I love gladioli. I like to have them to put into bouquets during much of the summer so I plant them sporadically.
I start in early or mid-May (once the frost is done). Ten go into the ground a couple of inches down.
Since they are going to need stakes eventually, the stakes get placed next to them. This way, their spots are marked and they will merely need to be tied when the flowers begin to sprout out of the leaves.
After another ten to twelve days, I plant them again. I repeat this process for several weeks until my bulbs are all in the ground.
They emerge by sending a stalk up out of the ground. Often, there will be two stalks which is wonderful as this means that there will be two flowers from the same plant. When the flowers begin to open, they are picked and placed in vases around the house. Or, they are matched up with other cut flowers and given away to friends.
When buying bulbs, I look for bright, beautiful colors. There are quite a few different species of gladioli to choose from, so take some time looking around for the best –looking ones. With a little care, these bulbs can be kept for many years.
Where winters aren’t severe, gladioli will live through them in the soil. However, for those of us in the north, we need to dig them up and take them indoors for the winter.
- In the fall (before the first frost), pull each whole plant out of the ground. Be careful not to separate the leaves from the bulbs.
- Then place them on some old newspapers in a shady, airy place to dry. I put them on the floor in my screen porch. Keep them protected from frost while they are drying.
- After about two weeks, they are ready to prepare to store. Pull the bulbs gently from the leaves and separate the new bulbs from the old, shriveled ones. Place them in a container with wood shavings. Store in a cool place that doesn’t freeze such as a basement or root cellar.
- The bulbs will be ready to replant in the spring!
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer!
Celeste's new book on living lightly on the Earth is due out September 25, 2014.