winter care & blooming issues with Acidanthera

brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)October 25, 2009

I've had these bulbs in ground for couple years. First year they bloomed. This year they came back very full but did not bloom. I am thinking because although in full sun, they were overshadowed by Asiatics and Orientals. Any ideas of what blooming problem is? (Zone 7)

Also wondering if I am supposed to leave brown foliage and let it die off naturally or cut it at some point this fall or winter? I ask because I see different bulbs have different needs. I have tuberoses which say to cut back after first frost. This was first year for them with no blooms, but think that was due to being overtaken by marigolds. Was that the problem, or do they not bloom first year?

Thanks for any feedback,


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I'm surprised you even got a return of foliage on the acidanthera (now called Gladiolus callianthus, btw). This is generally not considered a hardy bulb much below zone 8 and I've never had them return in my garden. In fact, many sources indicate they will not survive below 20F, so digging and storing is recommended for winter. Same thing for the tuberose - it is not a hardy bulb in your zone and needs a good deal of summer heat to bloom successfully.

Dig both after the first hard frost, allow the corms to dry a couple of days and store in sawdust or peat moss in a cool (but above freezing )dry and dark location

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 6:36PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I also think you are pushing your zone. Your Gladiolus may bloom next year if you can start them early inside in pots to give them more time than your zone provides. These Gladiolus take much more time than the 90 days required by the ordinary Glads to bloom. The tuberose is even more difficult to get to bloom without a long hot summer. Mine are in bloom now and have been in the ground for over 10 years in a zone much warmer than yours. Al

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:54AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Thanks for the help, guys! As far as the Gladiolus, IÂve actually had them longer than I thought. Seems theyÂve wintered over 3 times. So I guess, even tho no blooms after first year IÂve been lucky. Plus the few stray corms my husband planted out back at same time (lots of sun) did bloom every year thereafter.

Although I say Zone 7, I think IÂm right on the cusp of 8, very near NC border. Plus, IÂm on East coast peninsula a couple blocks up from the beach (Chesapeake Bay). We have EXTREMELY hot, humid summers & very short, mild winters. Hardly EVER any snow & very few freezes. We joke that we pretty much jump from fall to spring. Maybe thatÂs why theyÂve survived, huh?

So, with that in mind - since mine ARE surviving winter and foliage is coming back really full, IÂm not sure if youÂre saying the fact that I leave them in the ground is still the problem with the blooming? They have plenty of months of HOT, HOT sunny days but were overshadowed by big lilies, as IÂd said.

Good to know about the tuberose. Was confused because when they were being presented on QVC, they led you to believe they could survive winters in my zone. However, the info that came in pkg. says plant in pots  BUT if it rarely drops below 30 degrees (which is the case here), you can plant in ground and leave thru winter. But this will be my first winter with them so I donÂt think IÂll risk it.

One last thing. Had to dig up entire garden to thin out Asiatics & Orientals and get rid of Ginger Lilies which had overtaken like bamboo, so before posting this I got ahead myself and have already dug up, separated, and transplanted both Gladiolus & Tuberose couple days ago. Wondering would it hurt them to dig up once again to store?

Have another question which IÂll post under Lilies and maybe you both can help?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:22AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

If it rarely gets below thirty, I guess that means not much below thirty, both the tuberose and the gladiolus should winter over. Our low here is about 27 most years and over the years there must be some lower than that and I never dig either one. You could dig them both up again without damaging them as that short a time is like "heeling them in". Leaving them in the ground is not causing them to not bloom. Give them plenty of water and rich soil with plenty of compost and they should both bloom if you have enough warm weather over a long enough time. We seldom have any cool weather after March. Al

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:37PM
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