Glads are a wonderful addition to any garden as we discussed in a recent column on this wonderful flower. There is so much information, though, so we want to devote a second column to glads.
Glads are more effective and easier to care for if they have their own exclusive bed in the garden. If grown for cutting, the glads can be planted in rows in the vegetable garden where they are easier to care for, including weeding.
Glads begin their growth from an underground stem called a corm. Each summer, the old corm shrivels and dries up. One or more corms are produced during the growing season, which are cured and stored over winter.
The quality of the corms determines the quality of the the blooms. Buy corms from a reputable source. Corms with high centers and that are plump are better than large, flat thin ones. The thicker the corm, the higher the quality of bloom.
Glads can be planted anytime from early May until mid-June. Spacing plantings one to two weeks apart will provide continuous bloom throughout the summer.
Glads can be planted either in rows or informally. For cut flowers, you can have rows 2 to 3 feet apart. For small home gardens, you can plant them 18 inches apart, says former North Dakota State University Extension horticulturalist Ron Smith.
In general, plant deeper in sandy soils and shallower in heavy soils. Deep planting anchors the stem and helps resist wind damage. You also can plant the glads against a chicken wire fence.
A word of caution: Be sure the corms are upright when planted.
Varieties should be labeled as you plant. If you don’t have the correct name, list the color. This will help you keep them separated when digging time arrives in autumn.
Colors such as white, yellow and pink are usually vigorous and may multiply faster than the dark colors such as purple, rose or smoky. If left alone, the lighter, more productive colors will eventually outnumber the darker ones. This may give the impression that the glads have “changed colors” to primary shades.
Lack of moisture can cause shorter spikes, smaller florets and smaller corms for next season. An inch of rain per week is needed. Mulches help conserve moisture and include straw and compost.
If thrips are a problem, dust plants with Sevin or similar powder. Thrips also can overwinter in corms, so dust them prior to storage. Thrips are minute, have wings and might be referred to as thunderflies, storm flies, corn flies and corn lice.