Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gladiolas--an Old Time Flower with Bright Bright Colors!

Good friend Hammon Buck of Plants Unlimited sends out some very nice gardening information. This recent post came to my attention and I thought I would pass it on to you. This is extremely topical and VERY good advice for us gardeners in Skillin's Country. Plants Unlimited is a terrific garden center based in Rockport Maine. Hammon and I talk quite often and I always learn something about gardening and garden center business when we do speak. I hope he benefits some as well. Plants Unlimited is always worth a visit and they can be found at http://www.plants-unlimited.com/ and also at 629 Commercial Street (Route 1) in Rockport ME.

"Glads" grow from corms (bulb-like structures) that are not winter-hardy in Maine.. They must either be dug in September and stored until planting time the following May, or replaced annually. Some gladiolus experts recommend treating them as annuals because you are more likely to get large, healthy blooms each year that way, and you don't have to fuss with storing them.

                                                        (above picture from Plants Unlimited)
Choose a location in full sunlight. Although newly purchased corms are ready to bloom and should flower even in the shade, flowers will be larger and brighter and stalks will be sturdier when they're planted in sun. The glads will also be able to store more energy for the following year's bloom, which is critical if you plan to re-use your corms.

Well-drained soil is essential for successful gladiolus growing. If your soil is heavy or tends to be wet, create raised beds for your glads (and most other annuals, perennials, and bulbs). Whether or not you garden in raised beds, loosen the soil to a depth of ten or 12 inches. Fertilize, if necessary, according to recommendations based on a soil test.

                                                       (above picture from Plants Unlimited)
Start planting in mid-May, then again every two weeks through mid-June. This schedule will keep the flowers coming form July through August. You could also choose early, mid-season, and late cultivars, plant them all in May, and still enjoy continuous bloom for much of the summer. The final strategy to extend bloom time would be to plant different sized corms. Larger corms bloom somewhat earlier than smaller corms of the same variety."

We also recommend planting the glads with either Bulb Tone or Flower Tone by Espoma and adding some more of this natural fertilizer around the first of July for another "kick". Glads are truly an old time and traditional flower that offer the brightest of colors!

Mike Skillin
Skillins Greenhouses
April 27, 2010

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