Lake Placid: The 'Caladium Capital of the World'
LAKE PLACID, Fla. (FOX 13) - Around Lake Placid, there's a plant sprouting up. It's been catching the eye of those passing by for decades.
"The color. They love color," said Jason Holmes.
It's the caladium capital of the world.
"A caladium is a tuber, some people call it a tuber or a bulb, which therefore sends up what you see here," explained Holmes, pointing to the familiar pink and green plant.
Jason Holmes and his wife Sandy started Florida Boys Caladiums. Fields full of the colorful plants stretch for miles.
"They're easy. They just need dirt," he said. "We farm 35 varieties."
Caladium-growing has been a part of Holmes' family for decades. They started with wholesale and moved into an online business.
"Since the mid ‘40s, my grandfather and grandmother came from Wachula and started a handful on the shores of Lake Huntley," he said.
It's the bulbs farmers go after. Thousands are sent out from Lake Placid to customers across the country.
Every year, the caladiums in Lake Placid go on display. The town holds a caladium festival on the last weekend in July.
"We estimate we bring in 20,000 visitors and they come from everywhere," said Eileen May, the executive director of the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce.
May says visitors get to see how the plants are grown, from start to finish.
"There will be a grower on the bus with them. The grower will be able to talk about the history of the caladiums, how to buy your bulbs, how to buy your plants and how it's all started," she said.
It all started in the fields of Highlands County, with a few families who decided to take a chance and grow a new crop of plants.
"People just come from everywhere to see it, I mean how that little bulb goes into the ground and comes out to be a beautiful plant," May added.
This year, the Caladium Festival will take place from July 26 to July 28.
For more information visit: https://lpfla.com/caladium-festival-2/
To find out more about Florida Boys Caladiums, visit: https://www.floridaboyscaladiums.com/