Trial Results 2013 – Caladiums

If you like variegated foliage, then you will love Caladiums. Caladiums (Caladium bicolor) are great summer foliage plants to provide that tropical look in the landscape in Houston. They work well in mass plantings, or in small pockets adding splashes of color in either sun or shade conditions. Caladiums also perform well as container plants.

Caladium full sun trial at Bear Creek

Caladium full sun trial at Bear Creek

 

Caladiums are classified into two groups: fancy-leaf varieties that prefer semi-shade to shade conditions and produce a larger plant with full heart-shaped leaves; and strap-leaf varieties that prefer sunny conditions and produce a smaller pointed leaf and are lower growing. Caladiums are also available in many colors often as bicolors or tri-colors.

Since Caladiums thrive under our summer growing conditions, we wanted to evaluate their performance under both sun and shade conditions.

EVALUATION:

The trials were planted in May, 2013 at the Bear Creek trial gardens and the Genoa Friendship Garden in Precinct 2. The tubers were planted 1 ½ – 2 ½” below the soil on 12” centers within the rows and were spaced 12” between the rows. Thirty-six varieties were planted, 17 fancy-leaf varieties which prefer shade and 19 strap leaf which prefer sun. Data was collected every 2 weeks from June through September for garden performance. The varieties were evaluated on leaf color, uniformity of habit, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance. A 1-5 scale was used for scoring, with “5” being exceptional and “1” ready for the compost heap. 

RESULTS:

Shade Trial Bear Creek:  Table 1 shows the scores for each variety in the shade trial. The top 10 varieties were Mount Everest, Fireworks, White Cap, White Wonder, White Delight, Sweetheart, Tapestry, Aaron, Miss Muffet and White Majesty. Interesting to note that 6 of the top 10 varieties were strap leaf types that normally prefer full sun conditions. All of the varieties provided exceptional color in the shade, although we did see improved color intensity in the shade trial when compared with their counterparts in the sun.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

 

Table 1. Caladium shade trial results – Bear Creek.

Variety

Score

Type*

Mount Everest

5.00

S

Fireworks

4.84

F

White Cap

4.83

F

White Wonder

4.79

S

White Delight

4.75

S

Sweetheart

4.71

S

Tapestry

4.67

F

Aaron

4.67

F

Miss Muffet

4.58

S

White Majesty

4.54

S

Candyland

4.50

S

Rasberry Moon

4.50

F

Fire Chief

4.38

F

Florida calypso

4.13

F

High Lighter

4.09

S

Rosemary

4.09

S

Summer Pink

4.09

F

Pink Gem

4.00

S

Pink Splash

4.00

F

Red Flash

4.00

F

Rose Glow

4.00

F

Lance Wharton

3.96

S

Starburst

3.96

S

White Christmas

3.96

F

Red Ruffles

3.92

S

Candidum Senior

3.88

F

White Dynasty

3.80

S

Peppermint

3.71

S

Elise

3.63

F

Red Frill

3.59

S

White Marble

3.58

S

Garden White

3.33

F

Carolyn Wharton

2.88

F

Moonlight

2.54

F

Hearts Delight

2.17

S

Gingerland

0.50

S

*S=strap leaf, F = fancy-leaf. 

Sun Trial Bear Creek: Table 2 shows the results for each variety under full sun conditions. The top 10 varieties were Carolyn Wharton, White Delight, Candyland, Peppermint, Sweetheart, White Wonder, Red Flash, Florida Calypso, Starburst and Fireworks. Four of the top 10 varieties were fancy leaf types that normally prefer shade conditions. The foliage color had a tendency to fade as the summer progressed and as the foliage matured, it was impressive to see how well they all performed throughout the season. 

Carolyn Wharton

Carolyn Wharton

 

Table 2. Caladium sun trial results at Bear Creek.

Variety

Score

Type

Carolyn Wharton

4.27

F

White Delight

4.14

S

Candyland

4.12

S

Peppermint

4.12

S

Sweetheart

4.09

S

White Wonder

4.09

S

Red Flash

4.07

F

Florida Calypso

4.05

F

Starburst

4.05

S

Fire Works

4.03

F

Summer Pink

3.98

F

Lance Wharton

3.96

S

White Marble

3.94

S

Elise

3.93

F

Gingerland

3.91

S

Tapestry

3.84

F

Hearts Delight

3.82

S

Pink Splash

3.82

F

Red Ruffles

3.82

S

Raspberry Moon

3.75

F

White Cap

3.64

F

Aaron

3.55

F

Mount Everest

3.55

S

Rosemary

3.55

S

Pink Gem

3.48

S

Fire Chief

3.46

F

White Dynasty

3.46

S

White Christmas

3.43

F

Candidum Senior

3.39

F

Red Frill

3.32

S

Moonlight

3.30

F

Garden White

3.30

F

Highlighter

3.25

S

Rose Glow

3.25

F

Miss Muffet

3.18

S

White Majesty

3.14

S

Sun Trial Precinct 2: Table 3 shows the results of the trial at the Precinct 2 gardens. The top 10 varieties were Gingerland, White Cap, White Wonder, Red Ruffles, Mount Everest, Candyland, Raspberry Moon, Rose Glow, Tapestry and Florida Calypso. Their top 10 consisted of an equal number of fancy leaf and strap leaf varieties. There were 3 varieties, Candyland, White Wonder and Florida Calypso that were also in the top 10 at Bear Creek.  

Gingerland

Gingerland

 

Table 3: Caladium sun trial results at Precinct 2.

Variety

Score

Type

Gingerland

4.19

S

White Cap

4.15

F

White Wonder

4.13

S

Red Ruffles

4.04

S

Mount Everest

4.03

S

Candyland

3.91

S

Raspberry Moon

3.91

F

Rose Glow

3.82

F

Tapestry

3.79

F

Florida Calypso

3.75

F

Sweetheart

3.75

S

White Majesty

3.66

S

Candidum

3.66

F

Red Flash

3.66

F

White Marble

3.63

S

Fire Chief

3.63

F

Hearts Delight

3.63

S

Pink Splash

3.57

F

Lance Wharton

3.56

S

Summer Pink

3.51

F

Fireworks

3.41

F

Garden White

3.38

F

Pink Gem

3.38

S

Miss Muffet

3.35

S

White Dynasty

3.35

S

White Delight

3.25

S

Highlighter

3.22

S

Rosemary

3.22

S

Red Frill

3.19

S

Starburst

3.13

S

Elise

3.13

F

Aaron

3.06

F

White Christmas

2.63

F

Carolyn Whorton

2.54

F

Peppermint

2.35

S

Moonlight

2.01

F

Combined Sun Results: Table 4 shows the top 10 performers under full sun conditions from the combined results at Bear Creek and Precinct 2. Interesting to note that the top 5 performers are all strap leaf varieties which should be expected (sun varieties), but varieties 6-10 are fancy leaf which prefer shade conditions. 

White Wonder

White Wonder

 

Candyland

Candyland

 

White Cap

White Cap

Red Ruffles

Red Ruffles

Table 4: Top 10 Caladium varieties under full sun conditions, combined results from both sites.

Variety Score Type
White Wonder

4.11

S

Gingerland

4.05

S

Candyland

4.01

S

Red Ruffles

3.93

S

Sweetheart

3.92

S

Florida Calypso

3.9

F

White Cap

3.89

F

Red Flash

3.86

F

Raspberry Moon

3.83

F

Tapestry

3.81

F

Red Flash

Red Flash

Sweetheart

Sweetheart

Raspberry Moon

Raspberry Moon

Tapestry

Tapestry

Florida Calypso

Florida Calypso

 

Summary:

The trial provided some interesting results.

  • We saw shade varieties performing well in full sun and sun varieties performing well in the shade. These responses add to the versatility for the use of Caladiums in the landscape.
  • The foliage color held up well through most of the summer in full sun, although some fading did occur. The foliage color was more intense / clean in the shade.
  • This trial helped to broaden the potential number of varieties that growers, landscapers and homeowners can be using in production and the landscape.

Special Thanks:

  • Margaret Cherry and Abbott Ipco Inc. for donating the Caladiums
  • Susan White and Patricia Metzinger at Bear Creek.
  • Royce Pendergast, Nancy Cansler, Brenda Hesse and Jan Kapner at Precinct 2 Genoa Friendship Garden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *