Just as Thomas Edison created experimental botanical gardens related to his rubber research, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates has created an experimental botanical ‘Trials’ Garden to determine the sun tolerance and growth patterns for eight varieties of Coleus and seven Caladium species.
The Coleus is a tropical plant that was popular in Europe during the late 1800s and was a perfect choice for Victorian Gardens. They were used by Mrs. Edison as a border or container plant providing beautiful foliage colors without flowers.
Dr. Henry Nehrling, who visited Mr. Edison at his Fort Myers estate, also created experimental gardens and introduced 300 new and beneficial plants to the Florida landscape including Caladiums. There are now thousands of Caladium varieties that are grown for their long lasting and colorful foliage. They are available in many shades of red, pink, white and green.
The Trials Garden is located in the Edison Ford Heritage Garden next to the Museum and is free to the public. All of the plants in the Trials Garden are available for purchase in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe, so you can grow them in your own Trials Garden in your home landscape.