Learning how to propagate caladium in the UK is straightforward, and the best method to do so is by division. You can also consider growing in the greenhouse to ensure that the divisions will establish faster and ready for transplanting later on. While division puts you at a headstart compared to other propagation methods, it’s still crucial to place the plant in a stable growing environment to help them grow vigorous.
The list of caladium cultivars is also extensive so that you can choose your UK region’s appropriate one. And since these plants are fast-growing, one can assume that propagating them from the division will be fuss-free. Caladiums also tend to mature in only one season, which means the propagation of these plants will be fast.
How To Propagate Caladium in the UK For Beginners
The best method for propagating caladium is by division. Division also works as a maintenance practice to keep your plants in the UK garden looking neat. More so, dividing caladiums ensures that you’ll get copies of your favourite plant using its tubers.
However, you want to practice precaution in propagating caladiums because they can cause poisoning and reactions upon contact or ingestion. You also want to check and disinfect all the tools you’ll need before and after using them. Soaking your British gardening tools for half an hour in a diluted bleach solution is highly recommended before rinsing them.
Overwintering caladium tubers
Before anything else, it’s essential to clarify a common mistake with terminologies used by various guides. When one says overwintering caladium bulbs, it refers to caladium tubers. The correct term should be tubers, and they are what you’ll divide for propagation.
The best time to do so is in spring, but overwintering tubers are common, especially in cold regions of the UK. Remember that caladiums struggle in cold climates, so it’s better to dig the tubers, divide them, and store them in the greenhouse. They will stay in the polytunnel temperature between 70 to 75°F somewhere dry until planting in spring.
How does one dig a caladium plant? Much like in dividing other plants, you want to dig around the plant’s perimeter to make the lifting more comfortable. You can loosen the area with a spade and lift the tubers from the soil.
Remove the soil and damaged parts such as foliage, tubers, and buds, to prevent them from spreading to the healthy divisions. Some gardeners in the United Kingdom also treat the tubers with a fungicide before storage as a precautionary measure. It would be best if you also dusted them off before planting.
Before planting the divisions, you want to cut and lift the enormous central bud of a tuber. This technique will lead to a fuller and bushier plant because the remaining smaller buds will create more shoots. And as mentioned previously, you only want to plant healthy tubers and discard those with damages and signs of diseases.
You can plant the divisions in fertile, moist, well-draining, and acidic soil in the polytunnel to ensure that they won’t get exposed to direct sunlight. A maximum of six hours a day would be best to help the plants establish themselves. But if you’re outdoors, check the soil’s warmth because caladiums will thrive between 60 to 70°F, which is around spring.
One can expect a space of 12 inches among them at a depth of two inches for planting caladium tubers with their eye buds facing up. You also want to check the soil’s quality and use a slow-release fertiliser for the first six months of the growing season. Lastly, ensure soil moisture to help the plants grow, but be careful not to overwater and encourage fungal growth.
Caring For Caladium
It’s not enough to study the best propagation method for caladiums. You also have to educate yourself on the plant’s ideal conditions and requirements to keep it healthy and avoid diseases. As you can assume, the two maintenance practices that influence caladiums are watering and fertilising.
While you don’t want to overwater caladiums, they will require a moist medium, and you can do this by mulching and using a suitable medium itself. If your area in the UK is dry and hot, you want to water them more than the recommended week. Watering is also applicable to container caladiums because they take up water much quicker than those in containers.
How do you fertilise caladiums? Fertilising caladiums is essential for the production of good tubers for the next season. They will benefit from a 5-10-10 fertiliser every four to six weeks during the growing season. Some gardeners in the UK also feed with high potassium and phosphorus in summer along with watering.
With proper caution, caladiums are among the best plants to propagate and multiply in the UK garden. Learning how to propagate caladium in the UK involves mastering the best method, dividing the plant’s tubers. You can dig the tubers and overwinter them for replanting in spring.
The polytunnel makes a perfect space for storing the tubers during winter or starting them in spring if your outdoor soil still hasn’t warmed up. In general, it’s relatively easy to divide the tubers and help them establish themselves in a stable and ideal environment. Perhaps your most significant problem to avoid is fungal growth from infected tubers or overwatering.