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Gladiolus : Help for overwintered glads

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pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 14, 2011
11:48 AM

Post #8630065

I have grown glads off and on, but last year I decided to try leaving them in the ground, and put some straw on top of them, and surprise, they all came back.

I would like any advice anyone can give on overwintered glads. Will they be as full and pretty as the original ones? What should I do to fertilize them? I've always put some bulbs fertilizer in the planting hole, but of course I can't do that now.

I am a commercial siberian iris grower, and spray yearly for thrips, so I will spray the glads along with the irises. Anything else I should do to protect them from insects or disease?

What are my prospects for the future? How long can I leave them in the ground before they go downhill?

We are on sandy soil and due to unusual conditions from Lake Ontario, the ground does not freeze here below and inch or two.

Any help will be appreciated. Thank you!
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

June 15, 2011
12:24 AM

Post #8631324

As far as what they will be like depends alot upon the condition/age the bulbs were when you planted them. Healthy/fresh bulbs will have a somewhat rounded top. As the bulbs get older they become flat or concave on top. Taking an average store bought bulb that is 1-1/2 -2" in diameter you can expect 2-3 years blooms. After 3 years the bulb will still bloom, but it will show it's age. If I wanted a bulb longer than 2 years I would dig it up in the fall just to look at what it looks like, to get an idea for the next year.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

June 15, 2011
4:29 AM

Post #8631436

How can "the corm" get older, while it is being formed completely new during the season, out of the shoot, on top of the old corm? I just wonder. And what will happen when a big corm produces two shoots - will the new twin corms be "aged" also?

Thumbnail by haweha
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 15, 2011
6:23 AM

Post #8631607

The glads were purchased from Ednie, and looked very fresh, rounded on the top. I will be very happy if they bloom well for three years. Rather than dig and replant every year.

Should I be fetilizing them, and at what point?
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

June 15, 2011
6:31 AM

Post #8631619

I understand your your questions and how my post would lead you to ask them.
Let's go through the life of a bulb, starting with a bulblet. There is a grading system to the sizes of glad bulbs. Bulblets, then 6,5,4,3,2,1 and jumbos. A bulblet will create a new bulb, but it will be larger. A 6 or 5 will create a new bulb, and it will also be larger. So on up the scale until the new bulb reaches a jumbo size. Jumbos are somewhere around 2-2-1/2" in diameter. Knowing that raises the question, why don't bulbs get bigger? 3,4,5"? Fact is they simply don't. If the life cycle of glads was simply to create a new bulb every year there wouldn't be a need for bulblets, would there? The fact that there are bulblets suggests that there is more to this than simply a new bulb every year.
Knowing that, if you had bulbs of each of the differant sizes you would notice that as the bulbs get older-larger - larger-older you would see that they get flatter with age and size.
Dig your bulbs up in the fall just to look at them. Compare them to what they were the year before, and then watch how they perform. Besides that plant some new bulbs and see how they compare to the old ones.
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

June 15, 2011
6:55 AM

Post #8631648

It sounds like you can get 3 years from them. If you have the space you might try planting some new ones after 2 years to compare with the ones you have already.
Glads should be fertilized when the leaves are 8-10" tall. They are probably past that for you now, but you can still do it. Something like Osmocote is fine, but I would work it into the soil to get it closer to the roots.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 15, 2011
6:59 AM

Post #8631653

That's a great idea. I will do just that. Thank you.

Currently they're about a foot tall, so not much taller than you suggest fertilizing at. They are mulched with some of the straw I put over them to try to overwinter them, so I will just scratch some fertilizer in under the straw.

Thank you so much for all the advice. Much appreciated.
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

June 15, 2011
7:05 AM

Post #8631662

Now would be a good time to hill them, after you worked the fertilizer into the soil.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 15, 2011
7:08 AM

Post #8631667

Will do. I had done that a little, but I'm sure they could use some more.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

June 15, 2011
7:47 AM

Post #8631729

I understand that the cormels are "meant" for the increase of the Population. Further, it sounds logic to me, that an individual clone and its corm, respectively, will reach a maximum size after some years, that this simply reveals, that an equilibrium between material loss [through the production of leaves and flowers] and material buildup [through Photosynthesis] is being achieved. Will the old, giant, pancake shaped corm die, or what will it do? Or can I even rejuvenate it by cutting it into pieces (taking care that each of these includes a shoot initial)?
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

June 15, 2011
9:10 AM

Post #8631891

My parents grew 20 acres of glads, which were for cut flowers. So my experiance and understaning of glads might not be the same as a home gardener. Maybe someone here has grown the same bulbs for 4 or 5 years. As a rule we (and I think this is a standard for commercial growers) was to only grow bulbs for 2 years. There were years that some were grown for 3 years, but the size of the cut flowers on 3yo bulbs was like the differance between regular eggs and extra large eggs. 3yo bulbs produced flowers about 6" shorter. How long can a bulb produce flowers, really I can't say, but I don't think that many home gardeners would be satisfied knowing that any plant was producing flowers less than the years before. So I think my advice is sound for home gardening also.
Another thing is that commercial growers of glads rotate their fields, because glads are nore susseptable to disease grown on the same land. Ideally every year. it's something to concider in how long you want to grow bulbs in the same spot.
You asked if corms can be rejuvinated by cutting it in pieces, I have never heard of cutting glad bulbs. People who raise glads for the bulbs do so by growing bulbs from the bulblets, at the cost of growing them for several years. That would make me think that cutting would not be very succesful.


This message was edited Jun 15, 2011 11:20 AM
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

June 15, 2011
9:21 AM

Post #8631909

I have had Adam glad for three years now. I have to dig up each year or lose them. This would be the third year for some. I also bought some new ones last year. Of course, I mixed them up so can't tell which are which but all have grown. About 6-8" tall now. Glads are slow for me, even when started indoors. I love them and am still working on the best place to put them. I vacillate between planting against the house, but they don't get sun til noon but have the advantage of heat from the footings, or planting out in the middle of the yard garden where they get sun pretty much first thing in the morning and then all day. I used osmocote while they were in pots and now use fish fertilizer in a 5 gallon bucket. The hose siphons the fertilizer out as I water the garden. That is how the nurseries do it, but then they are just fertilizing their flats and pots. Might not be as good in an open garden environment.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 19, 2011
9:58 AM

Post #8701703

And here's my first glad from my experiment with the straw to overwinter them. They are all looking good and healthy.

Thumbnail by pollyk
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2011
11:33 AM

Post #8701882

Beautiful. What is the name of the glad?
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 19, 2011
3:27 PM

Post #8702301

Thanks! Vista. I purchase my glads from Ednie Flower Bulb, which is a very large wholesaler, so they are probably available from places like Wooden Shoe.and Sunshine.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2011
4:10 PM

Post #8702426

lol. uh, places of which I have never heard? :) sorry we are pretty much at opposite ends of the earth, well, at least country. I will look for it over on this side. Thanks.
Mary
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 19, 2011
4:27 PM

Post #8702445

I'm sure they ship bulbs anywhere. No biggie to ship to Alaska, I have quite a few customers there. Priority mail, 2 days from NY to AK.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2011
4:53 PM

Post #8702470

Yes, as long as they will ship USPS. A lot of companies are into contracts with UPS and the software that is integrated into their ordering systems I believe spits out a UPS sticker only. I have found a few vendors who are kind enough to send USPS, and you are right. You can get bulbs into a standard shipping container and do priority. With bulbs it doesn't matter. Live plants I go 2nd day air. Bare roots likes peonies or bearded iris, ehhhh, could go 7 day no problem.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 19, 2011
5:12 PM

Post #8702500

I sell siberian and Japanese iris, and always ship USPS priority, and it always gets there in 2 days, even to the center area of Alaska. I don't know why more companies wouldn't do that. To me it would just make sense to ship to the furthest states like that. I guess even Hawaii is 2 days, although I've never shipped there. I think if a company is set up so their shipping is set in stone, that's not good practice.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2011
8:15 PM

Post #8702835

I agree. I took a try at the ensata iris and killed them all. I think you sent me some information on them but I had already killed them off. I would like to try again, perhaps next year. When is best to ship them?
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 20, 2011
5:58 AM

Post #8703174

Early spring for you, just when it starts to warm up.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2011
8:19 AM

Post #8703569

Um. Could you define 'warm up?; Don't mean to be thick but would that be after snow is gone but still in the 30's in the am, or maybe April when it is getting up to the 40's. I can plant outside the middle of May if it is stuff that goes underground so it wouldn't be hurt by a late frost. June 1 for all else.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 20, 2011
8:45 AM

Post #8703634

I would say early May. A frost won't hurt them, especially if they are coming from a cold area, like Ensata Gardens. You're not thick a bit. I should have explained it better.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2011
9:31 AM

Post #8703722

But you sell the Japanese iris don't you. Obviously I would like to order from you in the spring, or place my order now to assure choices. Do you have an URL. I believe you do if memory serves.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 20, 2011
4:00 PM

Post #8704472

I do sell them, and siberians. Thanks. I can't advertise on here, but if you click on my name and go to my homepage here, it should tell you my business.
TsFlowers
Delphi, IN

July 27, 2011
7:32 AM

Post #8718276

I just thought I'd share my information on leaving glads in the ground over winter. I'm only in zone 5 and this is my third year for my glads in ground. I have never dug them up to look at the bulbs, but what appears to be happening is this. The older bulbs are forming the bulblets and these emerge without blooming the first or second year with thin whispy foliage. So if the parent bulbs dies out, then it seems to be replaced with nice flowering glads from the bulblets.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 27, 2011
8:46 AM

Post #8718415

How wonderful. I wish I could leave mine in. I was so disappointed in my Atom glads this year. Really wimpy and they aren't very big to begin with. I guess they really do die out after three years. Makes the process of saving them over winter seem not worth it.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 27, 2011
5:17 PM

Post #8719555

This was the first year I overwintered mine, and I have some smaller foliage, but most are blooming like regular sized new glads.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
2:55 AM

Post #8720367

The Garden Gladiolas are far distant from being wild flowers, and they were not bred with the designation in mind, to stay in the ground through the winter. They were not selected in this regard. They were and are being selected in order to provide maximum, spectacular performance AND to provide maximum profit for the COMMERCIAL growers through superior proliferation by rich production of Cormels.
They were not designed to stay "as a whole" over the years. Obviously, the credit that you have to give to their superior, artificial beauty is to take them from the soil and to rejuvenate the stock through separation and raising of the cormels.
If I adhered to the idea that they SHOULD stay in the ground, then I would try color mixtures of Gladiolas. Some cultivars will survive and some might really "thrive".
dadofnine_co
Fountain, CO
(Zone 5b)

July 28, 2011
7:12 AM

Post #8720663

"You asked if corms can be rejuvinated by cutting it in pieces, I have never heard of cutting glad bulbs. People who raise glads for the bulbs do so by growing bulbs from the bulblets, at the cost of growing them for several years. That would make me think that cutting would not be very successful."

I have cut glad corms in the past. I use a clean sharp knife. And leave an "eye" in each piece. Never have read anywhere about this. It just made sense. If one leaves the corm intact I think one of the eyes sprouts and does not let the others sprout unless there is enough food for both. I really do not know what happens. It is all a mystery to me. :) It just works for me.

rich
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 28, 2011
7:48 AM

Post #8720711

What explains then, how well they did last year, and wintered over this year, and did just as well? I'm not saying they should stay in the ground. That's obviously not how they are grown commercially. This was just an experiment on my part, I had 4 different cultivars, and all are as lovely as they were last year.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
9:29 AM

Post #8720892

This is explained by differential environmental conditions. Those might be subtle, so they defy recognition, but they might decide on "Thriving" versus "dwindle/fade". You are LUKKY!

This message was edited Jul 28, 2011 1:39 PM
TsFlowers
Delphi, IN

July 28, 2011
10:42 AM

Post #8721046

Well, for my glads, I planted 12" deep and cover with a foot (12") of straw in December when we first begin having freeze. But last year I didn't manage to get the straw on and most still survived. I find certain varieties are hardier than others it seems.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

July 28, 2011
11:48 AM

Post #8721131

I second the "LUKKY" vote! I will be digging dahlias, begonias, and glads in another two months -- well, maybe two months plus a week or so if I am lucky.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

July 28, 2011
1:17 PM

Post #8721297

Well, I will see if I can get lucky for another year, because I really enjoyed not having to replant. I'll let everyone know how they do for the third year. And I will also buy some in the spring, just to be sure.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
3:03 PM

Post #8721533

dadofnine_co thank you for the info that defied my perception when I previously read this Thread. I shall perform experiments with cutting mature corms, at the start of the next season. The innermost "eye" preventing the other eyes in the periphery to sprout makes sense; it is or it can be likened to "apical dominance".
dadofnine_co
Fountain, CO
(Zone 5b)

August 3, 2011
1:47 PM

Post #8734746

I forgot to mention in the post above that I dust the cut corms with sulfur so they do not rot.
haweha
Solingen
Germany
(Zone 7a)

August 4, 2011
3:46 AM

Post #8735915

Thank you. Good idea! For this purpose I had already KMnO4 in mind, and a weak solution thereof, respectively, that I would then immerse the corms prior to cutting, and then after cutting again, then let them dry.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

September 17, 2011
8:52 AM

Post #8812168

A question as fall is increasing its hold. I read that the corms get weaker each year. If the corms form new corms each year, do they get wimpier each year? I have some Atom that are indeed getting wimpier. I am thinking I am going to throw them away. My abysinians are finally blooming and I love them. They are so different. but if they will just get weaker and sparser each year, perhaps i need to just order new corms each year. but that is so spendy. I can get bags of 'garden variety' to plant but that isn't much fun. Suggestions.
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

September 18, 2011
11:41 AM

Post #8813517

Yes, even though they form new corms each year they do produce less as they get older. You have a couple options.

1. You don't need to replace them every year as you posted. If you buy healthy bulbs they should be good for 2 - 3, maybe 4 years.

2. You could grow new bulbs from the bulblets of the bulbs you buy. That would take 1 or 2 growing seasons to get bulbs big enough to flower for you.

When you buy bulbs, if you have any choices in the bulb sizes don't buy the biggest ones. A size or two down from the biggest will give you those extra years in your garden rather than a growers field.

BTW, Nagels in Michigan is a good place to order from.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

September 18, 2011
12:59 PM

Post #8813595

Great. Thanks. I have seen the bulblets and have always just removed them thinking they sapped the vigor of the main bulb. I will take a look at Nagels.
dadofnine_co
Fountain, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 26, 2011
8:00 AM

Post #8864327

It seems to me that if ones corms are getting smaller each year then one might want to look at the soil they are planted in and make it better each year.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

October 26, 2011
8:27 AM

Post #8864354

Do you just plant the bulbets. I just put them in a paper bag with the bulbs but I think they will dry up by next spring. Maybe should put them in dirt over winter?
niceguy2
Rochester, MN

October 28, 2011
4:41 AM

Post #8866657

That glad bulbs reach a point where they start to diminish in size each year is just the nature of glads. It has nothing to do with the soil or anything else.

The bulblets won't dry out for you. When you dig the bulbs up in the fall they will look white and have kind of a dish pan hand wringely texture. The outside will turn brown and get a hard shell that will keep the inside from drying out.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

October 28, 2011
8:43 AM

Post #8866916

Cool. I will plant them carefully next spring.. Ohhhhhh, the plans for 'next spring.'

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