Gladiolus: Care and Growing Tips
Gladiolus or Glads is a trendy cut flower in indoor gardening and vase arrangements. No summer bouquets are complete without glads. They have a large array of colors to complement each occasion. Gladiolus also symbolizes strength.
In this article, let’s learn about planting and care of Gladiolus so that you can complement your garden perfectly with its attractive and soft pastel spectrum.
Gladiolus is the classic perennial flower that belongs to the family Iridaceae and genus Gladiolus. It is commonly called “Glads”. They are also called “sword lily” due to their blade-like leaves.
Gladiolus is available in varieties of colors with 2-5 feet spike length. It is popular for its colorful bloom and spectacular long flower spikes.
The bloom size ranges from miniature (less the 3 inches in diameter) to giant (diameter greater than 5 inches).
When to plant Gladiolus?
1. Gladiolus are prone to frost, so they should be planted after the danger of frost has gone.
2. Spring is the perfect time as flowering occurs during the summer season. At least 13°C (55°F) soil temperature is required for germination.
3. But, you can plant at any time in a tropical frost-free area. If you are willing to extend the spectacular bloom round the year, then plant in different lots. Plant in every 10 days interval. Also, selecting varieties with different maturity times will promote stager flowering.
4. Glads are ready to bloom after 60-90 days of planting corms.
Preparation of Planting Site
First, select the bright sunny area, then, manure well, and ensure the drainage condition.
Deep plowing or digging should be done using a tiller or garden forks. The depth of loosening soil should be 12-15 inches. Prepare beds by mixing well-rotten compost.
Gladiolus grow and flower best in the bright sun, which ensures a strong stem with prolific flowering. Blooming occurs in partial shade, too but with dull petals and short spikes.
Glads grow well in fertile and well-drained sandy loam soil. Clay or heavy soil with poor drainage will rot the corm. In such a case, raised bed planting should be done.
Spacing and depth of sowing:
Sowing depth and spacing both depends on varieties selected and climatic condition. Tall varieties require more spacing than miniature ones. Generally, gladiolus bulbs are planted into 2-6 inches depth, 6-10 inches apart.
1. The size of the bloom depends on the corm size. So, plant 1 inches or larger diameter gladiolus corm for large-sized bloom.
2. Prepare raised bed for better drainage and growth and plant at a depth of about 2-6 inches.
3. Cover the corm with soil and then mulch with straw or dry grasses.
4. For cut flower purposes, row planting eases the harvesting.
5. But, if you are willing to plant with other annual herbs, then border planting or group planting enhance the aesthetic value of your garden.
Aftercare/ Intercultural Operations
Mulching promotes germination, regulates temperature, holds moisture, and prevents weed. Mulch 2 -4 inch layer with straw or husk or dry grass after the germination of Glads.
Heavy loss can occur due to weed infestation, as they do not compete well with weeds.
Timely weeding should be done to promote growth. You can also apply pre-emergence herbicides in weed-prone areas before planting.
As they bloom in summer, they require frequent irrigation. Deep watering in the weekly interval is enough. Make sure to avoid over-watering; otherwise, it leads to rotting of the corm.
Tall varieties are prone to lodging even in a gentle wind. So, staking or providing support to plants prevents drooping, deforming, or curving from summer storms. Push stakes on the ground soon after planting; early staking prevents from damaging the flower.
Tie the flower stalks loosely with soft material to support them. Remove stake only after harvesting the spike.
The plant takes nutrients from the corm, so little fertilizer is required. Application of complete fertilizer 1 month before flowering ensures a strong and vibrant bloom.
Also, spraying of soluble fertilizer in fortnight intervals promotes the flowering period.
Pests and diseases
Thrips can become a serious threat in blooming spikes. They may prevent the opening of flower buds by damaging them.
Control: Destroy infested part, spraying of Confidor or MaxGuard.
Gladiolus corm rot
It is the most common fungal disease in Glads. Drooping and yellowing of plant symptoms first appear on the lower end, gradually rising towards the upper part. Ultimately withering, wilting, and dying of the plant takes place. It also occurs in the corm stored in winter.
Control: raise soil PH, maintaining neutral condition, polarization, and fungicide application
Similarly, other pests and diseases are
– Grey mold
– Aster yellows
– Spider mites
Does Gladiolus grow back and spread from old corm?
Yes, they grow back next year from the corm provided favorable micro-climatic condition and nutrient to the soil. While harvesting the flower, lower leaves should be retained for rejuvenation. Proper manuring and watering can get a nice clump that will bloom year-round.
Also, the corm produces many cormlets if provided good nutrition which can be separated to propagate gladiolus in another place. And if left untouched, they spread in the same place.
Storage of Gladiolus bulb in winter
– As the corms are frost intolerant, a layer of straw or hay will protect them from winter.
– In a tropical frost-free region, they can remain in the ground throughout the winter.
– In the USDA hardiness zone 7 or less (colder regions), dig up the corms and store them once the flower has faded in winter.
– Dig before heavy frost (28°F); otherwise, the plant could be damaged severely.
– While digging, avoid injury to corms. If damaged, discard them before storing them.
– Do not wash the corms; rather, shake off to remove the loose soil.
– Sun-Dry the corms for about 1-2 days and store them in the wooden trays
– Cure for about 2 weeks at 27- 29° C (80-85°F) in a warm and airy location.
– The fungicidal dusting of the corm will prevent several diseases.
– After that, store the corms in cloth bags or sacks in a cool basement at a temperature of 2 to 7°C (35 to 45°F).
– The corms will be ready to plant next spring.
Harvesting gladiolus for the bouquet
1. Harvesting should be done in the morning hours or at night.
2. Cut the flower spike with the sharp knife when the lower 2-3 flowers bloom completely on the stalk.
3. Dip the cut end in lukewarm water.
4. Store the bucket having a flower in a cool dark place before arranging it in the vase.
5. The remaining flower buds will bloom in the vase.
1. Candyman- beautiful deep pink flowers
2. Dream’s End-well suited for a back border plant
3. Prins Claus– white bloom with splashes of pink
4. Black Star– purple-red bloom
5. Glamini Glads– pest resistant, bloom in full sun or partial shade, perfect for the middle or front of flowerbeds.
Health benefits of Gladiolus
Gladiolus increases the aesthetic value of your garden. Besides, it has the following health benefits:
– Its consumption improves the digestive system by absorbing a variety of nutrients.
– It can also be used in curing constipation.
– It also helps in the reduction of menstrual cramps in women.
– Its consumption minimizes physical stress, anxiety, and depression, etc.