feels like 12.

We woke up to a bright and chilly morning last Tuesday.  The actual temp was 21, but the ‘feels like’ temp was 12!  Twelve!  In October!  Yikes!

I don’t really remember when they switched out ‘wind chill’ for ‘feels like’, but I did a bit of googling and apparently the ‘feels like’ number takes humidity levels into consideration whereas the ‘wind chill’ did not.

Either way, ‘feels like 12’ is too cold for October.  And as I’ve discovered, it’s also too cold for mums.

Dang!  I probably should have covered them.  But then, the soil is frozen rock hard.  I’m not sure that covering would have helped.

It’s funny, when I planted all of my bulbs a couple of weeks ago I thought I was planting them way too early.  But here we are in October with a hard freeze already.  I guess my timing was pretty good after all.  Likewise, I also pulled out all of my caladiums last weekend in preparation for saving them over the winter.  Just in time I think.

I used quite a few caladiums in my planters this summer.

That tall white one above was one of my favorites, as was the pink and green one I planted along with some double impatiens …

Caladiums are another fantastic way to add colorful foliage to your garden.  They will grow in full to partial shade and perform best with some dappled morning sunlight.

They are not fond of cold weather though.  Caladiums are only hardy in zones 9 – 11.  Here in my Minnesota zone 4 garden I have always treated them as an annual and just tossed them at the end of the season.  But, you know what?  Caladiums are kind of pricey.  They are around twice the price of other annuals that I plant.

So this year I’ve decided to try saving the bulbs for next year.

The first step was to dig them all up, and gently shake off any loose soil.  Do not rinse or wash off the dirt with water as this will make the bulbs more susceptible to rot.

Leave the foliage in place and allow the bulbs to ‘cure’ for a week or so (sound familiar, feels like we’re painting).  I just left mine in the potting shed on vintage plates to dry.

Once they are ‘cured’, or dried out, the leaves should drop off or at least be easy to pull away from the bulb.  Go ahead and remove all of the leaves.

At this point you should inspect your bulbs for any signs of damage or rot.  Be sure to toss any that are damaged, moldy or soft.  As they say, one bad apple (or in this case, caladium bulb) will spoil the bunch.

It seems like with the many caladiums I had, I should have a big pile of bulbs.  But after weeding out the bad ones (maybe about 25% of them were bad), I ended up with just this one plate full.

Then again, if each one of these becomes one plant, I have plenty!

Next up comes packing these away for winter.  The bulbs need to be kept dry, therefore the packing materials should allow them to breathe.  A cardboard box or paper grocery bag should work.  I’m choosing to nestle mine in a cardboard box filled with shredded paper.

I’ll put the box in the basement where they will stay cool, dry and out of sunlight.

The big trick for me will be remembering to pull them out again next spring.  I plan to pot them up indoors 4 to 6 weeks before our average last frost date.  With our short growing season here in Minnesota, it makes sense to give them a good head start before transplanting them out into my pots.

I’ve put a reminder on my calendar for the end of March.

Hopefully next summer I’ll have lots of beautiful caladiums and will have saved myself a few bucks by not having to buy them.  Wish me luck on that!

20 thoughts on “feels like 12.

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to attempt this with some canna bulbs. Wasn’t sure if I should do it with the leaves still on so this makes sense. Problem is it was 40 one day and then 83 🤦🏻‍♀️

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  2. I’ve never attempted to grow caladiums but between your garden and James Farmer’s, I’m thinking they are something I’d like to add. Holy cow that’s too cold for me but I remember having snow on Halloween when we lived in Montana.

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    1. You definitely should try caladiums. They will do far better in your zone than they do in mine. I’ve been watching a garden vlog, Gardening with Creekside, and they are in your area and grow gorgeous caladiums.

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  3. Yay, you are back on Sunday mornings! This weekend here in Central/Upstate NY, we’ve had several glorious, sunny days in the low 70’s- but had a frost the other night as well. I brought in my ferns and some coleous (sp?) for the winter- expensive to replace every year. We often have snow/sleet on Halloween here too.

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    1. I wish I had more space because I would love to try taking cuttings from coleus and growing them on over the winter. But alas, I just don’t have a spot for that in my house.

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  4. Thanks for the Sunday morning gardening tip. I have never grown caladium but will try some next year. Can’t wait to see how your bulbs turn out for next year.

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  5. Your garden posts are so enjoyable to read on Sunday mornings and this week you featured one of my favorites- caladiums, I grow caladiums in pots here in Florida, unfortunately the squirrels dig them up if they are in the ground. I also pull them out of the pots, allow to dry and store in mesh bags in a dark corner of my garage for the winter. I like to pot an annual in the pots during the winter since the caladiums go dormant. I buy my bulbs from Happiness Farms in Lake Placid FL. I have had some of their bulbs for 10 years and they are still beautiful and healthy. They offer mail order so check them out! Lake Placid Fl is known as the caladium capitol. Best, Paula

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    1. I did not know that about Lake Placid, I’ll have to check that out. But after having just returned from Disney World, I will say that they had masses and masses of gorgeous caladium. I’m planning to share a Disney/garden post next Sunday, so stay tuned for that!

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  6. Love it. You introduced me to Garden Answer and she was doing the same thing this week. Maybe she can be your “alarm clock” for planting too😉

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  7. Such an interesting pos. I have not tried caladiums as I don’t think my yard has the right amount of shade. Good for you to try saving the bulbs for next year. My neighbor gave me cuttings of his coleus to attempt to keep for next spring. He keeps the cuttings in water all winter, they usually root, and then he plants in pots in the spring. Don’t know if I can keep these cuttings alive all winter, but kinda fun to try!

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    1. That will be an interesting experiment. I’ve never thought to keep the cuttings in water all winter. Unfortunately my coleus is already gone for this year, but maybe I’ll give that a shot next year.

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  8. Thanks for the tutorial Miss Quandie! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your caladiums! I just love the pink ones!

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