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Gladiolus

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Botanical name: Gladiolus

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Any

Flower color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, White, Multicolor

Bloom time: Summer

Gladiolus is a perennial favored for its beautiful, showy flowers. Its flowers grow on tall spikes and are often found in cutting gardens or in the back along the border (because they are tall). Gladioli have many different colored flowers, and grow between 2 to 6 feet in height. It's good for cut flowers.

Planting

  • Plant gladiolus bulbs in the spring once danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.
  • Ready your garden by using a garden fork or tiller and loosen the soil to about 12 to 15 inches deep. After loosening the soil, mix in a 2– to 4–inch layer of compost.
  • Set the corm in the hole about 4 inches deep with the pointed end facing up. Cover with soil and press firmly.
  • Space the corms 3 to 6 inches apart. Water the corms thoroughly.
  • Gladioli like well-drained, light soil and full sun.
  • If you're planting tall varieties, be sure to stake them at planting time. Be careful not to damage the corms with the stakes.
  • It takes about 90 days from the time gladioli are planted to root, grow, bloom, and store enough energy for the next season.

Care

  • Put a 2– to 4–inch layer of mulch around your gladioli to keep your soil moist and help prevent weeds.
  • If you get less than 1 inch of rain a week, water your plants regularly throughout the summer. Otherwise, water them moderately when in growth to keep the soil moist.
  • Remove the faded/dead flowers to ensure continuous growth. Once all the flowers on a stalk have gone, cut off the stalk.
  • Be sure to leave the plant intact so it can mature and rejuvenate the corms for the next season.
  • If you live in zones 7 or 8, put down a layer of hay or straw for winter protection.
  • Corms should be dug before the last frost in you live in zone 7 or ones colder. See instructions below.

Pests

  • Gladiolus corm rot (Fusarium)
  • Gray mold
  • Viruses
  • Aster yellows
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Aphids

Harvest/Storage

Before the first frost, you can dig up glads to store over the winter.

  • Use a space and dig up the entire plant, grasping the top to pull it out of the soil. Avoid bruising or injuring corms while digging. Shake off all loose soil and discard damaged corms. Cut the stalk within 1 inch above the corm. Save the small cormels separately if you so desire.
  • Allow the corms to dry in the Sun for 1 or 2 days if the weather agrees. Sift out excess soil and place corms in wooden flats or trays. Cure ina warm and airy location for 2 weeks (at a temperature of 80-85°F). Remove and throw away the oldest bottom corms (from the base of the new one).
  • Dust freshly dug, clean corms with a fungicide ("bulb dust") to avoid disease problems. Place dust and bulbs or other structures in a paper sack and shake vigorously.
  • Store the large, new corms in paper boxes, open paper bags, cloth bags, wooden trays with screen bottoms, or old onion sacks. Stack or hang the containers so air can move among them. Store the corms at 35 to 45°F in low humidity. A cool basement is quite suitable. Do not
    allow corms to freeze.
  • Replant these corms in the spring for another year of beautiful blooms.

Recommended Varieties

  • Candyman, for its beautiful deep pink flowers
  • Dream's End, which makes a good back border plant because its flower spike is up to 3 feet long (and it has pretty light orange flowers with large yellow centers)
  • Prins Claus, which has white flowers with splashes of pink on its petals

Gladious Picture

Comments

Regrowth

By Almanac Staff

The baby bulbs need time (ususally 2 years) to mature before they bloom. In the fall dig up the bulbs and replant them in a larger area so that they have more space to grow. if you live in a cold climate store the bulbs and replant in the spring.

Help!

By Anonymous

I planted 10 bulbs, 7 in a rather shallow plastic shadow box. The other three are in a pail. I have a patio garden. They are all producing leaves and one in deeper soil is starting a flower stock. Can I re-pot these into other pots without damaging the growth or do I need to wait until next year?

Help!

By Almanac Staff

For best results gladiolus corms need to be planted about four times as deep as they are wide. The shadow box may be too shallow for healthy growth. You can carefully repot the glads with only leaves to bigger pots. Don't move the glads with flower stocks.

gladiolus in maryland

By Anonymous

I live in Maryland, can you please let me know if I need to take the bulbs out for the winter.

Glad for advice

By Anonymous

I moved into a place that have gladiolus. The garden had not been taken care of for years. Only a few blossomed and they did not look that great. Is there a way of reviving them for next year or should I did them up and plant new bulbs?

Glad for Advice

By Anonymous

I live in Massachusetts and do not dig them up for the winter. I have grown glads for years and every other year, in the fall, I dig them up and replant the healthy corms. This will keep them at the right planting depth and ensure healthy corms. A little plant food in the whole when planting is also a good idea. Your corms are just fine, by now they are probably at the wrong planting depth which inhibits bloom.

Thank you for the

By Anonymous

Thank you for the information. This is the first year I've had glads in my garden and wasn't sure how to prepare them for winter.

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