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  Caladium bulbs shrinking ?
From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2000.07.12 at 17:52:53(5073)
Dear Tsuh Yang Chen:

Most of the commercial Caladium bulbs are produced in and around Sebring
, Florida & They are all infected with Dasheen Mossaic Virus. They are
all propagated from infected stock plants. This virus severely retards
the vigor of the infected plants and there is no way for these plants to
fully express their full potential. If the Grower used clean stock...of
which none exists at this time, they would still have a problem because
of all the innoculum from the wild or cultivated plants in their
neighborhood which would quickly be spread by sucking insect such as
leaf hoppers, aphids and white fly. There is no cure, So the chances of
getting clean Caladium bulbs from commercial sources is nill. The one
exception might be the Caladium rubicundra which is not a commercial
variety and is produced in a Tisssue Culture lab. If you wish you could
reconstitute the commercial varieties by producing them through seed
since the virus is not transmitted from mother plant to embryo. The
vigor would be tremendous. For more info you might check out work done
in the mid 1970's by Plant Pathologist (virologist) Dr. Zettler at the
University of Florida. PS. Dasheen Mossaic Virus can affect other Aroids
so alway sterilize your cutting tools between plants.

From: "Plantsman" plantsman at prodigy.net> on 2000.07.12 at 20:06:40(5081)
I never noticed a lack of vigor in Caladiums, in fact they
sometimes surprise me with how large the leaves and
inflorescences can get on some of them. What mystifies me is
that at the end of the season, I have basically no corm to store
for the winter regardless of how large it was when it was
sprouted in the spring (?). I've never been able to store them
over the winter successfully. Are you saying that this Dasheen
Mosaic Virus is responsible for this? How do the growers in FL
get their corms to be so large in the first place? Would this
virus spread to my other aroids if grown in close proximity to
Caladiums? This is the first I've heard of this and sounds
somewhat scary.

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.13 at 16:28:04(5084)
Dear All,

I do not think that ALL commercial Caladium tubers from the Sebring area are
infected with this virus---I purchased some this year, among them are a new
variety 'Florida Sweetheart', it looks like a hybrid with C. bicolor and C.
schomburgkii parentage, a BRIGHT deep pink with a green border. Out of
this world!!! I also got a few of the older type cultivars, and all have
come up to be magnificent plants, and I warrant that they will have doubled
(at least!) in both tuber size and quantity by the end of this growing
No doubt that there is the virus in SOME collections and cultivars, but
certainly not all!



From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.13 at 16:29:32(5085)
Sounds to me like they did not have enough growing time. Here in Florida I
leave mine in the ground for a month or more AFTER the leaves 'go down', I
was told by an old grower at Lake Placid that the roots continue to allow
the tubers to develop AFTER the leaves are lost, and since they do it, I
tried it, and it works for me!
I then dig them up and store them in labled paper bags in my unheated garage
(in W.P.B., Florida) where when it warms up in spring the bulbs will begin
to sprout, letting me know that it`s time to plant them out again!

See my other posting on this virus. I`m not worried about it, as it has
been around for YEARS, I`ve seen it in MANY collections on MANY species
(including Amorphophallus sps ). It can come and go, as I used to have it
on a Xanthosoma, and in the last couple of years it seems to have gone away.
I do not know for sure, but believe it stays with tuberous aroids of only
certain families such as Colocasia, Alocasia, Caladium, Amorphophallus, etc.
I do not believe that it affects Philodendrons, etc., but could be wrong on

Cheers and good luck,


From: Piabinha at aol.com on 2000.07.13 at 20:01:48(5098)
In a message dated 7/13/2000 7:29:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
ju-bo@email.msn.com writes:

> Sounds to me like they did not have enough growing time. Here in Florida I

From: Mitsukiwi at aol.com on 2000.07.13 at 21:07:11(5103)
In a message dated 7/13/00 11:02:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
Piabinha@aol.com writes:


From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.14 at 15:49:26(5105)
In a message dated 7/13/2000 7:29:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
ju-bo@email.msn.com writes:

> Sounds to me like they did not have enough growing time. Here in Florida

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.14 at 15:50:49(5109)
In a message dated 7/13/00 11:02:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
Piabinha@aol.com writes:

Dear Nancy,

From: Al Wootten awootten at NRAO.EDU> on 2000.07.14 at 15:52:03(5110)
I obtained my caladiums through Dick Mansell a few years ago. I grow them
in largish pots buried in the ground, to try to keep the temperature stable.
I bring the pots in in the fall when the leaves begin to droop and let them
die back in the back of my orchid closet. So far, I don't see any shrinking
in them. I never take them out of their pots, so I don't know the size of
the bulbs. A second group, also from Dick, got the same treatment except
that their pots were never buried in the ground and I ran out of potting soil
while potting them, so they have a lot of Virginia red dirt in the pots rather
than potting soil enriched with manure. They are doing much less well, though
they are more recent. I decided that I needed to improve my culture, so I
have buried the pots with a manure top dressing this year. We'll see.


From: Lester Kallus lkallus at earthlink.net> on 2000.07.15 at 09:20:04(5121)
Yes, there's great advice here from many who suggest ways to make your
Caladium tubers increase in size or at least remain equal in size but I
suggest you keep one thing in mind:

Before you choose to dig up large numbers of caladiums and store them over
the winter consider the amount of time involved and the quality of the

From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2000.07.15 at 09:22:26(5123)
In a message dated 7/14/00 6:49:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
ju-bo@email.msn.com writes:

<< IF they have enough 'growing season' they do fine and increase in tuber

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.15 at 13:46:38(5128)
In a message dated 7/14/00 6:49:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
ju-bo@email.msn.com writes:

<< IF they have enough 'growing season' they do fine and increase in tuber

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.15 at 13:47:31(5129)
Dear Les,

Just different points of view---here in Florida I can and do buy tubers
directly AT the growers offices in Lake Placid for a very small sum, and
plant them in the ground here in W.P.B., and do enjoy them all summer long,
wish you could see them out side my house in beds NOW!!! BUT---comes
fall, and I want to plant Impatiens of some other 'winter' annual in these
same beds. You BETTER dig up the Caladium tubers, or when they feel the
effect of fert. and water in any warm period of our 'winter' between say
Oct. and May/June, (when the Impatiens begin to melt in the Florida heat),
the Caladiums will begin to grow BETWEEN the Impatiens or other winter
annuals, and what a horrible sight this makes! SO---I dig my tubers up in
say Oct., which is a quick and easy job here due to the nature of my sandy
soil, put them in labeled paper bags in my unheated garage, and forget about
them till around May of the following year, and when the Impatiens begin to
look bad, I remember my Caladium tubers, check them out, and invariably they
have begun to 'sprout', and in the beds they go!!

Different strokes for different folks, based on local conditions and needs!



From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2000.07.15 at 20:19:52(5131)
Just another point of view about growing Caladium in Florida: I tried digging
up about half of my Caladium 'Florida Calypso' early last winter after they
went dormant. The other half I left in the ground. I kept the dug tubers in a
single layer in my unheated garage all winter (just shook off most of the
sand and layed them out in cardboard flats, no fungicide treatment). When
they started to sprout in spring I took a sharp pencil and jabbed it into the
primary shoot, thus forcing the tuber to produce new shoots from accessory
buds. Since I had about fifty of these tubers I asked my daughter to help me
and she thought I had gone mad. Then I planted them. The ones in the ground
emerged about three weeks before my "mutilated" ones. Once the treated tubers
emerged they each had several leaves rather than just one or two, and filled
the bed out beautifully. Now after a couple of months growth I can't tell
much difference in the two beds. I am curious if the rough treatment I gave
the tubers will make them produce more (or fewer) offsets than the untreated
ones. At any rate, this cultivar has multiplied readily each year and if I
dig the tubers I can also collect many small tubercles which will all grow
out into separate large tubers the following summer. Now I have well over a
hundred or more sizable tubers of this one particular cultivar and I began
with about a dozen three years ago! Its a bit of a monster! I got them
originally from Dick Mansell when he was taking orders for Caladium through
the web site. He was the person who told me to dig the tubers in winter and
jab a pencil point into the new shoots each spring. He said this is what the
commercial people do to get nice full pots of leaves with just one or two

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.16 at 10:31:10(5135)
Dear Donna,

I have a 'Florida Sweet Heart' var. here, it is becomming very popular in
this area, said to have been bred especially to withstand more sun-exposure,
and for me this certainly seems to be so. It is THE most beautiful almost
florescent pink leaf, with a green border, slightly ruffled texture that
clearly shows parentage of both C. bicolor and C. schomburgkii. Produces
and holds LOTS of lowish/shortish leaves.
What does Florida Calypso look like?

On the point of reproducing and increasing Caladiums from tubers, Dewey
sells plants of a C. schomburgkii collected YEARS ago in Venezuela by his
venerable partner and friend of mine Ralph, and if you want a Caladium that
will destroy your pots with beautiful HUGE new tubers every year, purchase
one of these! It is an almost all-green plant with some obscure lighter
creamish markings, a typical lance-shaped C. schom. leaf with the two
'glandular'-looking areas at the leaf bases, but what a happy grower!!
When it eventually goes dormant, I`ve seen the tubers left just sitting on
a bench, and they LOOK great all winter, some the size of a fist, and begin
to sprout in spring!! It would make a GREAT parent plant for breeding
vigor into any strain!



From: DBurch2345 at aol.com on 2000.07.16 at 10:32:34(5136)
Donna - you might like to go to my magazine at www.hortdigest.com -- go
there, then click "archives" and go to Issue 4. My article in cladiums is not
wonderful, but does have a little about the state of the industry and images
of a number of varieties.

Incidently, like all editors, I am always looking for material. Wish that I
could tap into some of the great threads that go on at this site.

Best to all.

Derek Burch

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.17 at 15:03:04(5142)
Dear Derek,

Thank you for the web site, which I am still browsing and enjoying!

Is there anyone in particular who you recomend that I may contact with
questions about the parentage of the 'modern' Caladiums?? I am interested
in tracing the use of C. picturatum as a 'parent' in the early years. It
is mentioned prominently in the old literature, and C. schomburgkii is not,
and I often wonder if the two names were somehow 'mixed up', as I do not see
any influence of C. picturatum in today`s cultivars, while the leaf shape of
C. schomburgkii is easily seen in cultivars such as Florida Sweet Heart,
Gingerland and White wing. Many others may be pure C. schomburgkii
cultivars, such as Mambo, Red Frills, etc.

Thanks again for the input!



From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2000.07.18 at 16:59:53(5150)
Thanks so much for pointing me to your site. I've been enjoying going through

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.07.19 at 15:00:37(5152)
Dear Donna,

I will have to try to get these two cultivars that you mention, Florida
Calypso and Florida Fantasy, for next year! They sound wonderful! My
Florida Sweetheart are doing fine in beds that face West, exposed to full
sun from around noon to late afternoon. I have noticed that after a few
'special' cloud-less, extra hot days some fading has occured to some of the
older leaves, but the plant is so vigorous that this 'fault' is soon
corrected by their production of many more new leaves! The C. schomburgkii
(lance-leaf) species input to this cultivar/hybrid, it would appear, has
really made for a 'many-leaf' cultivar!!

Hope to see you soon!

Cheers and good growing,


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