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Name: Jacqui
Pacific Northwest
Jacqui
Aug 16, 2014 8:33 AM CST
Hi,

Last year we had about 100 Gladiolus in two raised beds. This year we have had about 5. Can anyone please give me an idea why this might have happened? We live in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you.

Jacqui


So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 16, 2014 9:48 AM CST
There are several rots that can affect glads as well as gophers, etc. Do you have gophers or any other type of critter that visits your garden? I do not know what zone you live in but many people have to lift their glads every year in order to protect them from the winter's effects.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 16, 2014 11:40 AM CST
So right OG. The PNW is zone 7 or 8, I think. At my mother's house in Vancouver, BC she had a very warm, protected south-facing bed where the glads would dependably come back year after year. Other places in the garden, they'd bloom wonderfully, the first year they were planted, then disappear.

So if you want to plant more glads, I'd either find the most protected south-facing area you can, then mulch them heavily in the fall so they won't freeze, or plan to lift them after the foliage ripens off, and store them indoors for the winter. In a raised bed, they are actually a little more exposed to cold, being as the air can cool the beds on all sides as well as from the top.

I'll sheepishly admit that as she got older, I stopped buying glads for Mum's garden, and would just buy the bunches of cut glads from the grocery store. They take a lot of time and effort for the short time they bloom, jmho.

They're also subject to a wide range of diseases, fungal woes and insect pests. Google "Gladiolus diseases" and you'll see. But I think most likely yours just died off from the cold.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Aug 16, 2014 12:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Jacqui
Pacific Northwest
Jacqui
Aug 17, 2014 5:41 PM CST
Thank you both for replying. We did have a colder than normal winter this year and we also have moles. Didn't see any mole holes in the raised beds but maybe they did dig there. We had lots of gladiola leaves but they didn't develop to normal size and then didn't bloom.

Thanks again for responding.

Jacqui
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 17, 2014 5:53 PM CST
Ahh, that's a different situation, Jacqui. They didn't actually die right off, then? That would be no leaves, nothing.

Gladiolus need to be fertilized and kept watered after they finish blooming (last summer) to make lots of healthy leaves that will re-generate the bulbs for this year. The leaves need to be left in place until they 'ripen' off, turn yellow or brown etc. It sounds like maybe they just made sub-standard bulbs and that accounts for leaves but no blooms.

My mother's glads in Vancouver were in the same bed with her roses, so even when the rest of the garden went to rack and ruin, that bed was watered, fertilized and cared for. Her bedroom window was right above it, so she could look out and see the roses and glads even after she no longer went outside without help.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 17, 2014 6:03 PM CST
It could also be that you lost the "mother bulbs" but have bulblets left. The "mother bulbs" (main bulbs) last just a few years here but are constantly being replaced with their babies (bulblets). The bulblets, in turn, will reach decent size within a couple years, bloom large for a few and then steadily decline and die starting the cycle all over. Because of this, I have to divide my glads every 3 or 4 years or the patches become much too thick. Granted, I am in a much warmer climate so I am pretty sure the cycle where you are is slower. @dyzzypyxxy , do you know off hand how long it takes for glads to form bulblets in the PNW?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 17, 2014 8:17 PM CST
Hm, no idea frankly @OldGardener . I never dug up any of the glads.

I'd just go and visit my mother for a week every few months, as we were living in Salt Lake City (or here in FL)as she declined. I'd spend the week messing with her garden of course, and for a while I'd plant new glads, but once I stopped the ones in the rose bed kept blooming for at least 5 years without being lifted or divided.

That would indicate to me that it's weather-related. That bed was at least a zone warmer than the rest of her garden. It was also the only area I would consistently amend with compost in spring, and mulch in fall. Otherwise the only gardening that was done was lawn mowing and a regular spring cleanup by her landscape guy.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 17, 2014 8:37 PM CST
Thanks, Elaine Smiling It appears, then, that the PNW cycle is considerably slower than here.

Jacqui, is there a way for you dig up a glad bulb and check its size? If it is considerably smaller than what you planted and there are several where you planted just one, then I would guess that the small glads you saw were bulbils. If it is a case of bulbils, you may still see the mother bulb in the center - it will look like it is in really poor condition (very old, large and worn out) and there may be bulbils still attached to it. I can try to find an example in my garden and photograph it if it would help.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Jacqui
Pacific Northwest
Jacqui
Aug 17, 2014 9:22 PM CST
Hi Old Gardener,

Yes, we can dig up one that has small leaves and also one with large leaves that has bloomed (and faded). I will let you know the size as soon as we do it. We did not plant any of them. We bought the house in 8/12 and moved in early 9/12. We are being surprised with all sort of beautiful flowers. The crocus started in late January and the roses bloomed through late November with many things in between so we had things blooming for most of the year. We also have many wonderful trees. We did have an arborist trim the trees last year. We had no idea how to do them and were told the Japanese Maples especially needed care by someone with experience. It is a very pretty property but nothing was edited (a term we learned at a seminar) so we are trying to learn about the different flowers, bushes, hedges, etc. so they will have proper care.

Our kitty, Paden, looks so much like your kitty that for a minute I thought I had somehow uploaded his picture by mistake. Paden is 11 and the sweetest cat. We have two others (Sophie and Maggie) that we love dearly but they don't match Paden in sweetness.

Thanks to you and Elaine for hanging in there with me regarding the gladiolus.

Jacqui
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Aug 18, 2014 7:24 AM CST
Congratulations on your new home. Your home sounds very lovely with so many wonderful blooming surprises!

Paden sounds much like Ed. Ed is the brightest and most loyal cat I have ever had. He is my 24/7 buddy.

I look forward to seeing what you discover with your glads. With them growing in your garden for an unknown amount of time, it may just be a simple case of needing some division or a good dose of fertilizer. Some of the glad pockets I dug up 2 years ago had 30 or 40 bubils in total - I was way too overdue in tending to them.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 18, 2014 11:48 AM CST
I've always treated glads as annuals in the PNW.
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Name: Jacqui
Pacific Northwest
Jacqui
Aug 19, 2014 12:45 PM CST
Hi Deb,

Thanks for the info. We live in Sequim.

Jacqui
Name: Jacqui
Pacific Northwest
Jacqui
Sep 2, 2014 6:54 PM CST
Hi Old Gardener,

Finally had a chance to dig up some of the gladiolus and there are bulbils attached. We dug up ones that had bloomed and faded and though they had bulbils they looked fine. We will remove the bulbils and replant them. Another question; we dug up some that had smaller leaves that were in an area of the garden that had no glads that bloomed and they were bulbils. Does that mean that at one time there were mother bulbs planted there and they died and left the bulbils? The reason I ask is that they appeared in rather odd place in the raised bed area for instance in the middle of one of the walkways.

We will dig up everything in the two raised beds to determine if there are dead mother bulbs with bulbils attached.

Paden sends his best to Ed.

Thanks for your help with this.

Jacqui
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Sep 2, 2014 8:07 PM CST
Yes, you are right. The mother bulb eventually breaks down and fades away entirely, leaving the babes to fill in the space. I tend to toss the mothers once they start looking rather ratty and exhausted. Your mother bulbs sound like they are still in great shape, though.

It is great that your glads have multiplied so well for you. Thumbs up And please let Paden know that Ed sends his best, too Smiling
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Sep 3, 2014 7:41 AM CST
I used to grow these in OH, where they do need to be lifted to save for winter (Z5,) and over the course of summer, there would be TONS of bulbils.

They're hardy here in AL, and can spread via seeds.

I may have a wrong stereotype in my head about PNW being really moist over winter, but if there's any truth to that, it may be a contributing factor to why they are less reliable, even though the zone number may be the same. Raised beds sound like an excellent spot/method if so.

If you happen to be using a weed'n'feed near/around beds, or lawn fertilizer alone, those can cause difficulties with blooms, with nearby plants just making a ton of fantastic foliage.
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