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Plants Online - Gladiolus

Plants for sale - Gladiolus

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CORN FLAG

Family IRIDACEAE
Gladiolus species
Perennial

A genus comprising many cormous-rooted plants native to South Africa, and two in Europe; also called Sword Lily.

The leaves are erect and sword-like and the funnel-shaped flowers are of variable size, being borne several at a time on spikes that vary considerably in height.

Gladiolus byzantinus, from Asia Minor, reaches two feet, bearing purplish-red flowers, two or more inches across.
Gladiolus communis, from southern Europe, reaches two feet, with flowers that vary from white to rose and purple. Gladiolus primulinus, from south-east Africa, is a graceful plant up to three and a half feet, with small, hooded primrose-yellow flowers, known as Maid of the Mist.
Gladiolus colvillei has medium-sized flowers varying from white to shades of pink or scarlet.
Plant Gladiolus colvillei in autumn and protect with bracken, also Gladiolus byzantinus and Gladiolus communis.
Gladiolus primulinus is planted in March in well-drained rich soil in full sun, and lifted and stored away from frost in winter.

Propagate by cormlets and seed.

The flowering season is from June to August.

Gladiolus – Corn Flag
Hardy “bulb” (corm).
Two to five feet.
Flowers of various colours, May to September.

The Gladiolus root is a flattened circular corm, which throws up in summer flag-like leaves crowned by a spike of flowers opening in succession.
During the season’s growth the old corm dies; one or two new corms are formed on the top of the old one, and frequently a number of small bulb-shaped offsets are found about its edge.
The main division of the Gladioli is according to the time of flowering. The early kinds bloom in May, June and July.

The roots of these should be planted not later than the beginning of March, two inches under the soil and three or four apart in patches; the soil should be good and if possible well drained and sandy.

In a favourable position the roots will increase undisturbed for several years, but in heavy ground they must be taken up as soon as the foliage withers, dried and cleaned, and kept in a cool dry place till next planting-time.

The flowers of the early section are much smaller than those of the Gandavensis and other later strains; but they are undeservedly neglected at present.
The old Gladiolus Byzantinus, a pretty purplish crimson, is one of the most enduring and easily grown of plants.
Other good sorts are Insignis, crimson and purple;
Prince Albert, red and white, a free grower;
Rosy Gem, rose-pink;
Colvillei Alba (“The Bride”) is a beautiful white, but not such a “good doer” as some of the others.

The later flowering Gladioli are a much more imposing family than their forerunners; the plants are taller and stouter, the flowers much larger and their colouring far more vivid and varied.

The several divisions which the amateur need concern himself with are the Gandavensis hybrids (called also Exhibition Gladioli), the Lemoinei and the Childsii seedlings, and the Brenchleyensis strain.
The Gandavensis Gladioli are the most various and splendid in colour of all, displaying many shades of crimson, pink, scarlet, purple, mauve, salmon, light yellow, violet and slate, as well as white, in self colours or streaked and flaked.

The roots should be planted between the beginning of March and the middle of May, two or three inches deep and about nine inches apart.
The best way to grow the plants is in beds, making parallel drills with the line and placing the corms equal distances apart in the rows.
The soil should have been prepared beforehand; if naturally light, a good digging during the winter, working in plenty of old manure and leaf-mould, will suffice; heavy ground and clay must have plenty of old hot-bed stuff, wood ashes, road grit and sharp sand. The planting should be done when the soil is crumbly and workable.

Weeds must be rigorously kept down (this requires care before the shoots of the gladioli show themselves conspicuously through the mould); and before the flower spike is half developed it must be lightly tied to a sufficient stick, some four feet out of the ground.

As soon as the flower spikes are quite over, and before the foliage decays, fork the plants up, tie them up in bundles just as they are, and hang them up in a cool, dry shed, safe from frost.
When the leaves are brown and withered, cut them off with a sharp knife just above the new corm; pull off the old corm and its dead root fibres, and clear away any small bulbets on the roots (these may be kept and planted the following April in nursery beds, when with the ordinary care they will form flowering roots in two or three seasons).

The full-grown corms should be stored secure from mice, damp and warmth, till the following spring.
The Gandavensis section is unfortunately not altogether the easiest to grow, and the beginner must be prepared for a proportion of blank places and disappointing displays.

The comparatively new breeds called Childsii and Lemoinei hybrids, though not so varied as the Gandavensis, are much more willing growers, and will succeed under less favourable conditions.
They may be had in named sorts, but for all ordinary purposes a good mixture is most satisfactory. Though they are said to be quite hardy, the grower will be wise to lift and dry them before autumn rains.
With this treatment they will probably find the corms about double their number every year; if left in the ground they will sooner or later entirely disappear.

The Brenchleyensis is a hardy and easily grown tribe, of a soft full scarlet which is invaluable to the autumnal garden. “First-size” roots should be planted from the middle of March to the end of April, and treated in the same way as the hybrid kinds.
They should be planted in mixed borders in patches of five or six; a bed of a hundred or so would give a piece of colour that might fairly be called “sumptuous”.

Unfortunately the Gladiolus is persecuted by a fungoid disease which sometimes will prevent a single spike in a whole bed from opening its flowers and will cause every corm to decay.
The plague seems to resemble the specific disease of the lilies; there is no known cure. All the infected plants should be burnt, and the ground they have occupied should be thoroughly dug and exposed to the air.

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