Gladiolus and more

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 08 Mar 2007 09:04:59 PST

Before we get off Gladiolus I want to respond to a couple of messages I 
haven't had time to respond to before. Sorry to put them all in one 
message, but I'll never get this written if I split it into four or five. 
First welcome to the new members from South Africa and Russia and thanks 
for posting. South Africa has so many great bulbs that we are always happy 
to have list members with first hand experience. And it was so interesting 
seeing those very hardy Gladiolus pictures of Yuri's and learning about all 
those species unknown to most of us from Armenia. The three pictures show a 
lot of similarity. Are most of the Gladiolus from Armenia pink? Gladiolus 
tenius sounds like the answer to some of you who are craving hardy bulbs so 
it is good Boyce has it.

For Alani's question about where they are found I quote from Goldblatt and 
Manning, Gladiolus in Southern Africa: " the geographic range of Gladiolus 
is Africa, Madagascar, Europe and the Middle East. Approximately ten of the 
255 species in the genus occur north of the Sahara in Eurasia as far east 
as Afghanistan, and another eight occur in Madagascar. There are some 85 
species in tropical Africa... In southern Africa... we now recognize 163 
species ." This last area is mostly south of the Tropic of Capricorn they 
write. Continuing: "Species mostly have fairly narrow ranges and few occur 
in more than one of these main regions." Then they name a few that are both 
in tropical and southern tropical Africa. Gladiolus dalenii is one of them 
suggesting that the original source might make a difference in its 
hardiness. Although they don't talk of species in central Africa, when I 
was doing the thumbnails for Gladiolus and trying to decide how to split 
them up there was one on the wiki that was in that area with a photo 
supplied by John Grimshaw,  Gladiolus watsonioides:… 

Perhaps it's a candidate to be included in the hardiness test group.

As for Jim McKenney's comments about the late blooming Gladiolus tristis, 
it isn't dormant in winter. The leaves come up when the regular G. tristis 
leaves come up in the fall. It just doesn't bloom until many months later. 
He should be looking at Gladiolus from summer rainfall areas that are 
dormant in winter like some of the ones Ellen mentioned.

As for rodent predation Don Mahoney told me the squirrels had gotten most 
of his winter growing South African Gladiolus. He lives in the Bay Area in 

Leo wondered about growing things under cover for those of us with wet 
winters. I do that. I have an area my husband built for me that has a cover 
over the benches and is open on the sides. I'm still not sure about how 
much this helps. The wind blows the rain in and you still have the 
conditions that lead to disease like the  humidity. The leaves don't remain 
dry. In fact I've noticed that some Veltheimia capensis I planted out looks 
better than some sheltered. And if there isn't enough light the flowers 
that bloom lean. My Gladiolus gracilis in my raised beds actually looks 
better than in my sheltered pots. I just have to pick the blooms if rain is 
predicted for days. Otherwise they not only will be ruined but will be an 
entry place for disease.

I grew Gladiolus dalenii for years in my northern California garden, an 
orange and yellow form pictured on the wiki. It bloomed like a charm every 
year in the fall, but the time varied from October to December. I'm not 
sure why some years it bloomed earlier than others. Then some people asked 
for offsets and I dug it up and sent them off and after that it dwindled 
away to nothing. A friend who got some that thrived in her garden gave me 
some back, but they bloomed once and disappeared. I count myself lucky that 
I could grow this summer rainfall species as long as I did with my wet 
winters and very dry summers.

Finally John Grimshaw sent me a picture for the wiki of one of the 
Gladiolus papilio he grows:…

If neither of those links wrap take out the spaces.

Mary Sue

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