Can these gladioli be saved?
September 20, 2019 7:49 PM   Subscribe

If glads (the flower) are cut back before they bloom, will they bloom again next year or should I just consider the corms a lost cause? What about flowers planted late in the season?

As I understand things, after the flower is cut (or wilts/dies), the stem should be cut back and left in place until fall to rejuvenate the corms for next year. Unfortunately, I screwed up my garden plans re glads, beginning with the fact that I completely forgot to set out the bulbs last spring. I remembered them in mid-July and planted 150 total—50 at a time, 10 days apart.

The first set is currently in bloom and I plan to leave them in place until it gets cold, so another month or so. Will that be enough time?

The other two sets were in a bed that I decided to use for irises. So, I cut those back last month before they bloomed (too tall to move intact) and moved them to a spot where they can remain undisturbed until cold weather hits. Any chance these are worth digging up and saving?

I've googled this for hours and I haven't found a single word about issues related to setting out glads relatively late. Apparently, the whole world is better organized than I am.
posted by she's not there to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
The short answer is... maybe? There's a lot of storage in those corms. Flowering is usually a energy intensive activity for plants, so I wouldn't worry about cutting off bloom as much as late planting not producing enough food for storage due to less time to photosynthesize. I tend to think they will be fine, perhaps not all of them will bloom as vigorously.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:25 PM on September 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I’d dig them all, the worst that can happen is they don’t all survive. Maybe pack them in groups of 25 so if you get any rotting the whole batch doesn’t spoil. Try to check the corms a few times over the winter for any going soft and remove those.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 10:51 AM on September 21, 2019

I ignored mine completely for ten years and they always came back. Glads are tough. I’d leave the where they are and see what happens.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:06 PM on September 21, 2019

So glad I asked—I'm happily surprised at the responses. I was expecting near universal agreement that the corms are a lost cause. I'm going to save them for next spring. I've already prepared the bed, so I won't forget them next year.

Per mygothlaundry's experience, I'm going to move a handful to that bed immediately and leave them in place (well mulched) for the winter, just to see if any survive a midwest winter.
posted by she's not there at 9:41 PM on September 21, 2019

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