- They need a very well drained soil. This is essential for achieving good healthy plants.
- They need a good open position with full sunlight.
- Look for clean healthy firm corms that are clean from disease.
- The correct planting time for Adelaide extends from mid June to mid September, this also includes places of a similar locality. Mid September to late December for the Adelaide hills areas.
- We suggest that you employ a granular systemic insecticide at planting time. This method can be used as a precautionary measure to prevent insect infestation. The other approach is to have a regular spraying program during their growing season using reliable insecticides. The main insect and which attacks gladiolus is Thrips and they will mark the flowers and eventually prevent the flowers on the spike from opening. For better adhesion of chemicals sprays, the addition of a wetting agent should be used.
- Plant the gladiolus corms 10 to 12cm (4 - 5 inches) deep and in rows spaced apart at 38 to 60 cm (15 to 24inches). Space each corm at least 10cm (4 inches) apart.
- Gladiolus, like every thing, requires ample water and a very heavy soaking each week. This is vital once plants have developed at least 6 leaves and until flowering is finished.
- When cutting the flower spikes, leave as much foliage intact as is possible.
- After flowering, continue to water, but do not flood for at least six weeks.
- Regardless of what advice given, dig the corms before the foliage dies back, even though the leaves are still green. This is normally six to eight weeks after flowering. Watch the small leaf on the out side of the plant and when it turns brown, this is a sure indicator when to lift the corms.
- Break the foliage from the corm rather than cutting and you will notice the foliage breaks away quite easily. Wash the corms in clean water, dry in shallow trays or mesh bags in a well-ventilated area and definitely not in the sun. Many articles may be used to store the corms, such as ice cream containers or old stockings etc.
- We suggest that the corms may be cleaned about 2 to 3 weeks after lifting. This process is to remove the old or mother corm from the new cormlets. You will noticed there are a number of pea shaped cormlets adhering to the roots etc. This is a good way to build up stocks of corms for they may be planted next season and will make good sized corms, therefore it is wise to save the largest for future planting.
Prepare the beds well in advance of planting time. Incorporate as much vegetable matter and compost as possible. Old animal manure may be used as long as it is at least 2 years old. A light application of super phosphate, or complete D which is known as 8: 4 :8 can be used in the soil preparation.
Do not place fertilisers in planting trenches or directly under corms. During the plant's growing time, give the gladiolus 2 applications of complete D with added sulphate of potash. We suggest 1 part to application at the 3rd. leaf stage and the second at the 6th. It is essential that you water the fertiliser in well.REMEMBER indigestion is more serious than hunger in growing gladiolus.PESTS
Thrips are gladiolus major pests. They are easy to control provided insecticides are used at as we have suggested at planting time.
SYSTEMIC INSECTICIDE, (DISULFOTON) granular will give 10 to 12 weeks protection and to complete the protection it is wise to give another application of the above at the 8th week stage or a complete spray with a reliable systemic insecticide.NOTE
all sprays need a good wetting agent to obtain best results, otherwise the spray will run off the plant and onto the ground with a complete waste of spray and time. Wetting agents aids in the wetting the foliage of the plants and gives good adherence of the spray or chemical on the foliage. Systemic sprays will enter the sap systems of the plants and eliminate the marauding insects. Spray regularly and you will have excellent spikes of flowers.DISEASES
Provided clean corms are planted at the correct time in soil that has not been contaminated by previous diseased planting there should not be any problems.
Fungi diseases should they occur, can be controlled by using Bravo or Mancozeb Plus. These complaints are in the minority and should not concern most growers. Obviously any diseased plants are best removed and destroyed.
Gardeners tend to have a love/hate relationship with gladiolus; very few people sit on the fence. If you're reading this, you probably appreciate the intricate beauty of these dramatic flowers and enjoy the vast color selection. Gladiolus hybridising is a hot area in the horticulture world right now, with breathtaking results. The outstanding choices are popping up so fast we’re having trouble keeping up with good photographs but can't wait to grow dozens of varieties in the near future for just that purpose. No longer the predictable flowers your grandmother grew, glads have morphed into stylish contributors for both gardens and bouquets. Here's to experimenting with zippy new choices!Outdoor Beds
- Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. While glads aren't fussy about soil, they will not survive in soggy soil or standing water.
- Site your plants where they will receive full sun.
- Dig holes and plant the corms 12 - 15mm deep and about 15 - 20mm apart. While glads may be planted more shallowly, bigger bulbs perform better with deep planting and the extra soil around the base of the flower stalks helps support the tall flower-laden stems. Plant the bulbs with the flattened side down and the growing point facing up. Because glads have a tall slim profile groupings of a dozen or more are most visually impactful. Many growers plant glads at two-week intervals to extend the blooming season.
- After planting, water your glads generously, soaking the soil to settle it around the corms. Roots and sprouts will form shortly although it sometimes takes a little while for the shoots to appear when the corms are planted deeply. (If the soil is still quite cool in your area, wait until it warms before planting.)
- Water periodically during the growing season if rain does not occur, keeping in mind that weekly deep waterings are better than lighter drinks every day or two. About 25mm of water per week is a good estimate of the amount needed during active growth periods.
- When in bloom, feel free to cut glad stems for bouquets. If you want to include foliage in your arrangements cut sparingly as these leaves are needed to nourish the bulb for next year's show. If you live in a cold region where your variety choice isn't winter hardy and you have no plans to dig the corms and save them for next year, cut as much as you like.
- After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed. Leaves and stalks may be removed when they yellow.
- If you live in an area where your glads aren't winter hardy and you want to save them for next spring, dig the corms after the first frost, cut the stems to 5cm, wash the soil off, dry for a few days and then store in a cool place in paper bags or cardboard boxes
- Your glads will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in the spring.