The View from My Cup…Caladiums

The view from my cup…Caladiums, summer’s showy foliage. I plant them every year, and they never disappoint. The hardest thing about planting them is finding them. Most box stores are overflowing with petunias and begonias, but nonflowering plants are at a premium. Unless you count hostas, which I don’t. They are available by the hundreds. It always puzzles me, as they are perennials, not annuals, yet are typically clumped in the annual section. Maybe some people plant them in containers to be discarded at the end of the season, I don’t know. Usually, coleus is plentiful too. I like them and usually buy quite a few. But, at least around here, you have to buy caladium early, or they are all gone.

Caladiums are the true crown jewel of summer foliage. Stately and colorful yet understated. The basic colors are variations of a white, green, and pink theme. All beautiful, and I can’t choose a favorite, although I lean toward the white with green veins. But the green and pink are lovely as well. You see the dilemma in choosing a favorite.

The huge leaves, dinner plate size or better, are often used as the centerpiece of a mixed floral planter. If you follow the “thrill, fill, and spill” philosophy, the caladium is always a thrill plant. (for the uninitiated, the ‘thrill’ is the tall centerpiece, ‘fill’ are the numerous, often flowering plants surrounding the thrill plant, and ‘spill’ is the vining plants trailing over the side. The recipe for a balanced, pleasing to the eye arrangement.)

Although occasionally a ‘thrill’ plant on my patio, I tend to favor large pots of caladium standing alone. They need no help to impress. Recently, looking at a plant catalog, I discovered them with BLUE leaves! Be still my heart! Next year’s patio might take on a new hue. Stay tuned!