Perfect care for gladioli
Unlike most root-tuber and bulb crops, which grow almost without leaving, gladiolus is not whimsical. These charming representatives of the Iris family, who have long changed the status of a hopelessly outdated plant, conquer with long luxurious inflorescences and require constant care. But all the efforts made to provide the gladioli with the necessary irrigation and top dressing are fully paid for by the beauty of flowering, relentless, colorful and unaware of competitors in the second half of the season.
Outdoor cultivation of gladioli
Irrigation without delay
Gladioli produce amazingly large and high inflorescences for corms of this size, but they do not form particularly powerful roots that can provide moisture from the deep layers of the soil. And that is why, unlike many other bulbs, gladioluses need watering. They should be supportive in nature, carried out during periods of drought weekly or at least once every 10 days.
In order for gladioluses to bloom colorfully and abundantly, they need regular soil moisture to a depth of about 30-35 cm, on which the bulk of the roots of these plants is located. Surface irrigation for gladioli is absolutely not suitable, because it will not only lead to the rapid development of weeds, but will also jeopardize the tissue of the root tubers themselves. For this plant, it is considered optimal to water in the amount of 1-1.5 buckets of water per square meter of soil under plantings.
Gladioli are watered not directly at shoots and leaves, but along furrows or aisles (they are better in advance, when planting, lay to a depth of about 3-5 cm especially for irrigation). Water in the procedure should in no case fall on the leaves of the plant, and watering the grooves most effectively will avoid the risk of the spread of rot.
Regular loosening of the soil
Each irrigation procedure should end with loosening the soil, which will not allow the crust to form and will maintain the air permeability of the substrate, better distribution of moisture in the middle soil layer. After loosening, the plants are slightly covered with soil and be sure to re-lay the furrows for irrigation (to the same depth as when planting - from 3 to 5 cm). Loosening is carried out after heavy rainfall, and with proper care - regularly, with a frequency of 1 time in 10 days. The only way to avoid time-consuming procedures is to create a mulching layer.
Take care of the mulch
Mulching in the early stages of plant development will protect the gladioli from the vagaries of the weather, eliminate the need for loosening up to 3 times a month, and will effectively retain moisture in the soil, preventing weeds from spreading. The ideal strategy is to create a mulching layer of humus, peat, compost, pine needles, grass or straw immediately after the sprouts of gladioli reach a height of 10 cm.
Do not forget about weeding
Unlike irrigation, weeding for gladioli is carried out only 3 or 4 times during the summer, and more often even less so. If regular soil loosening or mulching is included in the care program for these plants, then they act as a preventive measure against the spread of weeds and can reduce the number of traditional weeds to a minimum. The best strategy for gladioli is to remove young weeds in a timely manner, preventing them from developing and drowning the growth of the bulbs themselves. Even if you don’t have time for thorough care according to all the rules, you cannot constantly devote time to gladioli and mulch and loosen, do not let the weeds fill the areas under the flowers very much — they are amazingly easy to drown out, gladioli do not like competitors. Moreover, the spread of weeds will increase the risk of infection with pests and diseases, vulnerability to slugs and caterpillars, which will easily reach the succulent leaves of this plant.
The most difficult thing in caring for gladioli is nutrition
Top dressing is the key to success in growing these plants. For the same reasons that gladioli cannot bear drought on their own for a long time and need systemic watering, they are also dependent on the constant replenishment of nutrient levels in the soil. Unlike many other garden plants, for gladioli there are no simplified feeding schemes. The fertilizer schedule for gladioli should correspond to the stages of development, because without feeding the plant it is difficult to go to the next stage and grow and develop normally.
The first top dressing for gladioli contribute at the very beginning of their development, it is necessary for the active growth of shoots from the tuber, the formation of high-quality leaf mass and the laying of peduncles. In the initial phase, gladioli most need nitrogen, but its quantity should not be excessive, because an excess of this nutrient can delay flowering. The largest amount of nitrogen gladiolus is pulled out of the soil at the stage of the appearance of the first true leaf, but feeding is best done only at the stage of 2-3 leaf. Accordingly, with these requirements, the first top dressing is applied in the form of nitrogen fertilizers in a standard dose or full mineral mixtures with a low potassium content are added (25-30 g of nitrogen fertilizers + 15-20 g of potash + 30-40 g of superphosphate). The mineral mixture can be replaced by a combination of organic fertilizers, such as mullein or chicken manure with the addition of a half dose of superphosphate and potassium permanganate. If you planted late varieties or planted at the end of May-June, it is better to postpone nitrogen fertilizing until 4 leaves appear, and in adverse weather or excess organic matter in the soil, carry out the first fertilizing only in June.
When 5-6 leaves appear on the plant, the use of nitrogen in gladioli practically stops, and access to phosphorus is more important for flowering and fruiting, especially before the start of budding and at the whole stage of preparation for flowering. Second feeding should also consist of three elements, but with a different ratio of elements. At this time, for the gladioli make a standard dose of a phosphorus-potassium mixture or 10-20 g of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers and about 20 g of phosphate.
Before the start of flowering itself, the third development period begins, during which gladioli most need potassium. Third feeding carried out exclusively potassium-phosphorus mixtures during budding or at the beginning of the movement of the peduncle, making about 30-40 g of phosphate and 15-20 g of potash fertilizers. Since mid-August, gladioluses can not be fed.
There is another 6 feeding procedures, which is often used when cutting gladioli:
- After the appearance of the first true leaf, gladioli are fed with nitrogen fertilizers in an amount of 25-30 g with the addition of 20-25 g of potash per 1 m2 of soil.
- In the phase of 3-4 leaves, 10-20 g of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers and about 2 g of boric acid are added.
- After the sixth leaf is released, 15 g of nitrogen and 30 g of potash fertilizers are applied.
- During the appearance of the peduncle and the beginning of flowering, full mineral fertilizer is used in an amount of 30 g.
- After flowering, 15 g of phosphate and 30 g of potash fertilizers are applied.
- In late August or early September, gladioli are watered with a solution of 5 g of potassium permanganate per 10 l of water.
On a note: If it is more convenient for you not to monitor the development of plants and the phases that they go through, you can replace the standard fertilizer application with regular watering with reduced doses, in this case, fertilizing every 2-3 weeks and using universal fertilizer for flowering crops during irrigation.
Fertilizers for gladioli are preferably applied in liquid form, dry top dressing for them is practically ineffective. If you have extra time, it is better to divide the standard dose of fertilizers by half and carry out two dressings at weekly intervals at each stage.
In addition to conventional top dressing, to accelerate flowering and improve decorative qualities, up to 3 foliar top dressings can be carried out for all plantings of gladioli, in particular at the budding stage, using aqueous solutions of potassium permanganate, copper sulfate, boric acid or special mixtures of trace elements. Foliar top dressing can be carried out only in the evenings or on cloudy days, by spraying as finely as possible, trying to apply the mixture in such a way that fertilizers fall on both sides of the leaves.
Landing monitoring is the main guarantee of gladioli health
You need to monitor not only the weeds. Regularly inspect the plants themselves, paying particular attention to the leaves and noting the slightest specks of yellowness. If there are signs of illness, stunting, yellowing and drying out, get rid of the diseased plants immediately, even if you are not sure that they are affected by a fungal disease. Such specimens should be excavated and burned immediately, without waiting for the problem to spread to neighboring cultures.
Garter or Hilling
Most gladioli require additional support, because their peduncles are very long and heavy, prone to lodging. There are two support strategies for gladioli:
- Garter. For gladioli, traditionally not individual supports are used, but twine or twine stretched in rows between columns or round around a group of plants that will hold peduncles.
- Hilling. For the first time, gladioluses are dug in soil to a height of about 10 cm at the stage of blooming 5 of this leaf. Thanks to the spudding, the soil above the root system warms up better, the plant will feed more actively, stable conditions will be created for the active growth and production of powerful peduncles, which will not require additional support.
The correct cut of gladiolus inflorescences affects not only their resistance in bouquets, but also on the process of tuber bud formation. Cutting of flower stalks in these plants should be carried out only in the evenings or early in the morning, when the plants do not lack moisture and do not suffer from heat.
You should not wait for the full bloom of all flowers on the inflorescence and its greatest decorative effect: it is necessary to cut the flower stalk when one lower flower is open or two lower buds are painted in the colors characteristic of the variety and are prepared to open. Such inflorescences completely bloom in the water, are perfectly transported and stand for an amazingly long time.
Cutting off the flower stalks of gladioli, remember that you should not affect the leaves and remove them along with inflorescences. Only those plants will be able to develop and grow normally, mature for the next season, for which no less than 4 full leaves have been preserved for the bulb, and ideally 7-10 leaves. Cut off the inflorescences only with a sharp knife, at an angle as low as possible above the leaf, but without asking it. In order to get a longer peduncle, you can not cut, but twist it, slightly cutting from the flat side of the stem, then breaking and bending the shoot and gently holding it just above the exit point from the leaf, carefully twisting it.
Trimming before storage is carried out only after digging. Even if you have already cut all the flower stalks, do not completely remove the greens, because it is very important for the process of bulb ripening.