Please Help Identify

gynot(9b)June 28, 2013

About 12 years ago my wife and I thought we tore out everything from this bed along side our house. It was a sopping wet area that absolutely stunk. We were worried about mold issues and damage to our foundation. We had to let it thoroughly dry before we could do something with it. There were also an over abundance of bulbs that were rotting for the most part. Those went to or so we thought.

After a couple years we tried a few things that simply didn't take. This past spring we planted climia's and gerbara's that are doing well so far. We also mulched the area to help keep our watering to a minimum.

A month or so ago we saw that we had several mystery bulbs popping up. This is one of them. We have no clue what it is. Iris? If so, what kind? Anyone?

Thanks

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Fantastically beautiful Gladiolus!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 11:27AM
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gynot(9b)

Thanks so much. Since they're a bulb I assume that they'll multiply, correct? On average, what rate each year?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:52PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Technically a "corm", not a bulb. That one's a dandy. Every growing season the old corm forms a new one underneath itself and produces cormlets too - sometimes a few sometimes many in sizes ranging from a B-B to a pea (on average).

When your season is well over (don't know when that would be in zone 9b), the flower is spent and the foliage begins to look a bit tatty, cut the stalk down to 6" or so just because it's easier to handle that way, and dig it up. Dry it for a few days simply by putting it on an piece of newspaper in a garage or sheltered place. When dry, remove the old shriveled corm and attached foliage by grabbing it between thumb and forefinger and giving a light twist of the wrist. Replant the new corm. The cormlets can be planted right away too, but it'll be several years - maybe 4-5 before they reach blooming size.

I don't always grow glads. I love them, but, unlike your climate, I have to dig them in the fall and winter them over in the basement - sometimes that's not successful so I tend to buy new ones in the years I want to plant them. They're quite inexpensive - I usually buy them 25 corms to a box, etc. from Home Depot, Lowes etc. They generally come either in a single color or a box of mixed. Nothing fancy, but they've never failed me. Look for packages marked "Grandifloras" - they're the large flowering variety.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:10PM
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gynot(9b)

Wow, thanks so much for the info. I'll follow your directions when it's time. 4-5 years? I'll have to pick up a box and stagger them so that each year we get a few. I'll cherish this one for now.

One last Q, in the evening we get light breezes and I'm worried that this is going to snap since it so top heavy. Does it sound odd to stake it?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:09PM
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duluthinbloomz4

No, staking's not odd; the flower stalk is heavy and they sometimes tilt even without a breeze.

Another trick would be to plant them close together in groups and a little deeper than recommended. This gives them a bit more stability. And that way you could stake a group, if you felt it necessary, rather than each individual glad.

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 22:50

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:42PM
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duluthinbloomz4

edited to delete double post

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 22:44

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Took some pics for you. They start out very small and look like grass, but the spine in the middle of the leaf gives them away.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

They take a few years to get to blooming size. I don't see any buds on these yet. This used to be grass in this spot but I realized when drought killed the yard that some of the 'grass' was Gladiolus bulbs, (so they had been getting mowed for at least 7 years.) I salvaged them when making this strip bed area, put some back, gave a bunch away, they're in other spots here too.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

A wider shot for scale. The rocks are acting as stakes. The wind blew these flat a few days ago. There are a couple out front that have bud stalks that got flattened also but I was able to lean them on other plants to hold them upright. If not, I'd use a stake too. The ones that have been in place longer that bloomed much earlier (at the regular time for them here,) were able to hold themselves up fine. I anticipate that next year many more will be self-upright also, as they have had more time to settle into the level they want to be.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 12:00PM
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calistoga_al

Those red flowers from purpleinopp look like Canna to me, not gladiolus. Here in mild winter California where glads live for many years without digging, the blooms will gradually change to all one color, a kind of orange, no matter what they were when first planted. Al

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 9:54AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Yes Al, but the grassy upright clumps to the right are purple's several year glad cormlet growth. An additional picture augmenting the two above.

Lucky in your climate to be able to leave them in the ground; they're more work here - digging, storing, checking for mold all through the storage period ... Something I'm not willing to do for something inexpensive. Other's mileage may vary.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes, I stored them in my basement when I lived in OH. They multiplied quickly! They are reliable perennials here, as I explained if one reads my words. And yes, as said, shown next to Cannas for context, size reference.

Thanks, Duluth.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

We moved last week and I brought some Glads along, for sure. Taking a last look around, I noticed something dark pink, nearly magenta, in the abandoned yard next door (where I was given permission to excavate any flowers.) A beautiful magenta Gladiolus! Grabbed that too! I've never seen a Gladiolus over there in 7 years, it must have been getting mowed in the lawn, so at least that old.

The Glads I see in the ditches along dirt roads are other colors besides orange. Some yellow, some almost red. I wonder if soil PH has anything to do with it? Some mineral in local soils but not others? Very interesting. I don't really like orange but on something as short-lived as Gladiolus blooms, I don't mind. Probably give those away as they show themselves, everybody else does seem to like orange. Goes so well with purple - until one adds pink, as a matter of personal taste.

Are you seeing any baby bulb foliage this spring, Gynot?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:01AM
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