With a third generation in the company, the Bates family knows everything about caladium. In 1946, Emmet Bates started by planting a 5 gallon bucket of mixed caladium varieties, and the company has grown over the years. Now they grow 100 acres of caladium bulbs. In addition to caladium bulb production they have operated a pre-finished potted caladium greenhouse business for the last 20 years.
Sons and daughters
“My grandfather started growing caladium bulbs around 1946 in Lake Placid, Florida, after he came back from World War 2”, says Terri Bates. “In the 1980’s, my sister Sheri and I came into the business and my dad changed our name from Bates & Sons Inc. into Bates Sons & Daughters.”
Pre-finished potted caladium
“I am a horticulturist and wanted to start evaluating potted caladium production techniques. As a bulb grower, it was difficult for me to consult with my customers when I was in bulb production and they were in potted plant production. So, after a few years, Sheri and I started a pre-finished caladium business, which we called Capital Caladiums Company. In the past 10 years, the market for pre-finished caladiums has exploded. By offering pre-finished thru Capital Caladiums we have been able to make Bates Sons & Daughters and our customers more successful.”
Capital Caladiums Company is Bates Sons & Daughters biggest customer. “We pay full broker price so both businesses can thrive. We grow 500,000 caladium pots in the spring, so I can help my bulb customers with every aspect of potted caladium production”, says Terri. “I have determined which varieties need to be de-eyed and which varieties perform well without de-eyeing in 6 different pot sizes. Capital Caladiums tags each pot so we have picture tags of each variety with growing instructions and can offer them to our bulb customers in small quantities.”
Caladiums require a great deal of heat to root and spike. Pre-finished cuts bench time by more than half. Landscapers can install them as pre-finished and they reach their peak in the beds - not past peak when planting finished pots. Also, mixed container production is much easier, when using pre-finished cuts instead of bulbs.