The Heart to Heart Collection of new Proven Winners Caladiums will be available for 2020. According to Curt Varsogea, Sales Manager at Four Star, this exclusive line is the result of a partnership with Classic Caladiums of Florida, an international leader in the breeding of Caladiums.
Curt Varsogea, Sales Manager at Four Star
“Classic is leading the way in their breeding,” he says. “Their Caladiums possess all the qualities that align with what we look for in a Proven Winners variety: extremely striking colors, vigorous habit, season-long color, and increased disease resistance. These are top-notch plants – unique and different with lasting benefits.”
He adds that Classic Caladiums has refined production methods over the last two decades to help ensure a more reliable supply of tubers with new color patterns and shapes, and better disease resistance and sun tolerance.
Making it easy for growers
Varsogea notes that a key reason this line was selected is to be easier for growers to produce. “Classic is making it extremely easy for the grower by de-eyeing and painting the bulb, so there is no confusion as to what side to plant up,” he explains. “The de-eyeing (pinching) process eliminates the main shoot and encourages many side shoots to sprout, so there is less sorting at finish. The larger number of leaves substantially reduces shrink at retail.”
Classic says that de-eyeing is the most reliable way to produce a plant without several larger leaves crowding out over the rest, and notes that individual varieties respond differently to this procedure (some showing more effect than others).
Varsogea explains that Classic grows its tubers in a completely rebuilt processing facility in Florida and grows the Caladiums in laser-leveled fields on raised plastic beds. This infrastructure assures the crops can better withstand catastrophic weather disasters for more consistent production.
In addition, Varsogea notes that some of the varieties in the Heart to Heart line have been bred to have a thicker leaf, making it easier to grow without experiencing “sunburn” or tearing, which can happen to other Caladiums on the market.
‘Blushing Bride’ Caladium
‘Rose Glow’ Caladium
Tropical plants have surged in interest lately, in part because they are so dramatic and perfect for use as thrillers or fillers in combination recipes.
The Heart to Heart line is ideal for these applications, says Varsogea. “These Caladiums are so versatile — they are great for shade and a number of them perform just as well in the summer sun! Many consumers are looking for that tropical look, even if they are not in a tropical region, and Caladiums fill that void.”
“We’re excited about the versatility of these robust Caladiums, as they can fill a landscape bed to create a completely new, tropical look, or just as easily act as an amazing thriller or accent in an upright container on a patio,” he adds.
Caladiums have been known as a shade plant, so people are excited that there are varieties which can perform in the shade as well as in the sun, according to Varsogea.
20 different Heart to Heart options
The 20 different varieties are offered in two types – Fancy Leaf and Strap Leaf. Generally, Fancy Leaf Caladiums tend to have heart-shaped leaves, develop a bit more quickly, stand taller and have a more upright habit. The Strap Leaf varieties typically have leaves that are more elongated arrow-head shaped, are more sun and cold tolerant, stand shorter, and have a more spreading habit.
The new varieties are shown below.
Fancy Leaf Types
Strap Leaf Types
“There is a lot of excitement as this is a new program for many of our growers (especially in the north), and we’re eager to see where it goes,” Varsogea explains. “With the variety, vigor and ease of this program, we know that our growing partners will be successful, as will the consumers!”