Germinating Gladiolus

Eugene Zielinski
Fri, 03 May 2013 21:07:58 PDT
For the summer growers (G. dalenii, ecklonis, oppositiflorus, saundersii, &
vinosomaculatus), Ellen has it right.  They'll germinate at room
temperature (68 F/20 C) although it may take over a month.
For the winter growers (G. aquamontanus, cunonius, priorii, & pulcherrimus)
listen to Alberto and wait till the fall to sow them.  Even if they
germinate, they will grow poorly, if at all, in the summer heat.  These
species germinate slowly at refrigerator temperatures (40 F/4 C).  They may
germinate more quickly with oscillating temperatures (40-60 F nights/50-70
F days), but I haven't tried this.
As for G. cardinalis, I've tried a lot of things.  Here's what has worked
for me.
Many of the seeds will be duds.  Expect 50% germination, maybe less.
1. Soak the seeds in water containing some detergent (about 2 drops in a
cup of water) until they sink.  This may take a week.
2. Soak the seeds in water without detergent for a day or so.
3. Put the seeds on the surface of some sphagnum moss in a closed container
and put the container in the refrigerator.  Germination will take some
time, more than a month.  (Instead of sphagnum, you could try perlite,
vermiculite, etc.  Just don't use potting soil.)
4. As the individual seeds germinate, you can take them out of the
refrigerator and pot them up.

Eugene Zielinski
Rapid City, SD

> [Original Message]
> From: Dave Poole <>
> To: <>
> Date: 5/3/2013 12:48:43 PM
> Subject: [pbs] Germinating Gladiolus
> I've recently become more and more fascinated by the South African
species and having found a reliable seed source in South Africa, have
ordered about 10 sp. for starters.  Looking back through the PBS archives, 
I note that there is mention by Diane Whitehead of the seed needing to be
alternately chilled and brought back to normal temperature for about 1 week
in order to 'kick start' the seed into growth.  There appears to be no
subsequent comment about this so I'm not certain as to how important this
chilling really is.  Can anyone enlighten me?  The sp. I will be growing
are: G. aquamontanus, cardinalis, cunonius, dalenii, ecklonis,
oppositiflorus, priorii, pulcherrimus, saundersii & vinosomaculatus.  
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