HOW TO GROW GLADIOLI

These can be divided into three groups, the early flowering, Primulinus, and Grandiflora or large-flowering type. They are all used for bedding, with fairly tall plants growing in between. They are also used as cut flowers. The Primulinus and the Primulinus Hybrids are lighter in appearance and are excellent for vases for they last so long in water. You often get more than one spike from a corm which you never do in the case of Grandiflora. The Primulinus has a hooded form of top petal while the Grandiflora has the top petal of each flower growing up straight.

Plant Gladioli in a fairly sheltered place and choose a soil that does not dry out too easily. Prepare the ground as advised for hyacinths. Try to get the cultivation done early because the gladioli do not like fresh manure or freshly cultivated soil. In the south plant about mid-March and in the south-west even earlier but in the cold parts of the north delay planting till early in April. Plant the larger corms 100 mm (4 in) deep with the smaller ones 75 mm (3 in) deep. In heavy soil sit the corm in a little sand placed in the bottom of the hole. The corms may be planted as close as 75 to 100 mm (3 to 4 in) apart but when planting in the flower border they will be usually 175 or 200 mm (7 or 8 in) apart. Young well-rounded corms with a high crown usually flower earlier than a flat corm.

Hoe regularly between the gladioli and give liquid manure when the flowers are starting to develop. Mulch with sedge peat in the summer should the weather be dry; each year in October when the foliage is beginning to turn colour, dig the corms up and store in a dry, frost-proof shed. When the leaves have died down completely clean the corms, remove the leaves, and store.

There are large numbers of Grandiflora, Primulinus and Butterflies, the flower colours varying from dark blue, through violet blue, dark scarlet, to crimson, salmon, pale pink, primrose and pure white. In the case of the Early Flowering gladioli, there are two main groups, the G. col-villei and the G. nanus. The Colvillei is a rose, and the Bride a white and in the Nanus Group there are at least three different such as Blushing Bride, Nymph and Peach Blossom.

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