Just as I promised, the second garden in my 3X3 Garden Series is specially suited for all of you shade-dwellers! The wonderful warm color of apricot is one of my personal favorites in the garden as it catches the eye without over-powering everything else. While bright splashes of colors such as yellow and pink can make quite the statement, it’s sometimes almost too much to take in all at once. The hue of the apricot begonias in this collections give a subtle, more refined palette of color while the foliage of the caladiums adds a wonderful texture to the backdrop or center of a container. The three amazing plants in the following gardens are the Picotee Apricot and Scarlet Begonia, the Roseform Apricot Begonia, and the Red Ruffles Caladium. Let’s take a look at each of them briefly, shall we?:

Picotee Apricot and Scarlet Begonia (3) total tubers
In the world of flower blooms, the term “picotee” refers to a thin margin of a secondary color on the petals of the bloom. In the case of this begonia, a rich golden yellow-orange apricot petal is edged with a thin line of scarlet red. Subtle enough to not create a busy appearance, the petals almost appear to be glowing. Like most begonias, this one loves the shade and staying moist (although not wet) and grows approximately 8-14″ tall. The tubers should be planted just below the soil surface to avoid rotting issues. The main color of the petals complement the roseform begonia in this collection perfectly while the red margin help to echo the Red Ruffles Caladium.

Roseform Apricot Begonia (3) total tubers
Beautiful in every way, the Roseform Apricot Begonia could not be more perfect in this collection. The swirling appearance of the petals add a soft touch to the bold statement this gorgeous gem makes in the shade garden or container. (This is actually one of my favorite spring-planted bulbs and I’m not even usually a fan of begonias!) This one also grows 8-14″ tall which makes it perfect in front or around the taller-growing caladium. This shade-lover will add a true touch of elegance to your garden bed or planter.

Red Ruffles Caladium (3) total tubers
One of the newest members to the Caladium family, the foliage of the Red Ruffles caladium has a slight curl to its margins, giving it depth and dimension. The deep red centers fade into a green margin. This particular caladium resides in perfect harmony with the begonias as it is sits just above them in height (12-18″) and coordinates beautifully with its deep red and green leaves. Not only that, but this newly-developed variety has been bred for a tad more sun tolerance than other caladiums. Since this plant will provide some shade for the begonias in the following layouts, a partially-shaded location would be ideal for this charmer!

Garden Layout #1: Round Planter or Container

This is a wonderful combination for the small- to medium-sized pot in that partially shaded corner of your patio. I recommend using a pot at least 18″ in diameter (can be larger but may not look as full) for the amounts of plants in this collection. Place the (3) caladium bulbs in a triangular shape in the center of the pot, approximately 6-8″ apart and no more than 2″ below the soil surface. Then place the (6) begonia tubers, concave side up, in a circular pattern while alternating colors around these caladiums, approximately 4-6″ apart and 4-6″ away from the caladiums’ location. Try to leave at least 4″ between the center of the begonia tuber and the edge of the pot to give them room to grow. Feel free to fill in with your favorite shade-loving annuals of greens and oranges. Short-growing coleus would be an excellent choice!

Garden Layout #2: Circular or Tree Garden Bed

These particular plants work¬†amazingly¬†well when used in a tree ring or circular bed under a large structure as the shade the tree will provide is just what the doctor ordered for these guys! Start by placing your caladiums around the tree trunk (or structure) in the center, approximately 6-10″ apart. Obviously, you may have to provide more spacing depending on the diameter of the trunk at the base. Cover them with 1-2″ of well-drained soil. Then plant your begonia tubers (concave side up) in a circular pattern around the caladiums, leaving 6-8″ between each one and approximately 6″ between them and the caladiums. You will want to be sure to leave at least 3-4″ of open soil between the center of each begonia tuber and the edge of the bed to allow for them to fill in without hanging over onto the surround grass or paved surface.

Garden Layout #3: Rectangular Garden Bed

In this example, I am assuming that your garden bed is parallel to a taller “structure” of some kind, such as a fence, house, or even a line of tall shrubbery. If this is the case, you most definitely will want to place the caladiums (which are taller-growing) towards the back of the bed, approximately 8-10″ apart and no more than 2″ below the soil surface. If for some reason the bed is more “free-standing” and not along a structure place the caladiums down the center of the bed with the begonias around them, similar to the previous examples. The begonias will then be placed in a diagonal pattern (while again alternating colors) in front of these caladiums, approximately 6-8″ apart. As in the previous example (and always when planting begonias), do not cover these with much soil and be sure that the concave side of the begonia tuber is facing upward.


This completes my second 3×3 Garden! As with all of the gardens in my 3×3 Garden Series, this one is available at half-price on Holland Bulb Farms right here. Each purchase of the collection event comes with a full instruction sheet detailing each garden layout for easy reference when you are out planting in the garden. Be watching for next week’s 3×3 feature which focuses on two of my favorite things in the summer garden: dahlias and the color purple!!!

With hands in the dirt and head in the clouds,