Caladiums (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are tropical ornamental aroids. They are often forced as potted plants and grown in the landscape to provide color (Evans et al., 1992). A great majority of caladium plants in the floriculture trade are propagated from tubers. More than 95% of the caladium tubers used in the world comes from central Florida (Bell et al., 1998; Deng et al., 2008). Many existing commercial caladium cultivars show attractive coloration patterns but have poor pot or landscape performance and/or poor tuber yield. ‘Marie Moir’ is an example of this type of cultivar (Wilfret and Hurner, 1982). Its leaves are very attractive in coloration (white face with dark green veins and numerous red spots) but are few in number, resulting in poor pot or landscape plants unsatisfactory for commercial or homeowner acceptance. Additionally, its field production of tubers has been unstable over the years (Terri Bates, personal communication), thus tuber growers cannot profitably grow the cultivar.
‘UF 85-5’ is a fancy-leaved cultivar with a primarily white leaf face and attractive red spots (Figs. 1 and 2). It is similar to ‘Marie Moir’ in leaf color and coloration pattern but different from ‘Marie Moir’ in petiole color (green versus brown on ‘Marie Moir’). ‘UF 85-5’ is distinct from ‘Cranberry Star’, a cultivar released by this breeding program in 2007 and developing burgundy/purple spots on leaves (Deng et al., 2008). ‘UF 85-5’ sprouted earlier, produced higher quality pot plants, and showed better performance in the landscape than ‘Marie Moir’ and is improved over ‘Marie Moir’ in tuber yield. ‘UF 85-5’ is much improved over ‘Cranberry Star’ in sunburn tolerance and landscape performance. These improvements make ‘UF 85-5’ an ideal replacement for ‘Marie Moir’ and an additional sun-tolerant cultivar for the landscape palette.
Bell, M.L., Wilfret, G.J. & DeVoll, D.A. 1998 Survey of caladium tuber producers for acreage of cultivars grown Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc 111 32 34
Deng, Z., Harbaugh, B.K. & Peres, N.A. 2008 ‘Cranberry Star’—A fancy-leaved caladium for containers and shady landscapes HortScience 43 252 254
Deng, Z., Harbaugh, B.K., Schoellhorn, R.K. & Andrew, R.C. 2008 2003 Survey of the Florida caladium tuber production industry Univ. of Fla./IFAS extension fact sheet, ENH 1007. 22 Aug. 2010. <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/EP258>.
Evans, M.R., Wilfret, G.J. & Harbaugh, B.K. 1992 Caladiums as potted and landscape plants IFAS, Univ. of Fla. Agr. Ext. Serv. Circ 1060
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Rhodes, H.L. 1964 Effect of hot water treatment of seed tubers and soil fumigation for control of root knot on yield of caladiums Plant Disease Rptr. 8 568 571
Wilfret, G.J. 1991 Florida Fantasy, a multicolored caladium for containers Univ. Fla., Inst. Food Agric. Sci., Circular S-381 Gainesville, FL
Wilfret, G.J. & Hurner, G.T. Jr 1982 A survey of caladium cultivars grown in Florida and their characteristics as potted plants Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc 95 190 194