Gladioli are very popular in many gardens and this is a good time to buy them. If planted in April, they will enhance the garden by flowering in August.
The corms are best planted in groups of three or five in a circular. shape, planted about three inches deep and six inches apart.
This arrangement will provide an array of blooms which aren’t as formal as a row of soldiers.
This planting arrangement also helps in the autumn, when most gardeners remove the dead plants. The gladdies in groups are dug up together and this saves a lot of time when you are out there in wet conditions.
It also enables us to make good use of colours too. Don’t get ‘mixed’ but use your imagination and plant the groups so that the colour in one group will contrast with the colour in the next – for example red against yellow or, if you enjoy the warm colours of summer, buy varieties of reds and oranges.
If added to the herbaceous border, the spear-like leaves make a useful contrast to a lot of the perennials which don’t have interesting leaves such as golden rod, planted against gladioli,.
When planting, dig over the soil and in the position where the corms are to be planted add some well-rotted compost or a large handful of the contents of a growing bag.
This is a cheap way of improving poor soils and if the ground is not well-drained, for example a clay or heavy soil, add half a cup of sharp sand under each corm. This will ensure the corms don’t rot if the weather is cold and wet. If you do this, the weather will be hot and dry of course!
They are good in tubs too and look great with geraniums, but certainly aren’t good in window boxes or hanging baskets.
One of the worst combinations I saw in a hanging basket was love-lies-bleeding and gladioli!
If you enjoy cutting flowers from the garden, have a look to see if you can find some miniature gladioli called Gladioli primulinus. These are superb for cutting and one of the best for weddings is one called The Bride. It is mainly white and is a very well-known flower used in brides’ bouquets.
Gladioli can be planted as late as June and they will then flower in October. This is a handy tip because by October the flower border needs a bit of colour and the advantage is that the corms are half-price at garden centres in June because they need to clear the stock.
Some people leave the corms in the garden all year, but if the border tends to be rather wet in winter this can cause them to rot.
It is best to remove the corms complete with stems once the foliage has turned brown, string the varieties together and label them and then hang them up in the shed.