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Plant Gladiolus in Your Garden for Stunning Columns of Brightly Colored Blooms:
Gladiolus are striking flowers in the perennial garden and are one of the most popular summer flowering bulbs grown for cut flowers. Gladiolus actually grow from corms, with each corm sending up an upright cluster of stiff, typically dark green fronds. The flowers of the gladioli begin producing blooms in mid summer to late summer. Plant gladiolus with other summer flowering bulbs such as dahlias, peonies and lilies for maximum summer blooms.
Uses for Gladiolus in the garden:
Gladiolus are very popular as cut flowers. Cut the flower spike when the first floret is showing color for the best quality cut flowers. Be sure to leave at least two, and preferably four, leaves on the plant after cutting spikes to help corms mature properly. By planting glads in successive planting, you will beable to have beautiful cut flowers all season long. Gladiolus or glads as they area called, make nice accents to container gardening plantings. Gladiolus show best when planted in masses of 5 or more corms. Plant gladiolus in with lilies in a perennial garden for a knock-out bloom combination. Gladiolus like dahlias are also useful in container gardens. Add 3-5 gladiolus corms depending on the size of the container to add a splash of summer color. When the blooms have faded, simply trim back the foliage below the other plants in the container or patio garden.
How to Grow Gladiolus:
Gladioli (Gladiolus species), named from the Latin for “little swords”, produce spikes that reach from
3 to 6 feet, and are available in a tremendous pallet of colors and are often grown as cut flowers. The plants grow and flower best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Soils that produce good garden vegetables will produce good glads.
Space planting times a week to ten days apart to have gladiolus in bloom the entire summer. Plant the corms 3 to 6 inches deep, depending on size of corm. Glads can be planted by digging out a trench and planting corms in either a single or double, staggered row, or by planting in groups of 9-24 in the perennial border. Corms may be spaced only 2 to 3 inches apart in the row or in groups. Rows should be spaced from 20 to 36 inches apart.
Gladiolus plants need ample water throughout the growing season. Watering should soak the ground thoroughly. Avoid watering during the heat of the day. Organic fertilizer should be applied at the rate of 3 to 4 pounds per 100 square feet of bed area when plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, and again when the flower spikes appear. To keep the plants erect, they may be staked, although when planted within perennial borders en masse they are self-supporting. We suggest planting with robust perennials such as Rudbeckia Goldsturm or Monarda (Bee Balm). Hilling up soil on both sides of the row also gives good support. Mulches help to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture. A 3- to 4-inch depth is needed for good weed control.
Gladioli are not hardy below USDA Zone 6 but may often over-winter with a layer of mulch. If you want to store the corms, dig them after the tops die off, but before a hard freeze. Dry outside in a light, airy place. After two to three weeks of drying, remove the old withered corm from the base and discard. Corms should be stored during the winter at a temperature of 35 to 45 ° F in a well-ventilated area.
The most troublesome pests are gladiolus thrips. This insect does considerable damage to the flowers. It causes malformed and spotted flowers. Aphids, grasshoppers and cucumber beetles are other insect pests that may cause damage to flowers or foliage. Gladiolus corm and stem rots are active during storage and develop with proper curing and storage. Before planting in spring, inspect and discard all infected corms.
Tip: Contrary to popular belief, gladiolus are not deer resistant and especially are not deer proof! At our farm in Eastern Oregon, which has quite heavy deer traffic from both white tail deer and mule deer, we have to protect the 1,000's of gladiolus that we plant every year.