Gladiolus offer a wide range of colors, a long period of bloom with excellent lasting qualities. Their comparative case of culture makes them a welcome addition to most gardens.
Glads lend themselves to planting in rows or beds, in borders, and among shrubbery or flowers. Some of the smaller types are desirable in rock gardens. Varieties should be selected with different blooming dates and planting should be staggered to lengthen the flowering season.
SOIL: Glads will grow in most all garden soil but a sandy loam is most desirable. If the soil is of a heavy clay nature, sand or peat should be added. Prior to planting, spade the soil at least 12 inches deep, making it easier for the fast growing roots to spread out.
PLANTING: Plant in a location fully exposed to the sun. Two or three rows can be spaced 5 to 6 inches apart, but additional rows should be some 2 or 3 feet away. In the bottom of the planting trench, scatter 1 pint (1 lb.) of fertilizer per 25 feet of row and over with a layer of soil. This feeding will give larger and better quality blooms and produce stronger corms after blooming is over. Place corms 3 to 4 inches deep in a trench row and about the same distance apart. Do not plant glads until late spring after all danger of frost is over.
GROWING CARE: To conserve moisture and keep the soil in good condition, cultivate frequently throughout the growing season. Thorough watering, not mere sprinkling, is beneficial during dry weather. Glads often need to be supported by stakes. Short growing varieties can be supported by a heavy cord stretched along the row.
FEEDING: just before bloom, glads should have an additional feeding of Fertilizer. Feed 1 pound per 25 feet of row, working it into the soil on either side of the row with a hoe or rake. Feed individual plants at the rate of 1 rounded tablespoonful per plant.
CUTTING BLOOMS: Cut spikes as buds start to open with a long slanting cut. Use a sharp knife rather than shears to avoid bruising. Leave 4 strong leaves to aid plant in developing big strong corms for next season’s growth. Put spikes in cold water immediately after cutting.
DIGGING: Dig corms as soon as foliage turns yellow or brown (about 6 weeks after blooming). Cut top off close to corm and dry well in open air or ventilated place for several days. Continue drying in a sheltered dry place before storing for the winter in flats or boxes placed in a cool dry cellar or basement. In some southern states, it is not necessary to dig corms in the fall.