Gladiolus From Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Columbia, SC
Question by tracy25
June 19, 2000
This may seem like a silly question, but how do gladiolus grow from seeds? I thought that they reproduced by the corms' multiplication. Further, I have never seen the seeds for sale, only bulbs; today I noticed that my glads have started producing seed pods and I was wondering whether I could harvest the seeds and plant them. I have never heard of doing this though. I understand that the seeds might not be viable; is this because they are hybrids? Are irises and daylilies the same?

I also grow daylilies, and I have heard that sometimes they will grow side shoots that can be planted to grow new plants. Is this true, and if so how does it happen and why? I was just wondering how these processes work.
thank you for your help and your very informative site!

Answer from NGA
June 19, 2000


You certainly can collect the seeds that bulb flowers produce and plant them; it's not often done because it can take between three and five years for a seed raised bulb to flower. Most gardeners don't have the patience! With most species the seed capsules are easily seen. Watch the ripening capsules carefully and remove them as they begin to turn brown and split. Store in paper bags in a cool, dry place until time to sow. Autumn is the best time to sow seeds of most hardy bulbs. Sow on top of a mixture of seed starting mix to which you've added one-quarter (by volume)coarse sand. Just cover the seed with a thin, even layer of soil mix (just deep enough to conceal the seed). Top-dress with 1/2 inch layer of sand, then label with name and date. Plunge the seed pot in damp sand or gravel and water as required to keep the soil moist. As the weather cools you'll want to place a coldframe over the top of the pots, removing it in the spring when the weather warms. When the seedlings are about two years old you can transplant them into individual pots.

Daylilies grow from tuberous roots that tend to multiply without any effort on the gardener's part. You can dig and divide the clumps every few years to increase your stock of daylilies.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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