Also known as gladiola, and glads, gladiolus are popularly grown to enhance the beauty of bouquets. Ranging between 2 to 5 feet in length, the trumpet-shaped flowers come in every shade, except blue. If you want to plant these South African native flowers in your garden, certain things have to be ensured before you get started.
Choose the Right Gladiola Corms
Corms, also known as bulbs, should have thick centers if you want the flower to bloom properly. If you desire the gladiola in your garden to reach a length of 2 to 3 feet, choose the corm whose diameter ranges between ½ and ¾ inches. If you go for the corms that are about an inch in dia, the flowers will grow much larger.
Store the corms in a cold and dry place before they get ready to be planted in the yard. Make sure that the temperature inside the storage container does not fall below freezing point. This can damage the bulb.
Pick up a Great Spot
Gladiolus bloom the best when they get full sun. Although you can witness their growth in partial shade, the colors of flowers in such case won’t be as vivid. To give your yard the desired astonishing colors, you must plant gladiolus at a spot where it gets enough of sunlight to grow and lush.
Take Care of Soil
Generally, the gladiolus prefers to grow in sandy loam soil, which has got exceptionally good water drainage. But any soil that is ideal for veggies is great for gladiolus. Heavy and wet soil can cause the roots of the plant to rot. If your yard is filled with clay soil, loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches before you plant gladiolus over there.
Ideal Climate Conditions
It is better to plant them in spring to get the best results. Hang on for the last frost in your area to pass before you take those gladiolus corms to the plant in the flower bed. If everything goes according to the instructions, it would take around two and a half to three months until the plant begins to flower.
Once the corms have been sowed with their pointed sides in upward directions, water the entire area uniformly. Also, you should water the bed 1 inch every week, especially if the rainfall isn’t sufficient to fulfill the needs of the gladiolus. The amount of water must be increased during the drought periods.
Mulch the soil
Weed competes with gladiolus for the water and thus has to be controlled. Gladiolus grows well when the soil remains a little moist. To avoid this from happening, you should mulch the soil once the plants start to emerge from under the ground. A 2 to a 3-inch thick layer of either straw or bark would serve the purpose very well.
Fertilizing the Area
To protect gladiolus from the insects, spray the pesticides which contain Malathion or carbaryl. This has to be done when the gladiolas have achieved a length of about 6 inches. If you delay it, the damage that it causes will be irreversible. Keep it in your mind and take good care of the plant and take every necessary action at the prescribed time as well.
Stake them if Necessary
Summer storms can cause the tall gladiolus’ spikes to flop over or bend. But this can be prevented by staking the flowers. Make sure you do this early on in the process so that the roots and the flowers don’t get affected by the supports. Remove the stakes once the flower is ready to be harvested.
Trimming the Flowers
Avoid the heat of the day and cut the stalks of the flowers early in the morning, or at night time. You need to cut them diagonally before you store them. Don’t store them as it is. Bring with you a container which has lukewarm water in it. Then place the container in a cool and dark place before finally putting the gladiolus flowers in a vase or a bouquet.