Friday, January 13, 2012
Gladiolus - Preparing to Plant Bulbs and Corms
With January half way through, it's time to start preparing your dirt to plant your bulbs and corms. This foresight will give you beautiful spring and early summer color. I have chosen to focus in on one specific plant, the Gladiolus. Native to South Africa, the Gladiolus flower signifies remembrance. It also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that he or she pierces the heart. It also stands for strength of character, faithfulness and honor.
Gladiolus do well in a wide variety of soil types, but the pH of the soil should be between 6.2-7. Choose a location that is mostly sunny, with late afternoon shade to protect against the heat and sun. Prepare your soil with amended soil, much like you would a vegetable garden, then water your bed. Ensure it drains well. (Note: Glads are great tall plants for your flowerbed, due to the fact they grow 2-6 feet tall.)
As soon as the last frost has occurred, you can start the process. After roto-tilling or plowing your soil, you can add a fungicide to protect against disease. You can also add fertilizer if needed. Call us for more details.
Plant your corm/bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep, 4 to 6 inches apart. To maximize color, plant more corms/bulbs every two to three weeks. To keep weeds to a minimum, add two to three inches of mulch around your glads to help keep them moist. Glads are very poor competitors, and weeding must be done by hand or light cultivation.
Glads need to be well watered without being over-saturated. Start a watering regime when there are five leafs on the plants.
Thrips are a major pest for Glads, so an insecticide should be considered. Thrips are sucking insects and will deform your flowers. An all purpose insecticide
Remove the faded/dead flowers to ensure continuous growth. Once all the flowers on a stalk have gone, cut off the stalk.
It takes approximately 90 days for the gladiolus to root, grow, produce flowers, store energy for the next season, and be mature for reproduction for the next growing season.