This has to be one of my all time favourite Caladiums. The photos never do it justice and it’s the one plant in the greenhouse that always stops everyone.
The mature leaves are so translucent and so pink that they just don’t look like they can possibly be real. Although many people think this a new hybrid it’s certainly been in collector’s possession here in Australia for many years.
There is not a lot of details on the breeding of “Thai Beauty” but does come out of Thailand. Originally in Thailand it was named “Honglong” or “Hok Long” – I think there has been some confusion along the way – and was named “Thai Beauty” by Stokes Tropicals in the USA.
Now it was not made in a lab, though it’s “other worldliness” does make one wonder. But as far as I have been able to determine, the origin is rooted in Thailand Royalty.
The Thai Royal Household had Caladiums for their exclusive enjoyment. They were not generally available on the open horticultural market. And so, the story goes that the Thai Royals were having them bred, using some different species – and this went on totally unknown by the West for over a Century.
In the last couple of decades, the secret has gotten out! And now we too can enjoy some of these Royal Treasures.
So what is all the fuss about Caladium Thai Beauty. The photos say it all!
Now the group of four leaves below shows from right to left the progression of the leaves as the plant gains strength. So don’t be alarmed if the first few leaves on your new Thai Beauty look like the far right photos. As the bulb gains strength over the growing season it will start to produce the famed leaves on the left.
And have you ever wondered what its flower looks like? We were blessed with a flower this year. And Neil hybridized with it – so time will tell, if we end up with an “Aussie Beauty”.