Amaryllis/glad Trouble

Cynthia Mueller
Tue, 30 Oct 2007 06:28:11 PDT

Hello, All....Recently Glen Pace & C.J. Teevan discussed "shrinking amaryllis bulbs" with insect larvae as the possible culprits.  In my Zone 8b garden I'd wondered why many gladiolus seem to become fewer, weaker and then disappear all together.  After all, freezing couldn't really be a problem, here.
I dug a large corm of gladiolus named  'Mexicana', as I remember, by mistake recently while trying to insert a few more glads into the planting.  When I picked up the large, plump dormant corm a drop of brown watery matter fell on my hand.  I looked closely and found that the basal plate was being eaten by what I suppose is the larva of some sort of beetle.  It somewhat resembled  what are often called "wireworms".  The larva was long and slender, with a hard, glossy yellow body and rudimentary beetle-like leg arrangements and was definitely consuming the basal plate - if that is what one calls what glads have.  This had happened before when amaryllis were grown in a flowerbed that had become too wet for too long.  I had originally thought that the "wireworms" came after the fact to dine on partially rotted basal plate, but now I think they must be commonplace in the garden soil and get to work whenever they can consuming things.  The Byzantine glads, parrot glads and  such survivors as the old Carolina primrose glads don't seem to be affected as much.  I have one variety of 'Flevo' glad that has survived without harm for a number of years - but many other varieties of glads are entirely gone.  
I think I'll either drench a systemic over these bulbs in situ or dig them and save them in the garage in a container of light, dry potting soil through the winter months with a sprinkling of sevin dust.  Has anybody else had these experiences?
Cynthia Mueller
College Station, Tx Zone 8b

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