This caladium pairs well with a hosta in a shady corner of the garden. Photos by Doug Oster
For me, there's nothing better than a garden bargain, it's almost as fun as planting. This might be my favorite time of the year as nurseries try to sell off what's left before all the new plants come in for fall planting. I can't resist finding things cheap or plants that need a little TLC.
There are three plants in particular I'm looking for, caladiums, dahlias and begonias. All three have a bulb or tuber which can be saved over the winter and then planted again next spring.
Caladiums are grown for their beautiful foliage. They enjoy shade and will light up the corner of any garden. I found some big plants for $14 that will continue to put on a show for another couple months. I also found caladium hanging baskets for about the same price. The colors are spectacular and the plants love growing in containers.
Tuberous begonias are another great choice, since their tuber can also be saved. 'Bonfire' is my all time favorite and I got two hanging baskets for $4 each. They were a little tired so I potted them up into big basket I had left over from last season. They got a good drink of liquid, organic fertilizer and I'll keep feeding them every week. They perked up in only a few days and now look great. Be sure when you find a begonia at the nursery, it's the type with a tuber, so it can be saved at the end of the season.
The third plant is a dahlia. I bought huge pots filled with lots of flowers for $12, the pot alone is worth that. It's growing where I have the most sun, in the vegetable garden. I love having flowers growing in consort with the veggies.
When things cool off at the end of fall, I'll detail how to save the bulbs and tubers. It's easy and a great way to add more plants to your collection.
Lots of gardeners don't grow these three plants because they don't want to save them, that's OK too. If you can get them at a deal and enjoy them until frost, why not?
This 'Bonfire' begonia growing in a hanging basket is already starting to look great. By the end of the season the stems will nearly reach the ground.
You can't beat dahlias for instant summer color in the garden.