Any Gladiola Fans here?

Maryl zone 7aDecember 27, 2008

The spring catalogs are starting to show up so I'm starting to think about Glads. I didn't realize that there was a Glad Society with all the trappings of shows, awards etc. Since mostly what I know about glad varieties is what they print in the catalogs, I wondered if anyone had any favorite varieties that they'd like to share. Two that I really like are Priscilla (lovely pink with medium height), and Spic n' Span (lovely mellow orangey shades). Both have been perennial for me. On the other hand the common variety Comet has been not to my liking at all. For one it flowers too late and our heat does a number on the staying power of the blooms. And also the colors (it's a bi-color purple/yellow) don't look as good in persona as on the package. After 3 years of seeing if it would improve I finally dug it up..........Maryl

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Nell Jean

I like species glads, like Byzantine Glads and Acidanthera.

Mostly I buy bulbs of common glads by color wherever I find them.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 1:58PM
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I don't routinely plant glads every year and I don't know why since I love them and tend to buy them in bloom every two weeks or so from a farmers market. When I decide I want to plant them, I just buy a bag of what I can find at one of the big boxes. I've never seen a summer bulb display yet that didn't have enough nice varieties to satisfy just about anyone. They're very inexpensive corms - and for me, simply not worth digging and storing, but well worth buying them as I want them. Those of you in the higher zones who can leave glads in the round year around might look at things differebntly.

Acidanthera is nice to have; they tuck in nicely here and there and don't have the flopping quality of standard glads - late blooming here, August into September. I would buy those fresh each season, too.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 4:57PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I picked up a package of Acidanthera last year trying to use the burgundy centers to echo the color of foliage behind them. They were beautiful and I like the star like petal arrangement. They got strangled by a morning glory that didn't have proper support and reached for everything and anything around it. I had to dig them up to rearrange the bed. They'd multiplied incredibly. Didn't have the heart to throw them out so stored for winter and will replant. I only have faith to go on that they'll bloom again but they won't be in the path of that morning glory again!

My father has a clump that hasn't been lifted in over 30 years that still blooms but not as much as they could. Never lifted and stored but in protected area near south side of house.

Last season I bought color combos and only ONE color in each combo bloomed. The bulbs of 2nd color rotted whether planted in same ground or container with "pair" bulbs. Others had their foliage eaten to the ground repeatedly by deer, rabbits and/or groundhogs. Hence, the container plantings in protected areas.

There are some gorgeous colors and shadings out there. I drool over the catalog photos and keep reminding myself the reality doesn't live up to the photos but they should be gorgeous more or less however they bloom.

I planted some of the small Atom variety for Hummingbird attraction. Only a few bloomed and Hummers weren't overly impressed. Probably my fault for crowding in container with other plants.

If you want a real treat in gorgeous glad photos take a look at this heirloom company's offerings. Too expensive but worth looking at photos. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Heirloom Gladiolus Bulbs

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:24AM
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Maryl zone 7a

That was an interesting site Newbie.......
I now see that Plants Delights also likes and carries Priscilla (as a perennial). And Duluth, that's how I found out the Glads I had were perennial. I got lazy and didn't dig them up one fall. As you say, they are cheap enough in the spring from the box stores to buy new ones. But surprise they came up next spring and have done so for years since. I think I've divided Priscilla about 3 times in that time and when I do I always figure that they won't appear next year, but surprisingly enough they do.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 4:11PM
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I planted Glads for the very first time last year, and I must say that I was not very impressed. Since I live in zone 5, Glads require digging and storing for winter, and I've always tried to avoid the extra work of using tender bulbs and rhizomes in the landscape. However, I am a huge fan of green blooms, so I picked up a bag of the green flowered Glads and a bag of white flowered Glads from Lowe's, willing to give them a try because they looked so beautiful on the package front.

I planted them in huge clay patio pots, giving them plenty of root room. I put a mixture of green and white in each of two pots, and placed them in full sun. They grew just fine, bloomed a little smaller than I'd hoped for, and only lasted a short time. I dug them out of the containers and stored them, after allowing them to gather plenty of energy for next cycle's blooms.

They did produce tons of tiny baby corms, and the mother corms did get larger. My hope is that they do better this coming season, and I'll be planting them out in the bulb garden instead of confining them to patio pots. I didn't like them enough to buy more or begin a collection, but I suppose the green and white of the blooms will be nice accents for the other bulbs and perennials they'll be surrounded with.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 12:30PM
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For whatever reason, glads do better in the ground than they do when grown in pots. At least here in the digging and storing zones. In the ground, you should get a more substantial flower stalk with a higher floret count.

The biggest drawback to glads is their "soldiers in a row" look when strung out 6-8" apart, and their habit of tipping over unless staked, planted extra deep, or planted in a close bunch in a peony hoop or somesuch.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I have to stake mine for sure. But usually I'm able to hide the stake behind the flower stem enough so that it doesn't show up too badly. If I have any gripe it's getting the flowers to face the proper direction. I think someone said they face the sun (like sunflowers). Well I have some of them planted in a south facing border with the east/morning sun peeking through a Crape Myrtle on their left side. Where do the ones planted closet to that early light want to face? You guessed it. Toward the side of the Crape Myrtle instead of the front of the border....... And I do have a few of my Spic N' Span glads planted in a pot that I leave outside over winter. So far they've come up 2 years in a row. I'll probably need to repot them this spring if they make it through the winter.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 5:26PM
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I love gladiolus. If you ever see any at the dollar tree, you should pick them up. Even if they don't all flower - you basically only paid a dollar for 1 or two. Here is a picture of a bloom I got. It's supposed to be purple, but I'm not complaining. Also - of all the bulbs that started out around 11 cm - one grew to 18.5cm! The others stayed about the same size, but I'll just give them time!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 7:49PM
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Great... that means the Glads I plant in the garden next spring will face the fence instead of facing toward the edge of the garden bed where you'd stand to look at them! Oh well... maybe a few will be weird and face the other direction so I can see them!

As for staking, I've found that forked tree branches blend in quite well, and when taller plants are grown closely planted with other perennials, they sort of support each other. My style is Cottage Chaos, so I doubt I'll need peony rings or other wire trappings! I just couldn't plant the corms in rows, so groupings of odd numbers in a more natural pattern will be the way I'll plant. 3 or 5 or 7 together, in a sort of triangle pattern. I like to mimic nature, if I can.

The hybrid Glads don't interest me much, but I ran across some information and photos on species Glads, and I'm a lot more impressed by the look of those! I'd have to grow them in containers because of my location, but they're smaller anyway. I already have a collection of rare bulbs going, and I grow mostly indoors... perhaps a couple of the species types would be more suited to my tastes.

Anyway... that's a gorgeous color in the photo above! If it weren't for the fact that these corms can't survive winters outdoors, I'd grow lots of these pretty hybrid Glads!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 1:28PM
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Maryl zone 7a

What a lovely color on your Glad sjp. I planted a new rose last year that was that color, so I guess you could say I'm partial to it. Thank you for posting it.......Jodi, the "cottage garden" look is a nice way to put my Glad situation. I don't worry too much about the ones facing the wrong direction.......I just got a catalog in the mail from a specialty Glad grower and the pictures in it are awesome. I notice that most of the Glad nurseries are northerners and this one is in Michigan. I've never done business with them but it would be nice to support the mom/pop operations during these economic times if possible.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Gladiolus catalog

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 2:48PM
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The catalog photos are lovely... and I'd much rather support American companies that sell homegrown goods. There are way too many stores offering cheap bulbs, but buying from them doesn't really help our economy. Buying from the smaller companies that grow here, in the States, would be much more helpful.

I probably won't be buying any new Glad corms, not hybrid types, anyway... but I'm sure I can find an American company that sells a few species types. I just wish these didn't have to be unearthed every fall.

There's probably a site somewhere in my many garden beds where I could plant the corms I have, and the location would be such that they'd face toward the proper direction. I think I have a little space in an east facing bed...

Nice catalog, though... thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Maryl zone 7a

Personally I like the modern Glads. For one they do double duty in my small garden as cut flowers......I read the other day that in England now Florest Glads are making a come back in the landscape. Gee, I didn't know I was so "out" of it just because I liked them all this time -LOL. Just proves that in the garden you should grow what pleases you.......But I have many friends who like Old Garden Roses and other less hybridized plants, and I have to say they can be pretty too. Below is a link for a mail order nursery that advertises Glads that are from a by gone era. Take a look at Boone. You might be able to overwinter it in ground in as far north as zone 5 and it certainly is an attractive color.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old variety Glads

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Last year I planted quite a few, and they all came up, but as soon as they flowered most because 'crispy' due to the heat I guess. Not sure how long they should last, but I would think more than day, right? I may try more this year in partial shade.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 11:01AM
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Ah, yes... of course! Old House Gardens! Why didn't I think of them? I have them bookmarked!

Thanks for reminding me! Yes, Boone is a lovely variety... I may have to try this one! Actually, a couple of the varieties from Old House are worthy of trying!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Mchad re: flowering time. Some Glad sellers give the number of days from planting until bloom. In hot summer areas such as mine, Glads that flower too late (see my comment on the variety 'COMET')just sort of droop and don't last very long. Probably why most of the Glad suppliers are in the north. Even though northern growers can't winter the bulbs over in the ground like I can, they will get a longer period of quality blooms. Some Glads are also rated as Early, Early Mid, Mid and Late bloomers which I suspect is just the short way of giving days from planting to bloom. PRISCILLA is considered an "Early" bloomer, so consequently she flowers before our 95+ degree heat arrives. COMET bloomed here some time in July and that was just too late for our area. On new Glad bulbs you might get by with planting the later blooming varieties early in the year, but if you overwinter them in the ground, they just sort of do their own thing about sprouting the next year and revert to their "number of days until bloom" formula. And of course weather conditions, soil temperature, bulb placement all play a part in the variability of when they bloom from year to year. Anyway, they are cheap enough to experiment with until you find just the right bulb that takes your climate. Below is a link that further on down the page gives the blooming time for some of the more common varieties.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gladiolus Varieties blooming times

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 4:45PM
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Good morning Ladies!
I am new to Glads. Two or maybe it's three seasons.
Last year I dug up some corms to place them elsewhere in the garden. I noticed tiny baby corms the size of tiny peas
pale beige in color. Most broke off when I lifted the
main corm. Last weekend I notice small sword like seedlings
popping out of the garden. I thought they might be crocosmia
or Chinese orchid but after thinking back on the glads I lifted I think they are baby glads. If this is the case,
how many years be fore the reach blooming stage? I am
patient so time doesn't matter. I only dug up the corms
because I wanted to move them. We are able to leave them in
the ground here to over winter. Thanks for all the input and the great links.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 9:52AM
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Brenda- I think you would have to wait about three growing seasons before the little glad "cormlets" reach blooming size. You're fortunate in being able to leave them in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 12:04PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Duluth is probably right about the time depending on how small the starter corm is. Years ago I had a white Glad (Prosperity?) that I didn't like in it's spot so I moved it. I tried hard to dig up even the smallest corms because I didn't want all those little sprouts popping up like grassy weeds in my flower bed. As it turned out I had left behind one tiny corm and now each year it pops up, it's foliage growing slightly larger as the corm develops. It's been 4 years now, and still no blooms, but I've been amazed at how tenaciously it keeps popping up every year. I'm leaving this one alone just out of curiosity, but it is rather unappealing to have alot of thin blades the size of grass popping up in a flower bed from left over tiny corms. It's best to try and and get every single corm up when you move them. Of course people in more northerly climates don't have this problem at all. Quite the opposite as Duluth says.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 4:13PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Maryl, that Priscilla is gorgeous!

The Gladiolus Muriele (Acidanthera) bulbs I dug up have gotten soft even though I didn't keep them closed up in a container. Have to order more.

Noweta Gardens has a gorgeous selection but I can't justify another shipping charge since I found the 'Violetta' I really want at another bulb vendor and can combine shipping charges for other bulbs I "need."

Then again, the other bulb vendor doesn't have varieties with such beautiful color combos on each floret. I have to stay away from looking at all the beautiful pics on the internet...LOL. Flower quandries and limited budgets are a pain!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 7:57AM
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Maryl zone 7a

I can fully understand the $$ thing. This is the first time for me to order Glads from a Glad vendor, so we will see how the quality of the American grown bulbs compares to off the rack (imported?)bulbs........Last year I added a few bulbs to a seed order from a reputible mail order nursery and the bulbs arrived rotted and moldy. That's when my mind started thinking about buying direct from the grower and skipping the middle man......I'm sorry about your Acidanthera being soft. If you are like me you already had pictured them planted and flowering. Disappointing. When I experimented with Dahlias years ago a Dahlia fanatic told me to use kitty litter (the cheap kind) as a storage medium for the tubers over winter, keeping it just barely damp. It would absorb any excess moisture. It worked and since I have 4 cats it wasn't any extra expense. It's a thought at least....Since you know the variety name of your Gladiola bulbs I hope you will share how they do if you can. Mine are due to arrive late March. Kind of odd to do business with Noweta, as there is not really any communication with them. I sent them a M.O. and received no response confirming my order and they don't accept phone calls. Garden Watch Dog says this is the norm for that company, so I guess I will see if and when they arrive........Maryl

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 2:56PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Well, my Glad corms arrived from Noweta gardens. The delivery time was as I requested, the corms were large, firm and healthy. They even included a nice bunch of bonus Glads even though my order was a small one. Since they do not have phone order service I was a little leary, but based on this order (and the other similar positive comments from Dave's Gardenwatchdog), I would not hesitate to order from them again. Hey, it's not too late. Order a few Glads and let's post pictures this summer!......Maryl

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:03PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Hi all, I have been searching for some information and this looks like the place where I might find some answers. Unfortunately I live where glad corms and dahlia tubers need to be lifted. So last fall I lifted the corms and dried them, removed the old corm and stored them in mesh bags in a cold basement. This spring (although there is still snow here) I checked on them and they seem to have dried out. What did I do wrong? Should I have misted them periodically? Any info would be greatly appreciated I don't want to make the same mistake twice. Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:50PM
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Nancy zone 6

I don't think I've ever had problems with glads. That is the way I store mine, except mine are in my garage. When you say they are dried out, do you mean they have no substance at all? I wouldn't mist because they can rot in storage, hopefully someone else can give you some good advice.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Five of the six Byzantine Glad bulbs I planted last fall are up, and since this is my first experience with these flowers I'm pretty excited to see them bloom.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 10:39AM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

ngraham, I just took a closer look at the corms, and it seems like it is several layers of the outer husk. Under that there is the small fleshy part of the corm. Slightly shriveled. Is this normal? I have not stored them in the past. But these were bought for my sister in laws wedding last year so I thought I would try. Guess I might remove some of the husk and plant up. It would be nice to get something. Thanks Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 3:17PM
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Nancy zone 6

Sounds like you should still have a viable corm. I do often find some shelly layers that I peel off, & the corm is smaller than what I dig in the fall. My zone is probably much different that yours, but as long as you have a firm corm you should be fine.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 8:14AM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Thanks, I will see what happens. Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 6:17PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I got a bit carried away this winter ordering Gladiolus bulbs..I'm going to have a lot of work to do digging them all up this fall. I ordered Glamini Zoe (apricot color), Fringed Coral Lace(coral color) Plum Tart Bouquet (Pale pink and deeper purple) and Black Jack (deep red).

I have a question though..some of the information I have read has instructed to throw out the "mother" bulb in the fall, and only keep the new growths. Is that true? Is the main bulb only good for one year?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:47PM
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I live in pittsburgh, pa, and have had glads planted for about 4 years now. They never bloom, I only get the beautiful green spike leaves. What should I be doing?

I don't did them up in the fall, I just cut them back.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:35AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I live in pit, pa also. If you are leaving them in the ground and they do come back after winter they are probably not growing enough to flower because our summers are not long enough. Glads are not usually hardy in our area.

I have one that a older neighbor gave me that is hardy. I did not know there was a glad that was hardy for a zone 5-6. If you are close to me I will try to get you one.

I was told the name is Priscilla,

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 1:45PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Weeper- I know it has been a long time. You throw out the old shrivelled corm stuck to the bottom of the new one.
Bonstance- are they in full sun?

Priscilla is wonderful.

Glads here get thrips and look like they have been scorched as a result.

I love the heirlooms and the florist varieties, and I used to grow hundreds before the thrips arrived in numbers.

I am still searching for an heirloom orange similar to Boone but with a darker color and dark orange spots. If anyone finds any, please let me know.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 1:43AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

If you are leaving them in the ground and they do come back after winter they are probably not growing enough to flower because our summers are not long enough.

Unlikely that that is the problem. They have done just fine for me in MI and our summer is shorter than yours.

Posted by bonstance59
I live in pittsburgh, pa, and have had glads planted for about 4 years now. They never bloom, I only get the beautiful green spike leaves. What should I be doing?
I don't did them up in the fall, I just cut them back.

My guess, bonstance, would be insufficient light. They are sun lovers for those of us in the north.

I've never bothered digging glads up -- I have neither the time nor the inclination -- and have had them successfully overwinter and multiple for over 15yrs now. Didn't buy any special variety -- these were just the big box store cheapos. (Amusingly enough, the only glads I did NOT have successfully overwinter were some "winter HARDY" varieties I tried out 8 or 10 years ago.)

Now one very big plus working in my favor is that heavy snow fall is the norm. But even after some weak winters they have come back. A heavy layer of mulch should do as much.

Personally, for those in the north, I recommend leaving a few bulbs undisturbed throughout the year. You might be pleasantly surprised. And if they don't make it -- you've only lost a few.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 3:45PM
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I have had great results with my glads. I plant them once, and I never have to dig them up for winter storage. I leave them right where they are. Not only do they come back, but they spread as well! (We do get some cold snowy winters here in Nevada, so this is a bonus.)

All my glads are planted in flower beds next to the house, so perhaps they are more protected than others....not sure. Normally, they are supposed to be dug up for winter storage. My inlaws live in the next town, closer to the mountains, and they have to dig them up for storage...otherwise they die.

Glads are gorgeous flowers. The only thing I don't like about them is that they are one time bloomers. However, they don't all bloom at the same time. So you always have some color coming up when others have ended.

Hopefully one day, there will be a hybrid variety that will rebloom. Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:09PM
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PS: I never picked a particular variety...the ones I selected were either from Home Depot or Lowes. I chose them based on color.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:13PM
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