Be aware of Myrtle Dust
HAVE you noticed the fruit on any of your Lilly Pillies, Rose Apples or Beach Cherries covered in gold dust?
It could be your plant has been infected by the serious fungal disease called Myrtle Rust. The first signs of rust infection are tiny raised lesions or pustules usually on the new growth. These lesions or pustules produce bright yellow spores. Older lesions or pustules may produce dark brown spores or a mixture of both yellow and brown.
Did you know that Myrtle Rust attacks the flowers and fruit of some plants and not just the foliage of plants with in the Myrtle family?
Do not take any samples to your local nursery
The site of one of Rockhampton oldest specialist Nurseries has been advertised for sale. This small shop on the corner of Thozet Road and Grubb Street operated as Kersey's Nursery for many years. It was during the 1960's that pioneer nurseryman and Caladium specialist Jim Kersey started breeding new varieties of Caladiums. It was this specialist work with Caladiums that earned Jim praise around the world. In fact many of the Caladiums that Jim developed are still sort after with collectors in the US.
Caladiums are part of a group of plants known as Aroids. Caladiums are clumping tuberous perennial plants grown for their long-lasting, colourful foliage.
In the garden Caladiums will perform best in a well-drained position but must have ample moisture. Caladiums are hungry plants and do require regular fertilising during the warmer months in order to produce good tubers for the next growing season. Fertiliser containing slightly higher phosphorus and also with added potash should be applied every 4 to 6 weeks during the warmer months. Never use high nitrogen fertiliser on Caladiums as it can cause the plant to produce more green leaves than the coloured ones.
Caladiums grow best in the partial shade of open, high-branched trees. They will need protection from full sun and also they are not tolerant to both frost and drought conditions. Some of the newer hybrids will tolerate exposure to full sun for a couple of hours a day. Most pink leaved caladiums can develop a brownish, scorched appearance when grown in sun. They will perform quite well in full shade but the colour may not be as good.
Caladiums can be grown either as potted plant or as shade plant in the garden. Foliage colours can range in various shades of red, pink, white, and green to yellow-greens. There are two basic types of caladium cultivars: fancy- and strap-leaved. Fancy leaved varieties have large, heart-shaped or semi-heart-shaped leaves. The strap varieties have smaller, narrower, elongated leaves giving the plants a more compact habit. Strap leaved caladiums produce more leaves per tuber than fancy-leaved caladiums. Fancy leaved varieties range in height from 30 to 50cm while most strap leaved varieties are less than 30cm in height.
Another important hint to know in growing Caladiums is not allowing the fertiliser to come in contact with the foliage. It is always best to thoroughly water your Caladiums after applying the fertiliser to prevent fertiliser burn.
Caladiums are very worthy under story plants that can find a home in every garden. The only thing is it might be hard to find Caladiums at the nursery.