The great thing about knowing a few tips on growing gladiolus is that the gardener who loves this elegant blooming beauty will be rewarded for a lifetime. These gorgeous growing wonders blossom in nearly every color of the spectrum and range in height from five feet tall to less than half that with blooms of corresponding size.
Easy to grow, easy to maintain, and very easy to enjoy, gladiolus have delighted gardeners and flower-lovers for many, many years. Read on to find out more about this truly remarkable flower and how to grow it for yourself.
Glad Growing Preferences
Tips on growing gladiolus include knowing that they grow in just about any type of soil. If given a preference, however, glads perform at their peak in fairly alkaline-based soils with a pH range of 6.7 to 7. Gladiolus also likes the good airflow provided by open spaces, so do not crowd them around buildings, rocks, trees, or other heavy plantings. They prefer a full dose of all-day sun, but do tolerate some shade.
After you have decided where to plant, deeply spade and turn over the dirt to a depth of six to eight inches. Apply a balanced 5-10-10 fertilizer at two or three pounds for every 100 square feet, working it into the soil as you spade.
Cow manure and leaves work excellently as organic fertilizers and soil conditioners, but use these only in the fall, not in the spring, as one of the most important tips on growing gladiolus successfully.
Where to Buy and When, How to Plant
Look for healthy, plump corms at the nursery, and as one of your tips on growing gladiolus, if buying online, only purchase from reliable sources. Good places to check reliability of gladiolus corm suppliers include searching the online websites of places such as the North American Gladiolus Council, the British Gladiolus Society, and the Empire State Gladiolus Society.
Planting gladiolus at the same time that corn is planted in your region is a good rule of thumb in tips on growing gladiolus, and planting at two-week intervals ensures a continuous and extended blooming period. A convenient method of planting is to dig a trench five inches deep and space the glads five inches apart. Some pros advise applying insecticide to the trench to prevent future under-the-ground insect problems.
Before blooms appear, mound dirt up six inches on the stalks of the individual plants to keep them from being blown over or driven to the ground by heavy rains. And speaking of rain, make sure the gladiolas receive plenty of water, but take care to not let them stand in it; wet feet (roots) mean sure death to glads.
Weeding, Fertilizing, and Over-Wintering
Keep weeds down by hand and with light cultivation, and if insects appear, keep them at bay with your choice of organic or commercial products. As part of your tips on growing gladiolus, keep in mind that organic products usually require more frequent applications but are less hazardous to the environment.
Although gladioli are not eaten, and insecticides would not be consumed, you (or someone else living in the house after you sell it) might someday grow vegetables in your gladiolus spot.
Dig corms every autumn if in an area with deep freezes and keep in a cool, dry environment with good air circulation. Divide the glad corms every two or three years to prevent overcrowding. And with that, you have got plenty of tips on growing gladiolus to get you off to a great start.
Photo by bcballard, Creative Commons Attribution License