Add Vibrant Color and Life to your Late Summer Garden
By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
The names alone pack a punch of intrigue. 'Lime Zinger's' chartreuse color and arrow-shaped leaf structure make heads turn.'Black Magic' also with its dark coloring and defining foliage command attention. This Xanthosoma and Colocasia, respectively, complement any garden and when used as a focal point can turn an ordinary garden into a masterful creation.
‘Lime Zinger’ and ‘Black Magic’ can be grown in containers and placed outside or they can be planted directly into the ground. They grow six times as fast as Alocasias and are resistant to root rot. However, high amounts of water are necessary for rapid growth. Their starchy roots grow under high moisture and literally produce leaves within days, similar to growing corn. Many times these plants are used in aquatic gardening, which satisfy their water needs; however, as long as water is given regularly, they perform excellently as indoor or outdoor foliage plants.
Next, moderate amounts of fertilizer and full sun exposure are needed for the best growing results. These cultural conditions ensure that ‘Lime Zinger’s’ leaves
will glow their golden lime color and that ‘Black Magic’s’ leaves will hold their dark, defining color. After the summer season ends, bring them inside and place them in full sun to enhance your indoor living space. If grown in a container with annuals, be sure to remove the annuals. If you would like to downsize the plant, either prune back the leaves or separate and divide. The plants that are planted directly into the ground need to be lifted and moved into containers; use a three gallon nursery or a 12 –14” pot.
To winter over, you can place ‘Lime Zinger’ or ‘Black Magic’ in a basement and periodically water them. Although the light level will be low, they may continue to grow. The growth will be spindly and the color will pale, but they will maintain their bulb so when springtime hits they can be moved outside again. Be sure to give them high light again and moderate amounts of fertilizer … they will once again sparkle with color and health. Springtime is also a good time to divide plants.
In time the plant divides itself by off shoots creating young plantlets. Pull off and pot up and soon multiple stems will fill the pot.