How to grow gladiolus

How to grow gladiolus (Full story from planting to packing)

How to grow gladiolus: Gladiolus is a perennial flowering plant in the iris family. It is commonly called “glads”. Sometimes it called the ‘sword lily’, the Latin word ‘Gladiolus’ means “sword”. Because the leaves of gladiolus look more like a sword. Cultivation of gladiolus flowers is not only aesthetic but also. There is a lot of demand for this flower in the market. This flower can be cultivated in any type of soil including yard and rooftop garden. Because of its attractive color, size, and longtime freshness, it has gained a lot of acceptance and considerable popularity in the flower’s family.

In this article we’ll know about the following things;

Varieties, Propagation, Site selection, Climatic condition, Preparation of land, Planting method, Fertilizer application, Irrigation and drainage, Weed Control, Mulching, and tillage, Disease and insects control methods, Time and method of Flower cutting/collection, Collection and preservation of corms, Processing and Packing of gladiolus.

Find your planting zone and see instructions for this process below.

Varieties of gladiolus

There are many varieties of gladiolus. These are commonly classified as their huge size, large flowers, and small flowers. These varieties can be divided into early, medium, and late varieties. They are can also be single and double varieties. Gladiolus flowers can be of different colors, such as white, yellow, pink, pale red, red, dark red, orange, purple, etc. Some of the popular and recommended varieties are ‘Candyman’, ‘Dream’s End’, ‘Prins Claus’, ‘Black Star’, Glamini Glads, etc.

How to grow gladiolus
  • ‘Candyman’, produce beautiful deep pink flowers
  • ‘Dream’s End’, produce light orange flowers with large yellow centers
  • ‘Prins Claus’, produce white flowers with splashes of pink on its petals
  • ‘Black Star’, produce deep purple-red blooms
  • Glamini Glads is perfect for the middle or front of flower beds.

Characteristics of good varieties

  • Suitable for cultivation in native soil and climate;
  • Disease resistance;
  • Plants do not fall easily;
  • Use of high-quality corms and Carmel;
  • The number of flowers on the stick is high;
  • The colors of the flowers become brighter;
  • Stay fresh in the vase for a long time.

Step-by-step how to grow gladiolus

How to grow gladiolus

Follow the process step-by-step to grow gladiolus that given below

Propagation of gladiolus

Gladiolus can be propagated by Seeds, Corms, and Carmel. Generally, Corms are planted for cultivation. It is better to use 4-5 cm diameter corms.

Site selection for gladiolus

Gladiolus can be grown on any type of fertile soil (especially rich in organic manure, sandy loam, or loam soil), but well-drained loamy and sandy loamy soils are ideal for cultivation. The land should be elevated where no rain or irrigation water stands. The ideal pH value of the soil should be 6.5 to 7.5. However, it can be grown in soils with a lower pH.

Muddy and black soil should be avoided. In the case of light soils, the quality of the soil should be improved by mixing organic manure. This flower grows well in cold soil conditions. Gladiolus prefers 8-10 hours of light per day. Therefore, sunny and windy places should be selected. Repeated cultivation of gladiolus on the same land increases the incidence of soil-borne diseases. So other crops have to be cultivated at intervals.

Climatic condition for growing gladiolus

The gladiolus grows well in humid, sunny, temperate weather. If the daytime temperature remains between 15 to 20oC then the production will be better. Usually, 15 to 20oC temperatures suitable for the growth and development of the flower. Gladiolus can tolerate temperatures up to 50oC if the suitable humidity present. At high temperatures, the plant can’t retain enough water. Moreover, the plant will be completely damaged if there is a high temperature present from the first seed sowing to the first leaf emergence.

The flower production reduces in short days and low light intensity. Full sunlight is very suitable for cultivating this flower, this flower is not good in shade. Yield will be reduced at each stage of plant growth, if there is a lack of moisture in the soil especially when planting Corms and just before the spikes (which hold the flowers and leaves) emerge.

The appropriate time for planting

After preparing the land, you should start planting gladiolus corms in the spring when the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 55°F (13°C). Disease-free corms of 4.5-5.0 cm diameter should be planted at a depth of 6-7 cm of soil.

Preparation of land

For getting good production of gladiolus the land has to be cultivated very well.  The soil does not need to be cultivated very deep because the roots of gladiolus do not enter too deep into the soil. The land should be cultivated at a depth of 8 to 10 inches. But if the soil is hard it should be cultivated more deeply. In order to keep the land free from insects, the soil should be treated with chlordane and to keep the land free from soil-borne diseases the soil should be treated with methyl bromide-chloropicrin (162 kg/acre) during cultivation. At this time about 10000 kg dung, 20 to 25 kg TSP, and 15 to 20 kg MOP fertilizer per acre should be well mixed in the land.

Planting method of corms and Carmel

In case of corms: Disease-free large (about 30 gm) and medium (about 20 gm) weight 1.5 to 2-inch diameter corms should be planted at a depth of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. The corms must be free of the dormant state (the dormancy is the time in which it does not germinate), that is, it must adapt to the soil environment.

Before planting, germinated corms should be soaked in 0.1% to 0.3% Bavistin solution for 5 minutes and then dry in air. Whereas in the case of planting caramel, it should be soaked in water for 24 hours. To get better quality flowers, row to row spacing should be 12 inches and plant to plant spacing should be 10 inches. However, planting can be done at a distance of “10 inches x 6 inches” to prevent wastage of land.

In the case of Carmel: Small Carmel is found in clusters around the corms. The Carmel has a hard brown shell around it which delays germination, so if the caramel is carefully soaked in water for 24 hours before planting, germination will be faster. In the case of planting caramel, the soil has to be prepared very finely and more fertilizer has to be applied than corms. Since each Carmel is very small, the planting distance should be reduced to 4 inches x 2 inches and planted at a small depth (about 1 to 1.5 inches).

Fertilizer application

In March-April, the land has to be well prepared by cultivating the soil. At the time of final cultivation, 5-6 kg dung manure, 30 g TSP, and 30 g MOP fertilizer per square meter should be well mixed with the soil. It should not be given too much urea fertilizer in Gladiolus. Because the flower stalk becomes longer and weaker. Half of 10 gm urea per square meter should be applied 20-25 days after planting and the other half at the time of flowering as a top dressing.   

Care for gladiolus after planting

Irrigation and drainage

To get good quality flowers, the soil should have a sufficient amount of moisture. After the corms are planted in the soil, light irrigation should be given to the land so that the corms can stick to the soil. Later, irrigation should be given for 10 to 15 consecutive days considering the weather conditions. If the amount of water in the soil is less, the growth of the plant will be reduced. If the amount of water in the land is high, the corms may rot. 

Weed control

Regular deep root weed control is very important in the production of gladiolus flowers. Recommended herbicide should be sprayed at 1.8 kg/acre. Care should be taken while using herbicides so that corms and Carmel are not damaged.

Mulching and tillage

One of the most important aspects of gladiolus flower cultivation is early tillage. After germination, the topsoil should be mulched with khurpi or hoe every 15 to 30 days interval. Once 3 to 5 leaves have emerged and when the spikes (after 6 leaves emerged) the soil should be removed from both sides at the base of the tree.

After irrigation or if for any reason if corms or Carmel rises above the ground, it should be covered with soil from the side. When it should be covered with the soil there is enough moisture will be in the soil and there is less possibility to fall the plants by the air.

Stacking (holding the stem upright with a stick)

A bamboo/wooden stick should be buried 8.5 feet apart in each row, 6 inches above the ground and a wire or nylon rope should be pulled at the point where the spike comes out. Small poles can be buried separately for each plant. Stacking is not necessary if the plant is planted densely. Care should be taken during as if not to injure the trunk or the ground or the Carmel.

Disease and insects control methods                                     

(A) Thrips: This is a tiny gray insect that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These insects absorb the sap of leaves, spikes, and flowers, resulting in long silver and brown spots on the affected leaves. The leaves and flowers dry out if the infestation is high. Corms may also be affected in the storage condition.

Management: To control this insect, 20 to 30 ml of Malathion should be mixed in 16 liters of water and sprayed 2 to 3 times. Good results are also obtained by spraying Novacron (0.1 to 0.15%).

(B) Aphids: Aphids eat young leaves, new spikes, and flower sap.

Management: This insect can be controlled by spraying Starter/Tafgor 40 EC at the rate of 2 ml per liter of water.

(C) Nematodes/Worms: Many types of nematodes can attack gladiolus. The ‘root not nematode’ is notable among them.

Management: Nematodes can be protected by purifying the soil and using nematode destroyer Neuforan /Furacarb 3 to 4 kg/acre.

(D) Botrytis Blight: This disease is caused by fungi. The leaves and flowers are affected by this disease. Initially small brown or gray spots appear on one side of the leaf. However, if the attack is more, spots appear on the other side as well. Small to large water-soaked lesion appears on the petals which later turn into gray spots. The disease is more common in cold and humid weather.

Management: Clean cultivation controls the disease a lot. The disease can be controlled by spraying Dithane M-45 at the rate of 1 to 2 gm per liter of water or Bendazim/Metazeb /Mancozeb at the rate of 1 to 2 gm per liter of water 15 days interval.

(E) Fusarium rot: This disease is caused by fungi. In this disease, the growth of the plant hampered, the stems and petals become deformed and the spikes emerged very rarely. Corms and Carmel rot before storage or during storage conditions.

Management: It is very difficult to prevent the infection of this disease. However, resistant and tolerant varieties can be used to prevent this disease. The disease can also be prevented by using healthy Corms, clean cultivation, and purification of Corms and Carmel. It is a seed and soil-borne disease. The disease is more prevalent in soils where there are less aeration and water accumulation in the soil. The disease can be prevented by mixing and soaking the soil with 1 g of Bavistin / Bendazim / Carbendazim and 2 g of Mancozeb / Metazeb per liter of water.

(F) Virus: Gladiolus can be infected by many corms viruses. Infection with the virus hampered the growth of the plant. Virus causes distort the leaves, flowers, and spikes and create long spots on the colored flowers.

Management: Once infected, the plant should be burnt with corms. Disease-free Carmel can be obtained if it is collected before the virus enters the Carmel. As some viruses are spread by insects, the disease can be controlled by spraying 2 ml of Starter/Tafgor/Perfecthion pesticide per liter of water.

Time and method of Flower cutting/collection

The plant flowers within 85 to 90 days of planting. The spike (which holds the flowers and leaves) should be cut If 1 to 2 florets appear on the underside of the spike. After cutting the spike, the plant should have 4 to 5 leaves and the spike should have 1 to 2 blooming flowers. The flowers should be kept in the shade for some time immediately after cutting.

Collection and preservation of corms

A) Collection of corms: Corms should be collected within 6 to 8 weeks of flowering (When the leaves are yellow and brown). At this time the corms are carefully collected by digging the base of the plant. You will get good quality corms is obtained if the corms are collected within 90 to 105 days of flowering, and good flowers are obtained from them in the future. During lifting necessary care should be taken not to injure the corms.

B) Preservation: After collecting corms, big and small corms should be sorted out and dried in the shade. Corms and Carmel should be soaked in Bavistin 1% solution for 5 minutes. After drying them well then it should be stored in a well-ventilated place. Corms must be stored at 2.5 to 5 °C room temperature. In the traditional way, corms and Carmel can be stored in a light-ventilated place on a bamboo platform or in a wooden tray. Corms can also be stored in buckets. In this case, care should be taken so that one variety is not mixed with another variety.

The top shell of the corms should not be peeled off during storage. In the case of a small number of corms can be stored at the normal temperature of the refrigerator. Because Carmel is large in number and small in size, it can be stored in a perforated nylon bag and hung on a bamboo pole. After storing corms and Carmel, the protected area should be inspected from time to time to ensure that it is not infected by pests.

Yield

You can get1 lakh 35 thousand corms to 1 lakh 20 thousand sticks from per acre of land. 4,000 kg of corms and about 5,000 kg of Carmel from per acre of land. The weight of each caramel will be about 70 to 80 grams and each caramel about 20 to 50 grams. About 10 to 15 caramels can be obtained from each corm.

Processing of gladiolus

To keep the cut flowers fresh for a long time, a 4% sugar solution should be mixed with 600 ppm 6-hydroxy quinolone citrate in the solution. Spikes should be wrapped in polythene and placed in cartons. The cartoon should be kept in 4 to 10°C room temperature up to three days.  

Packing of gladiolus

Spike shots should be kept in 5 feet long, 24 inches width and 12 inches height a perforated paper or attached wooden box. Besides, drying cotton should be placed between the bundles of the spike.  

Abraham M. Johnson
 

Abraham is a professional gardener and his hobby is indoor and outdoor gardening! He has been gardening for the last 5 years and he loves to decorate the home by gardening as well. Based on his experience with different types of gardens; he is sharing his thought and opinion about various gardens care tips and tools so that a beginner can get started right away. Find him on twitter here. Happy reading!

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