I am mostly a tree person, and I like to grow stuff as much to learn about something new. My sister Jane was a great horticulturist. She was trained as a Landscape Architect but could talk about and name just about any plant, flower, bulb that there was. She died in 2017, and I ended up with several large plant containers with some large bulbs in the containers; I had no idea what they were. I believe I figured out the bulbs were Gladiolus before I planted them. I do recall that I left them outside in a small container, it rained on them in the early spring before I planted them. The bulbs started sprouting before I planted them, and I was surprised at how beautiful they were. xxx
Below are some of the things I learned. (not necessarily in order)
- It seems to be good to plant the bulbs with a 3 ft stake next to them when they are planted so you have something to tie them to as they are pretty top heavy. There are lots of other good ideas on the Internet on other methods of support. The reason you use a stake at planting time is so that you don’t have to drive a stake into the growing root system and damage the bulb in any way.
- I did not have many bulbs that first season, I believe it was less than eight. It was still amazing and a pleasant surprise as each bulb opened up. There was a purple flower that was spectacular and wanted to make sure that I saved it. The main bulb develops a new bulb on top of the old one after it has dried a about a month one can pop the old bulb off an trash it. The new bulb will have some roots attached and I usually cut the old stem about 3 inches above the bulb and cut off the roots. Then you are supposed to do some fancy things to the bulb to get it through the winter and make it ready for planing in the late winter. In my case I just save the bulb and hopefully mark the yogert container I am saving it in.
- As you will note from some of the photos that there are lots of little bulblets either loose, or still attached to the bottom of the main bulb. I have found that if you let the dying flower stay in the ground until the end of the season, then depending on species you will have lots of bublets. The first year I grew the bulblets, I placed them in the top of a 20 inch pot and just put about 1/2 inch of soil on top of the bublets. I think everyone of them germinated. What I had read was that it would take a couple or 3 years to get flowers from the bulblets. I think that first year I had a couple that bloomed, but they were puny. If you are a lazy gardener like I am sometimes, you can just leave them in the ground, and in our climate they will sprout. Here below is an example of bulblets that came up where I had some glads planted last late spring. For some reason when I dug the other plants up I just left a lot of bulblet there. The reddish stem will probably be a red gladiolus or possibly, purple.
The photo above shows the base of plant of 3 plant stems which are more of less purple. I noticed when I was growing them that this color was prominant early in the season but tends to fade as the season progresses. I let all my plants mature untl the end of the season when I harvest the new corms. I was testing a way to draw on the photo, and just decided to leave it as it is. The blue points to the purple color.
In my opinion the best thing to do is to let the bulbs grow until the foliage wilts and then dig up the plant being careful to not damage the soil around the base of the bulb where the bulblets reside. In this way if you replant the bulblets early next spring or late winter you will never run out of Gladiolus flowers. I have found that some plants are most generous with bulblets and others are stingy. My favorite purple one does not produce a great number of bulblets, where as the yellow flowers seem to produce more bublets.. In my situation I have two yellows, they are both pretty, but one has a touch of orange which makes it outstanding. Below is a photo of some of one of Gladioli with the afternoon coming through the window.
More photos coming later.