glad germination

Deborah Jordan
Mon, 17 Mar 2008 20:05:34 PDT
Here's my high tech system from southeast Texas--I do a lot of Cape glads--with a wide range of results.

All are started in pots with normal compost/seed germinating type medium. I start on them in November and, if the force is with me, it gets completed by mid-January. Almost all of them germinate in about 30 days (and usually right at 30 days too) if they are going to at all. I'm less patient than most, if it hasn't germinated in 60 days (unless I will simply perish without the species) its gone. I sow heavy in those pots too I might add.

I don't use grit on anything because a fine layer of grit on the top of any pot of bulb seeds will turn into a thin layer of cement as soon as the temperature reaches 89F here (which it did twice this week, Friday and Saturday, record breaking temp on Sunday for us--hope this isn't an omen for what type of summer we are going to have--sorry to digress here). I coddle and foliar fertilize and get them to grow as much as I can--because come the end of May, when the temps are 89F everyday and the humidity is 98% (as it stays until mid-October) every single one of them is going down; no exceptions with the glads. I then dry the pots off (which takes maybe 1.5 days in 89F temps in the sun), and stack them on top of each other in the shade. 

As time permits, I bring them inside (in the air conditioning for this stage--for the benefit of the grower, not the glads--because it ranges from 93F-96F from June until the end of September, unless it rains all day long in the summer in which case we might get a break and its only 86F) one pot at a time and dump them on newspapers or into some shallow tub and pray there is something still in there.

At this point one of several things happens, depending on if they can tolerate any summer rain at all and my past history/failures with the species. The real test is what happens at the end of October when it cools down to like 78F-84F. They all go back outside then (if they aren't still there because they didn't get taken care of earlier--if not they are unstacked and spread out as I growl to myself for not getting to them earlier); some in pots, some in the ground. Then we pray they start growing with the first fall rains. If they make it to this point--they are usually good to go and are up and growing by the end of November. Its hard to imagine, but it does freeze here in the winter, usually 3-4 times at 29F-31F; and rarely a 28F night. They really start taking off that second season at the end of February.

I, unlike others, repot everything now after its first season. We have a long growing season here, so most kinds of bulbs will grow substantially that first year. Not just glads. I don't have space for the failures of any species--and there are an amazing number of those too but we shall leave that discussion for another day.

Not sure if this helps or would work anywhere else, or even down the block for that matter, but you did ask for it Dell, so here it is.

Houston, Texas

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