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Gladiola Basics

 

For a summer full of room-brightening cut blooms, plant glads

The all-time favorite towering vase flower is a day brightener in the garden and on a table or countertop. They are a bit finicky about cold weather, however, and will have to overwinter in storage in many parts of the country. Glads (gladiolas, gladioli, gladioluses) do not like to fight off weeds and pests, either, so a little care is needed to keep them healthy and happy.

Glads do best in a sunny spot with access to air circulation. The plants grow closely together - the corms should be placed in the ground about six inches apart. If the corms are first soaked in a disinfectant solution, it will help with some pest prevention, especially thrips. After planting, it is essential to continue a pest control program. Water frequently and give your glads about an inch every 6-7 days.

Choose fresh looking corms and plant after all chance of frost is gone. Bunch like colors together and keep adding new rows every ten days. This will assure a full summer of blooms.

Glads are available in three types: Exhibition, Large Decorative, and Small Decorative. The amazing range of colors is really what the average or beginning gardener is after.

Each glad producer will have specially-named hybrids, but the color ranges will go from pastels (cream, pink, lavender, salmon, and rose) to brights (brown, gold, scarlet, red-black, deep rose, and purple).

Once the spikes begin to show buds, you can begin cutting. Slice at the base of the flowering stalk. The leaves will support new growth.

Before the first freeze, dig up the corms. Remove tops and check for insect damage. They should be allowed to dry for a few weeks, then can be cleaned. They'll need plenty of circulation in a temperature range of about 40 degrees. After drying, place in a peat mix and continue to keep them somewhat cool.

In areas where the corms do not require removal, they should be divided about every two years.

 

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