How to Take Care of Gladioli
image by ripplestone garden: Flickr.com
Gladioli are perennial flowering plants, which are native to Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. They grow in flower spikes, which are large stems that emerge from the ground with flowers that form on the top. The flowers are commonly pink, green, red, purple or white in color, and usually between 3 and 5 inches in diameter. Gladioli grow from a corm, which is similar to a bulb, and will thrive for many years in the proper conditions.
Plant gladioli during late spring in loam soil, for its superior drainage. Choose a location that receives full sunlight and is partially protected from wind, as repeated strong gusts can damage the plant.
Dig a hole between 6 and 8 inches deep, and place the gladiolus corm in the center with the pointy side facing up. Refill with soil and water thoroughly to encourage the start of growth, and to pack the soil.
Remove all weeds growing near the gladiolus to eliminate competition for moisture and nutrients. Use a spade to lightly cultivate the top layer of soil to help displace any weeds. Be careful not to dig too deeply however, or the corm could be damaged.
Water gladioli thoroughly once per week during all stages of growth. Ensure the water soaks to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, where the majority of the root system lies. Feed using a slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer immediately after planting the gladioli. Follow the instructions on the package for proper application.
Dig gladioli corms out of the soil approximately 6 weeks after flowering has ceased. The foliage should be yellowed and dying at this point. Dry the corms in a bright, warm room, with good ventilation for several weeks. Store in a cool, dark room with a temperature between 35 and 45 degrees F until ready to plant in spring.