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Publication #ENH1007

2003 Survey of the Florida Caladium Tuber Production Industry1

Z. Deng, B.K. Harbaugh, R.K. Schoellhorn, and R.C. Andrews2

Caladiums are popular tropical plants because of their bright, colorful leaves and tolerance to both heat and shade. Potted and landscape caladium plants are grown from tubers (often called bulbs). Most of the caladium tubers used throughout the world are produced by caladium growers in Lake Placid and Sebring, Highlands County, Fla. These caladium growers and their tuber-production industry are an important component of Florida's environmental horticulture industry. Additionally, these growers have a worldwide impact in the global caladium market, routinely supplying more than 95 percent of all caladium tubers worldwide.

A survey of the Florida caladium growers and industry was conducted from June to August 2003. Objectives of the survey were 1) to gather basic demographic information about the Florida caladium tuber production industry, 2) to understand the industry's needs for new cultivars, research and informational resources, and 3) to determine caladium cultivars that are currently grown commercially and to identify the leading cultivars. Similar surveys were conducted in 1979 and 1997.

In June 2003, survey forms were mailed to 20 business operations, of which 14 were at that time growing caladiums for tuber production. A total of 13 growers returned their surveys. The responses represented at least 95 percent of the total acreage in caladium-tuber production in the 2002 -2003 season.

Industry-wide General Information

Respondents reported 1,258 acres in caladium-tuber production in 2002 and 1,330 acres in caladium-tuber production 2003. These acreages are close to the 1,311 acres reported in the 1997 survey. The average number of years the respondents reported being in business was 23. Growers also reported employing an average of seven full-time employees plus 11 seasonal, part-time workers. All the responding growers reported using multiple marketing channels.

Industry Perceptions of the Need for Improved Caladium Cultivars

From 1988 - 2002, 13 new cultivars were released from the University of Florida /IFAS's caladium breeding program at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. These new clutivars were grown on more than 130 acres in the 2002-2003 season. The industry indicated a high demand for new cultivars with improved resistance or tolerance to major diseases, especially Fusarium tuber rot and Pythium root rot, and root-knot nematodes. In addition, improved tuber yield and quality were considered as priority breeding objectives.

Industry Perceptions of Needs in Other Research Areas

Several areas have been identified as research needs. These areas include: 1) fertilization recommendation as related to fertilizer analysis, rate, frequency and timing of application; 2) disease management for grassy tubers and leaf blight; 3) new herbicides for weed control in production fields; 4) tuber curing, storage, and postharvest physiology; and 5) application of plant-growth regulators to replace the costly, manual de-eyeing process.

Industry Perceptions of Needs for Information on the Internet

The majority of respondent growers expressed their interest in being listed on the Web pages in the website developed at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. The growers encouraged researchers to use the Internet and websites to deliver to brokers, greenhouse growers, wholesale customers, homeowners, and other end users information related to tuber quality, container forcing, greenhouse production of pot plants, and correct landscape use. Promoting the use of caladiums in the landscape is viewed as a high priority.

Caladium Cultivars Grown in Florida

A total of 108 distinct cultivars were listed in the survey form. Respondent growers identified 92 cultivars being grown in Florida in the 2002-2003 season (Table 1). Seventy-five of the cultivars they reported growing in the 2002 - 2003 season were fancy-leaved, and 17 were lance-leaved. The majority of growers each grew 20-30 cultivars that season while 35 of the 92 cultivars were exclusively grown by a single grower that season.

The survey results indicated that more than 99 percent of the acreage utilized by the industry that growing season was used to propagate 53 cultivars. The top 10 fancy-leaved cultivars grown that season were as follows: 'White Christmas' (11.8% of the total fancy acreage), 'Candidum' (11.3%), 'Carolyn Whorton' (7.2%), 'Pink Beauty' (6.7%), 'Freida Hemple' (6.5%), 'Fannie Munson' (5.8%), 'White Queen' (5.2%), 'Candidum Jr.' (4.7%), 'Red Flash' (4.3%), and 'Postman Joyner' (3.9%) (Figure 1). The top 10 lance-leaved cultivars grown that season were 'Florida Sweetheart' (23.8% of the total lance acreage), 'White Wing' (13.6%), 'Gingerland' (11.3%), 'Red Frill' (13.6%), 'Florida Red Ruffles' (8.3%), 'Pink Gem' (8.2%), 'Lance Whorton' (5.6%), 'Rosalie' (5.6%), 'Pink Symphony' (5.3%), and 'Jackie Suthers' (2.3%) (Figure 2).

Figure 1. 

Top 10 fancy-leaved cultivars as a percentage of total fancy-leaved cultivar acreage grown in the 2002 - 2003 season.


Credit:

Zhanao Deng


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Top 10 lance-leaved cultivars as a percentage of the total lance acreage in the 2002 - 2003 season.


Credit: Zhanao Deng
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Literature Cited

Bell M.L., G.J. Wilfret, and D.A. DeVoll. 1998. Survey of caladium tuber producers for acreage of cultivars grown. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 111:32-34.

Wilfret, G.J. and G.T. Hurner Jr. 1982. A survey of caladium cultivars grown in Florida and their characteristics as potted plants. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 95:190-194.

Tables

Table 1. 

Acreage and overall rank of caladium cultivars grown in Florida in the 2002 - 2003 season.

Cultivar

Leaf shape

Leaf color

Acreage

Overall rank

Aaron

Fancy

White

40.8

12

Ace of Hearts

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Apple Blossom

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Attala

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Autumn Beauty

Fancy

Novelty

<0.1

-

Big Red

Fancy

Red

0.2

-

Blaze (= Dr. T.L. Meade)

Fancy

Red

9.6

34

Brandywine (=Irane Dank)

Fancy

Red

13.0

24

Buck

Fancy

Red

10.9

28

Candidum

Fancy

White

120.6

2

Candidum Jr.

Fancy

White

50.0

8

Carolyn Jane

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Carolyn Whorton

Fancy

Pink

77.7

3

Crescent Queen

Fancy

Novelty

<0.1

-

Crimson Wave

Fancy

Pink

0.1

-

Dawn (=Day Break)

Fancy

Pink

0.1

-

Dr. Groover

Fancy

Pink

1.0

53

Edith Meade

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Elizabeth Lou

Lance

Pink

<0.1

-

Etta Moore

Lance

Novelty

<0.1

-

Fannie Munson

Fancy

Pink

61.8

6

Festivia

Fancy

Red

2.7

44

Fire Chief

Fancy

Pink

24.3

17

Fire Nymph

Fancy

Red

<0.1

-

Florida Beauty

Fancy

Pink

0.6

-

Florida Blizzard

Fancy

White

0.5

-

Florida Calypso

Fancy

Novelty

2.5

46

Florida Cardinal

Fancy

Red

37.5

13

Florida Elise

Fancy

Pink

11.6

27

Florida Fantasy

Fancy

Novelty

9.7

33

Florida Irish Lace

Lance

Novelty

<0.1

-

Florida Moonlight

Fancy

White

0.2

-

Florida Red Ruffles

Lance

Red

15.0

21

Florida Roselight

Fancy

Pink

6.5

38

Florida Sunrise

Fancy

Novelty

9.7

33

Florida Sweetheart

Lance

Pink

42.7

10

Florida White Ruffles

Lance

White

0.4

-

Florida Whitewater

Lance

White

1.9

48

Fred Bause

Fancy

Red

<0.1

-

Frieda Hemple

Fancy

Red

69.8

5

Galaxy

Fancy

White

1.2

51

Gingerland

Lance

Novelty

20.2

20

Grey Ghost

Fancy

White

7.1

37

Gypsy Rose

Fancy

Pink

4.1

40

Ivory

Fancy

White

<0.1

-

Jackie Suthers

Lance

White

4.1

41

Jesse Thayer

Fancy

-

<0.1

-

John Peed

Fancy

Red

22.6

18

Jubilee

Fancy

Novelty

0.1

30

June Bride

Fancy

White

9.8

32

Kathleen

Fancy

Pink

10.5

29

Lance Whorton

Lance

Novelty

10.1

30

Lee Stokes

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Lord Derby

Fancy

Pink

1.7

50

Madam Truall

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Marie Moir

Fancy

Novelty

1.2

52

Miss Chicago

Fancy

Pink

0.1

-

Miss Louisiana

Fancy

Pink

0.1

-

Miss Muffet

Fancy

Novelty

22.2

19

Mrs. Arno Nehrling

Fancy

Novelty

14.0

23

Mrs. F. Sanders

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Mrs. F.M. Joyner

Fanc

Pink

3.8

42

Mrs. W.B. Halderman

Fancy

Pink

1.7

49

New John Peed

Fancy

Red

<0.1

-

Pink Beauty

Fancy

Pink

72.0

4

Pink Cloud

Fancy

Pink

11.9

25

Pink Gem

Lance

Pink

14.6

22

Pink Glow

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Pink Symphony

Lance

Pink

9.4

35

Poecile Anglais

Fancy

Red

11.8

26

Postman Joyner

Fancy

Red

41.4

11

Pothos

Fancy

Novelty

<0.1

-

Red Flare

Fancy

Novelty

<0.1

-

Red Flash

Fancy

Red

45.6

9

Red Frill

Francy

Red

24.5

16

Rosalie

Lance

Red

10.0

31

Rosebud

Fancy

Pink

33.8

14

Royal White Robe

Fancy

White

<0.1

-

Ruby Smith

Fancy

Red

<0.1

-

Scarlet Beauty

Fancy

Red

9.0

36

Scarlet Pimpernell

Fancy

Red

2.8

43

Sea Gull

Fancy

White

<0.1

-

Texas Beauty

Fancy

Red

0.1

-

Tom Tomlinson

Fancy

Pink

5.9

39

Torchy

Fancy

Red

0.5

-

Triumph de L' Exposition

Fancy

Novelty

<0.1

-

White Christmas

Fancy

White

126.6

1

White Knight (=Lady of Fatima)

Lance

White

2.0

47

White Princess

Lance

White

<0.1

1

White Queen

Fancy

Novelty

56.0

7

White Wing

Lance

White

24.5

15

Zo Munson

Fancy

Pink

<0.1

-

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH1007, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 2005. Revised November 2011. Reviewed March 2015. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Z. Deng, associate professor, and B.K. Harbaugh, professor emeritus, Environmental Horticulture Department, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; R.K. Schoellhorn, formerly an associate professor of the Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida; and R.C. Andrews, formerly a horticultural extension agent in Highlands County, FL, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.