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Publication #ENH1106

Dr. Brent™: A University of Florida Caladium Variety for Use in the Container and the Landscape1

Zhanao Deng2

Dr. BrentTM is a red, lance-leaved caladium variety with a unique coloration pattern (bright red with colorful blotches). This variety produces a fair amount of tubers, and it sprouts early. As a result, it can quickly develop many large leaves. De-eyeing is not required for producing quality pot plants in containers although de-eying can increase leaf number and results in shorter plants with smaller leaves. Dr. BrentTM has excellent resistance to leaf sunburn and chilling injury. These characteristics make this variety well suited for container forcing and landscape use.

Figure 1. 

Dr. BrentTM plants forced in containers. Plants from one intact (left) and one de-eyed (right) No. 1 tuber (1½ - 2½ inches in diameter), planted in 4½-inch square pots and photographed eight weeks after planting.


Credit:

Richard O. Kelly


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Plants from three intact Jumbo (2½ - 3½ inches in diameter) tubers, planted in a 10-inch pot and photographed 10 weeks after planting.


Credit: Zhanao Deng
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Origin

Dr. BrentTM was developed from a cross between two commercial varieties, 'Florida Blizzard' and 'Florida Red Ruffles'. 'Florida Blizzard' was selected from a cross between 'Aaron' and 'White Christmas' and released for commercial production in 2001 (Harbaugh et al., 2002). 'Florida Red Ruffles' resulted from a cross between 'Red Frill' and a progeny of 'Red Frill' x 'Candidum Junior' (Wilfret, 1991). The ancestry of 'Aaron', 'Candidum Junior', 'Red Frill', and 'White Christmas' is unknown.

Description

Leaves of Dr. BrentTM are lanceolate; leaf margins are dark green, but central and main veins are red to purple. Interveinal areas are red/purple near the leaf center to yellow-green or orange toward the margins and have irregular blotches (Figure 1). Plants grown for four months in full sun in ground beds have an average height of 11 inches. The largest leaves on plants can be up to 10 inches long and 7 inches wide. Jumbo-sized tubers (2½ - 3½ inches in diameter) are multi-branched, and each tuber bears four to seven dominant buds.

Tuber Production

Dr. BrentTM was evaluated for tuber production at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma, FL, in 2006 and 2007. 'Red Frill' and 'Florida Red Ruffles' (the two major red, lance-leaved varieties), as well as 'Florida Sweetheart' (the most popular lance-leaved varieties in all colors), were included as controls.

The soil was fine sand containing approximately 1 percent organic matter and having a pH of 6.2. In 2006, raised ground beds (3 feet wide and 8 inches high) were fumigated with a mixture of methyl bromide and chloropicrin at the rate of 175 pounds per acre and covered with white-on-black plastic mulch.

Caladium seed tuber pieces were planted in the beds with 6-inch spacing between rows and within rows. A constant water table was maintained below the beds using the seep irrigation system. Osmocote 18-6-12 controlled-release fertilizer (eight to nine months) was applied at the rate of 300 pounds of nitrogen per acre when plants began to emerge from the ground.

In 2007, the beds (28 inches wide and 8 inches high) were fumigated using the same fumigant mixture. Caladium seed tuber pieces were planted with 10-inch between-row spacing and 6-inch in-row spacing. A drip irrigation system was used to deliver water and soluble fertilizer (6-2-8, approximately 1.7 pounds of nitrogen per acre per day). Thirty seed tuber pieces were planted in each plot in April 2006 and April 2007, and new tubers were harvested in December 2006 and January 2008, respectively.

Tubers were graded by their maximum diameter: No. 2 (1 - 1½ inches), No. 1 (1½ - 2½ inches), Jumbo (2½ - 3½ inches), Mammoth (3½ - 4½ inches), and Super Mammoth (>4½ inches). A production index was calculated for each plot as follows: number of No. 2 tubers x 1 + number of No. 1 tubers x 2 + number of Jumbo tubers x 4 + number of Mammoth tubers x 6 + number of Super Mammoth tubers x 8.

In 2006, Dr. BrentTM produced similar numbers of marketable tubers (44 - 52) as 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart'. However, Dr. BrentTM had the greatest tuber weight and the highest production index, with its tuber weight 95 percent, which was 68 percent higher than 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart'. Additionally, the production index for Dr. BrentTM was 56 percent and 39 percent higher than 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart', respectively (Table 1). Dr. BrentTM was superior to 'Red Frill' in tuber weight (3.9-fold), production index (2.3-fold) and marketable number of tubers (1.3-fold).

In 2007, Dr. BrentTM was similar to 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart' in tuber weight, production index, and marketable tubers, but superior to 'Red Frill' in all these assessments.

In tuber grade distribution, Dr. BrentTM was similar to 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart'. These three clutivars each produced a majority (60 percent or more) of tubers in the categories of No. 1, Jumbo, or Mammoth. Additionally, Dr. BrentTM produced larger tubers than 'Red Frill', which had more than 90 percent of tubers in the No. 1 and No. 2 categories.

Container Forcing

The suitability of Dr. BrentTM for container forcing was evaluated by forcing tubers in 4½-inch plastic pots. On March 26, 2007, No. 1 tubers were planted -- either intact or de-eyed -- in a peat/vermiculite mix. The tubers were forced in a greenhouse with 45 percent light exclusion in Wimauma, FL. Daily temperatures ranged from 60 - 84 degrees F in the greenhouse during the experiment.

Dr. BrentTM produced excellent pot plants, regardless of tuber treatments (intact or de-eyed) (Table 2). When tubers were planted intact, Dr. BrentTM sprouted 30 days after planting, which was similar to the sprouting time of 'Red Frill' (32 days). However, Dr. BrentTM sprouted 9 - 13 days earlier than 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart'. When tubers were de-eyed, there was no significant difference in sprouting time between Dr. BrentTM, 'Florida Red Ruffles', and 'Florida Sweetheart'. Dr. BrentTM sprouted six days later than 'Red Frill' when tubers were de-eyed.

Intact or de-eyed plants of Dr. BrentTM, 'Florida Red Ruffles', and 'Red Frill' were similar in height. Dr. BrentTM produced similar numbers of leaves as the control plants, but had larger leaves (1 - 4 inches longer and 1 - 3 inches wider than 'Florida Sweetheart' and 'Red Frill'). Dr. BrentTM and 'Florida Red Ruffles' were not significantly different in leaf width at the eighth week after planting. With multiple, bright colored leaves, containerized Dr. BrentTM plants received the highest (4.5 - 4.9) quality ratings when compared to the three commercial varieties (3.0 - 4.3).

Landscape Performance

Landscape performance of Dr. BrentTM under full-sun conditions was evaluated in 2006 and 2007 on the same plots used for evaluating tuber production. Plants were evaluated three times (July, August, and September) in each growing season, on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being very poor (few leaves and lack of vigor), and 5 being excellent (full plants, numerous leaves, and bright color display). Leaf sunburn tolerance was also evaluated three times in each growing season on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being very susceptible to sunburn (leaves having numerous sun-damaged areas or holes) and 5 being resistant to sunburn (no visible sun-damaged areas).

All varieties tested produced a similarly high number of leaves typical of lance-leaved plants (Table 3). Dr. BrentTM plants were taller (2 - 5 inches taller) and developed larger leaves (1 - 4 inches longer and up to 3 inches wider) than those of 'Florida Red Ruffles', 'Florida Sweetheart', and 'Red Frill'.

With multiple large leaves, Dr. BrentTM formed full plants with excellent color display, resulting in higher performance ratings than the controls in most of the comparisons. In sunburn-tolerance ratings, Dr. BrentTM was similar to 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Sweetheart' (4.0 - 4.4 through the growing season) and was better than 'Red Frill' in August and September.

Chilling Resistance

Mature leaves of Dr. BrentTM were detached from potted plants and exposed to 45 degree F for three days in a growth chamber. The chilled leaves were then held at ambient temperatures for 10-11 days and examined for signs of chilling injury (chlorotic and necrotic areas). Four chilling tests were conducted in June to August 2007. 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Candidum' were used as the chilling-resistant and chilling-susceptible controls, respectively. Dr. BrentTM had less areas injured from the chilling treatment than both 'Candidum' and 'Florida Red Ruffles', indicating that Dr. BrentTM has better chilling resistance than those varieties (Table 4).

Availability

A plant patent application has been submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Plant patent rights will be assigned to the University of Florida, Board of Trustees. Propagation and distribution will be licensed by the Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc., P.O. Box 110200, Gainesville, FL 32611. Information on tuber availability and propagation agreements can be obtained from the Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc.

References Cited

Deng, Z., B.K. Harbaugh, and N.A. Peres. 2008. 'UF 404' - dwarf, red caladium for container-forcing and sunny landscapes. HortScience 43:1907 - 1910.

Harbaugh, B.K., B.D. Miranda, and G.J. Wilfret. 2002. Florida Blizzard - A white, fancy-leaved caladium for large pots or shady landscapes. HortScience 37:844-866.

Wilfret, G.J. 1991. 'Florida Red Ruffles' and 'Florida Irish Lace': Two new lance-leaf caladium varieties. HortScience 31:564 (abstract).

Tables

Table 1. 

Tuber weight, production index, marketable tubers, and tuber grade distribution of Dr. BrentTM and three commercial caladium varieties when they were grown in replicated field trials (2006 and 2007). Values presented are means of three replications with 30 tuber pieces planted in each field plot (13.5 square feet).

 

Tubers

Tuber distribution (%)

Caladium varieties

Weight (LB)

Production index*

Marketable (number)

Super Mammoth

Mammoth

Jumbo

No. 1

No. 2

 

------------------------------------------------------ Year 2005 --------------------------------------------------------

Dr. BrentTM

10.4

155

52

1

11

31

47

11

Red Frill

2.6

68

39

0

0

1

67

32

Florida Red Ruffles

5.3

99

44

0

7

21

30

43

Florida Sweetheart

6.2

111

50

1

3

20

49

27

 

----------------------------------------------------- Year 2006 -------------------------------------------------------

Dr. BrentTM

6.2

105

37

0

3

21

51

25

Red Frill

4.2

66

39

0

0

8

45

47

Florida Red Ruffles

6.0

84

42

0

1

20

41

38

Florida Sweetheart

7.3

84

46

0

3

29

31

38

*The production index is an indicator of the economic value of the tubers harvested and is calculated as follows: N (No. 2) + 2N (No. 1) + 4N (Jumbo) + 6N (Mammoth) + 8N (Super Mammoth), where N = number of tubers in each grade.

Tubers are graded by maximum diameter: No. 2 (1 - 1½ inches); No. 1 (1½ - 2½ inches); Jumbo (2½ - 3½ inches); Mammoth (3½ - 4½ inches); and Super Mammoth (>4½ inches).

Table 2. 

Plant performance for caladium varieties grown from No. 1 tubers in 4½-inch containers in a 50 percent shaded glasshouse in Wimauma, Fla. (2007). Values represent the means of 10 plants produced from intact or de-eyed No. 1 (>1½ and <2½ inches in diameter) tubers planted individually per container. Data were taken eight weeks after planting.

 

Days to sproutz

Plant height (in)

Leaves (no.)

Leaf length (in)

Leaf width (in)

Quality ratingy

 

Intact

De-eye

Intact

De-eye

Intact

De-eye

Intact

De-eye

Intact

De-eye

Intact

De-eye

Dr. BrentTM

30

38

7.1

6.3

10

12

9.8

7.9

6.7

5.5

4.5

4.9

Red Frill

32

32

6.7

6.3

10

18

7.1

6.3

4.3

3.9

3.2

3.9

Florida Red Ruffles

38

40

6.3

6.7

8

13

6.7

7.1

5.1

4.7

3.3

4.3

Florida Sweetheart

43

39

3.9

4.7

6

16

5.9

6.3

4.3

4.3

3.0

4.2

z Number of days from planting to the first unfurled leaf

y Quality (as a pot plant) was rated eight weeks after planting (May 2007) on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being very poor, 3 fair and acceptable, and 5 being excellent in plant fullness and symmetry.

Table 3. 

Plant characteristics, performance and sunburn tolerance of Dr. BrentTM and three commercial varieties when planted in ground beds in full sun (2006 and 2007). Values presented are means of three replications over two years.

Caladium varieties

Plant height (in)

Leaf

Overall plant performance ratingz

Sunburn tolerance ratingy

Number

Length

(in)

Width

(in)

July

Aug.

Sept.

July

Aug.

Sept.

Dr. BrentTM

10.6

25

9.4

5.5

4.0

3.5

4.3

4.0

4.4

4.4

Red Frill

5.5

21

5.9

3.1

4.2

2.6

2.3

4.3

3.8

3.3

Florida Red Ruffles

7.5

23

7.1

4.3

3.5

2.5

3.0

4.3

4.2

4.4

Florida Sweetheart

8.3

22

7.9

5.1

3.5

3.2

3.4

4.2

4.1

4.2

z Plants were rated on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being very poor, 3 fair and acceptable, and 5 being excellent in plant vigor, fullness, and color display.

yPlants' sunburn tolerance was rated on a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being very poor, 3 fair and acceptable, and 5 being excellent without showing any signs of leaf burn or resulting holes on leaf surfaces.

Table 4. 

Sensitivity of Dr. BrentTM and two commercial varieties to chilling injury caused by exposing to 45 degree F for three days.

Caladium varieties

Leaf area injured (%)z

Leaf injury scorey

Dr. BrentTM

43

7.4

Candidum

90

9.8

Florida Red Ruffles

63

8.5

z Percentage of leaf area injured was assessed 10-11 days after chilling.

y Scores were made on a scale of 1 - 10: 1 = no injury, bright and healthy as the control; 2 = some discoloration or yellowing; 3 = 1% to 2%; 4 = 3% to 5%; 5 = 6% to 10%; 6 = 11% to 20%; 7 = 21% to 35%; 8 = 36% to 55%; 9 = 56% to 75%; and 10 = 76% to 100% of total leaf area injured.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH1106, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date, December 2008. Revised November 2011 and December 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Zhanao Deng, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast REC, Wimauma, FL.


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.