top of page

Growing gorgeous gladioli

With May now upon us, many of our fervent Gladioli growers will have considered (and may well be advanced) in the timing of planting their new crop. Whilst there are many schools of thought as to stage-managing the timing of continuous flowering during the summer months, Monty Don’s '90 day rule' really work. If planned right, a keen grower could start planting bulbs when the soil warms up as early as April (subject to our northern climate) with the first cut of flowers in late June or early July and then each month thereafter. Last year I harvested my final glads in late September!

‘When deciduous trees come into leaf is a good indicator to start planting.’

If you’re not familiar with how to get the best results out of your flowers here are a few top tips which might help you to get the most out of your gladioli blooms:

  • Glads love a sunny position. As well as good, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter, I use manure and chicken pellets – they work a treat, the mix helps to hold in plenty of moisture to ensure good quality blooms. Dig over the planting area to a depth of 20-25cm (that’s 8-10in in old money!) and pop the corns in either trenches or in individual holes. The spacing depends on the height and type, from 10-20cm (4-8in) apart.

  • As most varieties are not completely hardy, the corms are lifted and stored frost free for winter, ‘I lift some and take a risk with others leaving them in the ground covered with a thick mulch over the soil’ . However if you decided to lift the corms dig them up after the first frost and leave to dry for a few weeks - the new corms should be detached from the withered, older mother corms and stored in boxes or mesh bags. If not dried thoroughly you will end up rotten corns.

When the plants have produced 5 or 6 leaves, the taller varieties will need some support. Canes with string or similar ties are the easiest method, but don’t tie too tight - this will strangle the developing flowerhead, and its best to ensure the stakes are inserted away from the base of the plant. This is because you don’t want to pierce the corn.

  • As with any other crop, watering during prolonged dry weather is essential. Glads deserve a good soaking once a week - about 2.5cm (1in) should do it. If you're growing them in containers, they will need more regular – maybe even daily – watering. If you’re really keen, fortnightly feeding with a liquid plant feed will help promote strong growth but it’s not essential. Switch to a high potash feed as the spikes grow and great results should follow.

Glads come in all types of shapes and sizes, from dainty miniatures, graceful primulinus hybrids all the way up to giant varieties with flowers up to 15cm (6in) in diameter, growing 1.8m (6ft) tall. Enjoy your glads; after all they didn’t do any harm to Dame Edna…

22 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page