The Q&A Archives: Acidanthera

Question: Can I plant Acidanthera bulbs in pots to give them a head start on a short growing season? Are they a perennial bulb? If so, will they come back up again the following year if just left in pots for an indoor houseplant? I've been noticing lovely pots of tulips and crocus in the plant stores of late, if I wanted to try this do you have to plant the bulbs in the pots in the fall just like their outdoor counterparts?

Answer: Acidanthera is another name for Gladiolus callianthus. This is a perennial with long-tubed, fragrant flowers that bloom in summer. It makes an excellent border or pot plant. The plants grow about 3' tall. They can be left outdoors in zones 8-10. In colder climates they need to be lifted and stored over the winter months. You can force the bulbs to grow and bloom indoors, but at the end of the season the foliage will die back and the corm will go into a resting state over the winter months. In the spring it can be planted again and will sprout new foliage and flowers.

Since glads are summer bloomers the corms should be planted in the spring. You can plant in pots, but you'll still need to lift and store the corms at the end of the season rather than keep them in pots indoors (where it will be too warm). After the foliage yellows and dies, cut it back, lift the corms, and store them in dry peat moss or sawdust in a cool, dark area such as an unheated garage.


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