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A Perfect Cut Flower and Garden Stunner - Gladiolus
22nd January, 2009
by Bob Willard, General Manager of www.dejager.co.uk
Imagine as you enter a room the stunning sight of a tall vase filled with elegant brightly coloured Gladioli. Gladioli look equally at home gracing an ornate flower arrangement in a stately house or cathedral or making a statement in a plain modern vase in a contemporary apartment.
You can buy them in a flower shop or market but I think it is far better to experience the satisfaction of stems of blooms you have grown in your flower borders, in an area dedicated for cut flowers or, like me, on your allotment for the sole purpose of cutting them for the house.
Credit: De Jager Bulbs
To obtain the best results Gladiolus do best in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Improve heavy or light soil by working in light compost. Before planting, thinly cover with well-rotted manure and rake in. Rake bone-meal into the surface at the rate 3-4ozs per sq metre.
Corms should be planted 10-15cm apart and 10cm deep from late March until early June making sure that each corm is settled firmly. In heavy soil place them on sharp sand to help drainage. Do take care not plant too shallowly or they may fall over when in bloom.
Do not hoe or apply fertiliser until young shoots appear, and then hoe lightly and often to check weeds. Aerate the soil gently with a hoe and apply a light top-dressing of fish manure around the shoots.
After eight to ten weeks, when secondary roots will have formed, water generously, particularly during dry periods after the flower spike has appeared. Take care to support them should the flower stems become heavy and as cutting time approaches, if it rains, do shake them gently so that the flowers don’t spoil by becoming too wet.
The usual time between planting and flowering for large flowering gladioli, size 14cms, is around 100 days depending on weather conditions. The smaller Butterfly varieties take 7 to 10 days longer.
After flowering allow foliage to turn yellow/brown, approx mid-October. Corms can then be lifted before the first frost, remove from soil, and cut off main stem half inch above each corm. Dry the corms for 7 to 10 days in a dry and airy place, then store in trays or shallow boxes in a cool, frost-free place during the winter.
Plant the first batch of corms if the weather is mild.
Continue planting in batches, using several different cultivars. When shoots start to show, keep ground well weeded.
SUMMER (July – August)
Primulinus and miniature hybrids are in bloom. Large-flowered hybrids start to blossom in late July. Keep plants well watered and feed moderately. Stake tall hybrids from behind the flowers.
Large flowered hybrids in bloom.
Lift corms when the first frosts blacken foliage. Dry in a warm place (18-24°C) for two weeks. Clean and dust with fungicide. Prepare ground for spring planting.
WINTER (December – February)
Store corms in a dry frost-free shed. Check regularly for signs of disease or softness. Throw away shrivelled corms.
P. de Jager & Sons Limited has been selling top quality and top size bulbs for over 140 years. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of size. Top size bulbs really do make a huge difference both in terms of flowering and naturalisation. Smaller size bulbs will be less expensive but the results will be very noticeably inferior.
Their new summer collection has just been launched so visit www.dejager.co.uk for more information.