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Garden Edition: When plants wane: August 2001, Page 3


When plants wane
At the end of the growing season, caladiums can be left in the garden to be killed by cold weather. If you have the time, however, it's not difficult to lift and save the tubers for planting again next year. (Tubers in south-central Florida and extreme southern Texas can be left in the ground to over-winter.) Lift tubers before the leaves have lost all color and before soil temperatures drop below 55 F. Retain the foliage, and sort them by color or variety. Spread them out in an area protected from rain and cold, and allow them to dry for a week. Cut or pull the dry foliage from the tubers and remove all dry soil. Place the tubers in a mesh sack or saw dust and store them where the temperature does not fall below 65 degrees F.

The most common problem is not providing a really warm environment to start the tubers, and losing them to rot. Soil and air temperature needs to be between 70 and 90 F.

The only pest that I've had trouble with is slugs. Vigilant hand-picking and non-toxic remedies like Sluggo or Escar Go! ( should control the problem.
(See Linda's July Garden Edition on slugs.) Caterpillars can also be hand-picked or controlled by applying the parasitic bacterial products Dipel or Thuricide. Insecticidal soaps can be used to control soft bodied insects like aphids and whitefly nymphs.

On-line sources of caladium bulbs (and an excellent source of information) (Bates Sons & Daughters, Inc)

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