Gladiolus cultivation

Leo A. Martin
Wed, 26 Mar 2008 14:06:52 PDT
> I would like to try to grow some [species Gladiolus]
> ...actually, all of them - but I don't know quite where to begin.
> Would any of you who have had success with this genus be so kind as to
> share some cultivation tips with the rest of us?

Hello Dell,

I've been out of town for a week and am attacking the shrubbery in my
inbox chronologically.

The Glad species I've grown, both summer and winter growing, have been
pretty easy once they germinate. But - I live in a very different climate
from you. I hope you've received information from people who have to grow
the winter-growers indoors. Also, there must be many different approaches.

Here, so long as temperatures are correct, they grow easily outside in
pots. Fresh seed sprouts well if kept very moist to very wet for some
weeks. The winter growers seem to prefer a few weeks in the ground of warm
days alternating with cool nights to sprout best.

I had poor results until I began keeping my seedling pots very wet. Much
of what I read warms of rot if kept too wet. With my low humidity that has
never been a problem, and drying out has been much more a problem.

I use deep pots for all my bulbs; my seedlings do best in 20-ounce foam
cups, which are 3" wide at the top and 6" tall. (7.5cm wide x 15cm tall.)
One drying out at the wrong time may be fatal for seedlings. I also use a
soil with very little organic matter.

Most of my winter bulbs grow much better if fertilized weakly and
regularly during their growing season.

In my absence my Hesperantha vaginata seems to have set three fruits
though it was the only example of this genus flowering at the time. I
should have some seed of this and hand-pollinated Babiana sinuata for the
exchange before long.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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