Caladium bulbs come in various sizes: #3, #2, #1, Jumbo, and Mammoth, but what do the sizes really mean?
When we harvest the caladium bulbs there is always a wide range of bulb sizes that we reap, no matter what variety it is. We often use the smaller bulbs as seed for the next season’s crop and sell the larger bulbs. Depending on the season, more often than not, the Jumbo and Mammoth bulbs are not as abundant as the smaller sizes.
In caladiums, the bulb size has no bearing on the size of the plant leaf or the height of the plant. The size of the bulb only has a bearing on the number of leaves that will grow per bulb.
Bulb sizes from smallest to largest:
|Bulb Size||Bulb Diameter|
|#3 (Seed)||less than 1”|
|#2||1” – 1 ½”|
|#1||1 ½” – 2 ½”|
|Jumbo||2 ½ “– 3 ½”|
|Mammoth||3 ½” – 4 ½”|
The caladium variety that you choose and your growing conditions will determine how large the caladium leaves will be and how tall the plant will grow. Larger bulbs do not equal larger leaves, they equal more leaves. Therefore, when smaller bulbs are planted, they should be planted closer together than when larger bulbs are planted.
Here are our recommendations for nice quality looking plantings:
Number of Bulbs Per Container:
|1 or 2 #2 sized bulbs|
|1 #1 sized bulb|
|10” pot or hanging basket|
|10 – 12 #2 sized bulbs|
|5 – 6 #1 sized bulbs|
|3 – 4 Jumbo bulbs|
Spacing of Bulbs in Landscaping for a Full Look or Border:
#2 4” apart
#1 6” apart
Jumbo 8” apart
Of course, you can always plant clumps of bulbs in areas to get the “mounding” effect. When doing this, we suggest 4-5 #2’s, 2-3 #1’s or 1 Jumbo in an area to give a nice look. If you would like larger clumps of color, just add more bulbs to each spot.
The thing to remember is that if you would like to have large showy leaves, you need to choose a variety that grows large showy leaves. Some examples would be: Red Flash, White Queen, Brandywine, Carolyn Whorton, Summer Pink, Tapestry, White Christmas, Florida Fantasy, Postman Joyner, Aaron, Fannie Munson, Galaxy, Hearts Desire and Florida Elise. If the conditions are right, some of these varieties could get 2 ½ feet tall with leaves over a foot across. Planting smaller bulbs in these varieties will even give you large leaves if your growing conditions are optimum. With smaller bulbs, you will just need to plant the bulbs closer together to get the same great look.
If you prefer smaller leaved varieties that aren’t too tall, you might want to choose any of the Lance or Strap Leaved varieties like Dragon Heart, Florida Red Ruffles, Florida Sweetheart, Lance Whorton, Miss Muffett, White Wing, Cosmic Delight, Passionista, Candidum Jr., Gingerland or Sizzle. Each of these varieties has a beautiful ruffled leaf that stays shorter and more compact than the large Fancy Leaved varieties. The Lance or Strap leaved varieties are also perfect for use in hanging baskets or window boxes because they tend to droop over the edges of the container. Mix them with sweet potato vine or annuals for an amazing look in containers.
There are also Fancy Leaved varieties that tend to stay small to medium-sized in height and leaf size. Those varieties include: Festivia, Fire Chief, Florida Cardinal, Freida Hemple, Tom, Candidum, Florida Moonlight, Kathleen, Mrs. WB Haldeman, Pink Beauty, Pink Cloud, Rosebud, Cranberry Star, and Royal Flush.
So, the moral to the story is; though the larger sized bulbs are often impressive, it’s not vital to have them to get a beautiful display in your garden. Plant smaller bulbs closer together and larger bulbs farther apart.
The 2019-2020 growing season has been amazing for our caladium crop, so we are able to offer the most beautiful high-quality bulbs in #1’s and Jumbos. Check out our selection on our website www.happinessfarms.com/shop or feel free to call us to ask questions or place an order over the phone. We are here to help! Our business hours are Monday thru Friday, 8:00 – 5:00.
If you’re in our area, stop by the office to purchase your bulbs. We have a wide selection of varieties and bulb sizes available, even Mammoth bulbs! You will be able mix and match your varieties and purchase them by the piece, by the dozen or by the box.