Gladiolus, or “glads” as they’re sometimes nicknamed are actually popular flowers. They’re tall, brightly colored red flower spikes that are showy in the garden and last a long time when cut, opening gradually from the bottom of the spike upwards.
Since I prefer to make open, relaxed-looking flower arrangements, I don’t grow glads for cutting. But I’ve grown them in a large flower border as vertical accents and in the center of a small round bed filled with a tumble of bright annuals.
We can also visualize a fine gladiolus display with flowers growing in a bed by themselves along a fence. You might also grow them in rows in the vegetable garden if you’re the main goal is to have them for cut flowers. Glad come in all colors but blue, and sizes vary from six-foot spikes to the dwarf “baby glads”. Most baby varieties are hybrids of Gladiolus x colvilglads you can sometimes find that are less artificial-looking. Try G. byzantinus, a two-foot red flower. It is hard to zone 5.
How to Grow Gladiolus?
Glads grow from corms. They’re planted in full sun and in rich soil that should ideally be sandier than heavy. You can start planting as soon as the danger of frost is over, then plant in succession every two weeks till midsummer for a longer season of bloom. You should plant glads in groups, digging some compost of 5-10-5 fertilizer into the soil, but add a little soil over it.
The corms should not rest directly on the fertilizer. The corms should go about four inches deep, but you can plant tall varieties deeper if you like for better support. Staking, or mounding the stems with soil may also be necessary. I would plant no closer than six inches apart. I’d also sprinkle a little more fertilizer around the plants after they come up and once again after picking. You should leave some foliage when you pick them so the plant can continue to grow and form new corms. Water plants deeply once a week during very dry spells.
As soon as the first frost hits, dig the glad’s all up with a spading fork and cut the stems back to one inch. Dry the plants for a few weeks out of the sun, and then break off and discard the old corm, which will have exhausted itself. Any new corms or cormels (immature corms) should be saved and stored at 40 to 50degrees.
Even gardeners in frost-free areas dig up glads and store them for a few months in a cool spot; the period of cold dormancy makes them flower better the following season. If thrips are a problem grow only early planting and dig them up before the thrips become active. Put moth flake in the storage bags with the corms to keep thrips from wintering over; dusting the corms with a fungicide is a good idea.
Also Read: Grow Morning Glory and Moon Flower Together