Gladioli – the plural of Gladiolus – could almost be considered a heritage plant. They have been around in this area since the time of the early settlers. They are wonderful, easy to grow, beautiful annuals that make amazing cut flowers in a breathtaking array of colours. Glads are started from root corms – sometimes people mistakenly call them bulbs – in the spring. They can be started either from wintered over corms or corms purchased in the spring. This blog will discuss how to get them going & growing in the spring – here is how some of our staff, Bonnie & Lucy do it.
Bonnie & Lucy begin soaking the Gladiola corms at the very beginning of May. First, they peel back the dried material off of the corms like an onion or garlic. Bonnie takes them right back to the colored flesh, but Lucy leaves a little of the brown peel on them – both methods work for them. Then they place the corms in glass pie plates, square glass baking dishes, or metal washing tubs right side up and add about 1½” of water to the bottom of the container. They continue to maintain that water depth over the next few weeks until the corms begin to form roots. The roots actually lift the corms up out of the water. Bonnie plants them at this stage, while Lucy prefers to wait until she sees nodules or a tiny green stalk starting.
By this time it’s garden planting time, close to May 20 and it’s also time to plant the gladioli. Plant the corms deeply – anywhere from 4-6 inches deep. No fertilizer is necessary. If your garden gets a lot of wind, stake the Glads so they stay upright.
Cut them when the first blossom is beginning to open at the base of the stalk and place them in clear, fresh water. The rest of the blooms will open in succession over the next week or so.
If you haven’t ever tried Gladiolas, consider giving them a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Sources: Bonnie & Lucy 🙂