2020 Caladium Trials at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Posted January 15, 2021

We all want to forget 2020 and move on from its tumultuous tendrils. But let’s focus on the positives. It is also a year of dogged perseverance, boundless creativity and discovering endless outdoor activities. Since gardening and horticulture encompass these things, and as we eagerly look to the 2021 growing season, we also look back at gardening successes from the previous year.

2020 was our year to trial new Caladiums. Why Caladiums? Well, besides being one of the most beautiful foliage annuals for shade, they are also becoming more versatile. This year we trialed Caladiums from Classic Caladiums and Proven Winners. We discovered these new Caladiums can take more sun and a few varieties even seem hardier – some lasting to October 1st! Let’s look at a few of our favorites, and since it is winter, we will start with one that should inspire some warmth.

Our Hardiest, Top Picks

Caladium HEART TO HEART Caribbean Coral was voted one of the top ten Zoo’s Best plants! It sported a rare and beautiful coral pink color. It was planted in part shade and performed strong and healthy until the end of September.

Beauty and Brawn

It is usually recommended that caladiums are taken inside before the evening weather turns to a consistent 40F degrees. Wherein many of the caladiums were beginning to give in to the cooler season, these beauties were looking fantastic after at least two or more 40-degree nights:

Caladium Southern Charm – received morning sun and part shade most of the day
Caladium Clowning Around- planted in shade
Caladium Burst My Bubble-planted in full shade
These three were placed in a trio planting and complemented each other beautifully until the end of September. Southern Charm (seen in front) touted her brawn into the beginning of October!
Caladium HEART TO HEART Fast Flash -Sun early in the day
Caladium Red Glamour also persisted until October. Here it is planted in part sun and a lovely complement to Hibiscus Mocca Moon

Top Picks for Small Gardens

The next selection of Caladiums was smaller, either in stature or breadth, and would do well planted in a container or massed in a small garden. These varieties were the best, most consistent little gems displaying from mid-May to late August/early September.

Caladium Berries and Burgundy – trialed in full shade
Caladium HEART TO HEART Blushing Bride- trialed in part sun
Caladium HEART TO HEART Raspberry Moon- trialed in shade
Caladium Puppy Love- trialed in part shade (some afternoon sun)
Caladium Starburst -trialed in shade

Big and Beautiful color mid-May through mid-September

Considered top picks in my book and definitely in the running for Zoo’s Best, these beauties didn’t last quite as long as the first list of selections, but definitely gave them a run for their Lamina (leaf blades) until mid-September!

Caladium HEART TO HEART White Wonder -trialed in the afternoon sun
Caladium Hot Flash -trialed in morning to early afternoon sun
Caladium Flare – trialed in morning sun
Caladium HEART TO HEART Radiance- trialed in part to full shade
Caladium Burning Heart- trialed in shade
Caladium Allure- trialed in shade
Caladiums Allure (one of my personal favorites) and Burning Heart were planted in combination and gave us an amazing “bang for your buck” show this year!