Can you explain what is wrong with my caladiums? Some of the leaves have brown areas and holes in them. Are they being eaten? Thank you. — Don
This is sunburn, a problem when caladiums are planted in too much sun. Or, more commonly, the area may get an appropriate amount of light, but the newly planted caladiums were grown in shady greenhouses. When they are planted into spots where the light levels are higher than they are used to, they can burn. Sunburn in caladiums causes tan patches on the leaves between the veins.
Eventually, the tissue-thin leaves can burn through and holes will form. These caladiums were not adapted to the amount of sun they are getting in that bed. But notice the new leaves that have come out since planting. They are adapted to the light and look just fine. So there is no need to be concerned. Just cut off the bad leaves and be ready for a beautiful display all summer.
All caladiums grow well in shade to partial shade, but a few varieties will adapt and grow in sunny beds. If you would like to try growing caladiums in a sunny bed, the following are considered sun-tolerant based on trials done at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station:
Fire Chief (fancy-leaf red), Hearts Delight (lance-leaf red), Carolyn Whorton (fancy-leaf pink), Cherry Tart (lance-leaf red), Moonlight (fancy-leaf white), Florida Sweetheart (lance-leaf pink), White Cap (fancy-leaf white and green), White Ruffles (lance-leaf white), Celebration (fancy-leaf multicolor) and White Dynasty (lance-leaf white).
I have beautiful, large, green tomatoes on my bushes, but they will not ripen. It’s driving me crazy, and I’m sure I must be doing something wrong. How can I get my tomatoes to turn red? Timothy Bekker
The old saying “a watched pot never boils,” comes to mind. It’s just that when we focus on something intently while we wait for it to happen, it seems to take forever. And nothing seems to take longer than seeing those first green tomatoes finally turn red, especially if you see other gardeners getting ripe fruit already.
Relax — it’s still early in the tomato season and there is plenty of time for them to ripen. The tomatoes are still green because they are simply not ripe yet, not because there is anything wrong. This is not a problem. It is just a matter of waiting for them to turn ripe. There is nothing any of us can do other than applying a good dose of patience.
I intend to put three clay pots in front of my house between the sidewalk and street where they will receive total sun, and you know the heat of our summers. My question is: Should I plant my plants directly in the clay pots or would it be best to leave the plants in a plastic pot and then put them in the clay pot to insure the roots don’t reach the clay and burn? — Judy.
I’d plant them directly into the clay pots. That will give more room for the roots to grow. Don’t forget that clay is permeable. Water from the soil will move through the clay and evaporate from the sides. That means you will likely have to water more often.
But the evaporation will also tend to keep the clay cooler than you think. Black plastic is the worst for heating up in the sun. Heat- and sun-loving flowering plants to plant in the pots include angelonia, salvia, portulaca, purslane, pentads, periwinkles, ornamental sweet potato, scaevola, Señorita Rosalita cleome, Profusion zinnias, Zahara zinnias and lantanas.
You may choose to plant a different kind of plant in each pot, but the effect will be more unified if you plant the same plant and flower color in all three pots. Or, you could plant a pleasing combination of different plants and colors — some tall, some bushy and some cascading. Again, use the same combination in all three pots to create a sense of unity.
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Dan Gill is a retired consumer horticulture specialist with the LSU AgCenter. He hosts the “Garden Show” on WWL-AM Saturdays at 9 a.m. Email gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.