Gladioli are luxurious flowers that cannot fail to attract everyone's attention. It's just that caring for them is quite difficult and requires year-round attention of the gardener. In particular, the harvesting period is one of the most crucial stages in the cultivation of these noble flowers. After all, the correctly chosen timing of the harvesting of corms and the very procedure of cleaning and drying determine not only the safety of planting material during the winter, but also the very possibility of germination and flowering of gladioli next year.
Terms of cleaning gladioli
Gladioli are flowers that bloom quite late, in the second half of summer. Many late varieties can bloom even closer to autumn and September. But at the same time, the corms and the flowers themselves do not tolerate frost, therefore, they must be dug up for the winter and stored in a cool and relatively dry place before planting in the spring. Experienced flower growers know that it is necessary to prepare gladioli for harvesting in advance, but beginners may well allow them to bloom until the very frost, then quickly dig up and send for storage. In no case should this be done.
Attention! After flowering, different varieties of gladiolus are vital to stay in the ground for 30 to 50 days in order to gain strength for flowering next year.
If this is not done and the corms are dug out ahead of schedule, then they will not be able to ripen well and will not even rise next year.
But, on the other hand, one should not forget about frosts, which can come in the fall at any time and destroy all flowers and even corms that are in the ground. Of course, small frosts from 0 ° to -5 ° C are not yet terrible for corms, especially if the plantings are additionally insulated by covering them with any special material. But the onset of a period of stable cold weather, when the average air temperatures drop below -5 ° C, already pose a danger to gladioli.
Therefore, on average, the time for harvesting gladioli should be calculated based on the local weather conditions in your region. For example, if persistent cold weather occurs in your area in mid-October, then gladioli should be harvested in the first half of October. If we subtract 40 days from this period, it turns out that it is necessary to cut the peduncles of all gladioli at the end of August, before September 1, regardless of how many flowers have already bloomed by this time. In the southern regions, of course, the timing can shift significantly towards the winter period.
Early and mid-early varieties are the first to be harvested, the corms of which ripen within 30-40 days after flowering or cutting off the inflorescences. In late varieties of gladiolus, ripening can take 45-50 days, so they are harvested last.
Among the varieties of the same harvesting time, it is necessary to dig out the largest and most mature corms first. Gladioli grown from babies (tubers) that may not have formed flowers in the current season are harvested last to give them more time to accumulate nutrients.
This sequence is explained by the fact that in plants obtained from mature corms, after the maturation of the babies, both the roots of the first order and the mother bulb and the roots of the second order begin to die off faster. And this, in turn, increases the likelihood of Fusarium and other fungi penetrating into gladioli. The onset of rainy and cold weather in late summer and autumn only contributes to the spread of diseases.
Important! All other things being equal, they try to remove the first varieties of gladioli of a dark color (purple, cherry, red), as well as blue, since it is noticed that it is they who lose immunity to fungal diseases before others.
Of course, sometimes it is a shame to remove peduncles from young plants, since often new varieties are bought in the form of large children who are ready to release the first flower arrow only by the end of summer. If you need to see the first flower and check the correctness of the variety, then the arrow can be removed not completely, but leaving one bud below. When it blooms, it is quickly removed. In general, it is advisable to remove peduncles in gladioli immediately after flowering, since, being left on the plant, they lengthen the maturation of the corms by 10-15 days.
Cleaning gladioli is best done in dry weather. When you dig up gladioli in damp and cool conditions, they can lose many children. Some of them are able to successfully winter, especially in the southern regions, and next year it will be difficult to determine exactly which variety has sprouted.
For cleaning gladioli, a shovel, a pitchfork with wide teeth, or even garden scoops with long handles are used. The pitchfork is very convenient to use, but for those varieties of gladioli where the babies are easily separated from the corms, it is advisable to use scoops to reduce the loss of babies during digging.
Digging in the bushes of gladioli, they simultaneously check how the labels with information about the varieties have been preserved, and the compliance of the variety is checked according to the spring planting plan. Plants are carefully removed from the ground and lightly shaken off the ground and children over polyethylene or tarpaulin. Sick and damaged corms are immediately set aside in order to burn them later. At the same time, all the children are carefully selected and laid out together with large bulbs according to varieties.
Advice! If the damage is small, and the variety is very valuable, then you can try to cut out the damaged area near the corm with a sharp knife and process the cut with a saturated solution of potassium permanganate or brilliant green.
The stems of mature corms are cut off, leaving a very small stump (0.5-0.8 cm). This short pruning helps to protect gladioli from getting inside the thrips, which tend to move closer to the base of the bulbs by autumn.
In large, mature corms, the old mother corms, as well as all the roots, are removed immediately. This reduces the spread of diseases and also speeds up the drying time of the planting material.
At the time of harvesting, the mother corm breaks off relatively easily. If for some reason this was not done, then after a few days it will be difficult to separate it and it is necessary to wait a few more weeks for a protective cork layer to form upon drying.
In young bulbs grown from children, the roots are not cut off, but only shortened in order to remove them only during spring preparation for planting.
After removing all excess corms, they are thoroughly washed from contamination and treated in a solution of potassium permanganate (10 g per 10 l of water) for 25 minutes. In addition to potassium permanganate, you can use any fungicide, for example, Maxim.
If the weather is sunny and warm at the time of harvesting, then it is advisable to dry the corms decomposed by varieties for 1-3 days in the open air. After that, gladioli must be dried for two weeks at a temperature not lower than + 20 ° С, and preferably + 25 ° + 30 ° С. This can be done by placing the corms boxes near the heaters. At least once a day, it is advisable to stir up the corms of gladioli in order to ensure uniform heating and ventilation.
At the last stage of drying, the corms are placed in loose form in a room with a temperature of + 20 ° + 22 ° C and stored there for about a month. Only then can the gladiolus bulbs be stored. If the corms are dried enough, then you do not need to remove the protective scales until spring. Moreover, they can play the role of protection from various external influences during storage.
Only adult corms of gladioli need good drying. Children are separated immediately after harvesting, put into bags according to varieties and almost immediately put into storage in the lower compartment of the refrigerator.
Advice! For the prevention of diseases, peeled cloves of garlic, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties, are placed in bags with gladioli bulbs during storage.
Planting material of gladioli should also be stored after drying in a dry and frost-free place at temperatures from + 3 ° С to + 9 ° С. Once a month, corms must be sorted out and separated those on which signs of disease are noticed so that they do not have time to infect the rest.
Subject to all the above recommendations, the corms of gladioli will perfectly survive until the spring planting and in the next season they will delight you with abundant flowering.