to assume serrated, corrugated, frilled, pointed, and various other configurations. Even the old plain-edged leaves now come as smooth, rough, thick, thin, or sharp-edged. The shape of the leaves have become variants of the heart-shaped originals.

Many caladium varieties sport mottled looks, looking like tie-dyed work of art, while most still have mirror-image punctuations, depressions, and colorations. Even heat-tolerant varieties have been developed, so caladium no longer merely reign as the queen of the shade.

The colorful beauty also comes in various sizes, from diminutive ground-huggers to statuesque five-footers; from vigorous, almost invasive, spreaders through their tubers (often called bulbs) to very behaved plants that stay in one place for years.

Caladium flower – rare and rude-looking

Caladiums rarely flower, but their beautiful foliage guarantees a colorful show wherever they are planted — beneath trees, between shrubs, in perennial borders and in containers, you name it, the emerging plantitas and plantitos have been very innovative and creative with siting their caladium specimen or collection. Anyway, flowers of caladiums may be faintly sweet-smelling but look quite lewd, resembling human reproductive organs, eeew.

Caladium prefers shade or part shade and moisture-retentive soil to thrive and multiply fast. It survives part sun, but the leaves look haggard when intense sunlight blazes on them. Coloration may also diminish in full sun.

It is a low maintenance beauty. However, some people have reported that the plant is toxic if ingested and may cause contact dermatitis on the skin.

WHERE/HOW TO PLANT CALADIUMS

SPECIMEN PLANT: Use one type of caladium to create an undulating sea of leaves. This method works best when you have a very large garden space, and you want to fill it up with the most visual impact.

COLLECTION: Showcase your collection of caladiums by planting them together, making sure contrasting colors and patterns, height and bushiness of plants are nicely considered in your plantings.

CONTAINERS, PATIOS AND DECKS: The foliage of caladiums are attractive enough to decorate your outdoor sitting areas like a lanai. Potted or in planters, white and light-colored caladiums never fail to brighten a shady porch or a covered deck. Punctuate the center with a dark-colored, taller variety for a dramatic contrast.

WINDOW BOXES: Strap leaf caladiums are whole-year attractive plants for your window boxes and hanging planters. Hang them in pots around your home to give your place an even more exotic, tropical feel. Of course, the Philippines is already a tropical paradise. I don’t think there’s harm in over-exploiting the tropical feel. In fact, surrounding your front with potted and boxed caladiums, with pretty foliage, will increase your home’s curb appeal and create a charming “mini-garden” for all to admire.

ENTRYWAYS AND BORDERS: Use fancy leaf caladiums to soften a walkway to your front door, edge a shady garden bed or line a path beneath shade trees and shrubs. My best childhood memory of caladiums was those of our poor, elderly neighbors (Lola Dufina and Lolo Catalino). They were poor, yet their dilapidated humble on-stilts bamboo-and-nipa house that precariously tilted to one side looked exotic as it had multi-colored caladiums lining its short dirt walkway and an expanse of white-splashed caladiums surrounding the dirty kitchen and the outhouse toilet at the back.

Caladium “Aaron” has long been a favorite for its pure white splashes on substantive heart-shaped leaves

COMPANION PLANTS IN THE GARDEN: Depending on which varieties you choose, caladiums can be bright and flashy or cool and sophisticated. The pinks, greens and whites pair beautifully with other soft colors, and the red-leaved varieties can hold their own when combined with hot-colored begonias, coleus and impatiens. Caladiums pair well with dainty-leaved shrubs and with ornamental grasses. At the feet of lubi lubi (ornamental palm trees), caladiums look splendid and calming. Ferns and caladiums look good together as well.

Caladiums are exactly the type of leaf attractions you want in your garden. When it comes to unapologetic and audacious color, the foliage of the caladium alone can stand to the competition of any flowers near them. These beautiful plants are a jewel in your garden. Planting caladiums is the best pick for your pesos in this pandemic stay-at-home times.

Hurry though, for if you haven’t yet grabbed as many caladium plantlets as you can, pretty soon the Filipinos’ ningas cogon attitude will soon drive the prices of these leaf divas to pandemonium level if the pandemic rages much longer. The once lowly caladiums have exploded in varieties, color combinations, and popularity. They have proven themselves to be part of your indoor and your garden’s A-lister plants. Caladium plantition it is, folks! It’s spreading as wildly as the Covid-19 virus.

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