Growing gladiolus is comparatively easier than other flowers. And commercial gladiolus farming is possible in a small area of land. This article includes a detailed guide to growing gladiolus with plantation, care, and management.
Basically, gladiolus is a commercial flower crop. The flower has good demand in bouquet and decoration purpose. The word ‘gladiolus’ came from the Latin word ‘gladius’. It means sword. Due to its sword-like
leaves, it is also popular as sword lily.
The scientific name of gladiolus is Gladiolus Dalenii. And it belongs to the Iridaceae family. It is a very popular flowering plant. Additionally, it processes magnificent inflorescence with a variety of colors. It is suitable for planting in borders, bed and is used as a cut flower.
Actually, gladiolus is native to Africa. And you can find almost 200 species of which 92-93% have originated in Africa. Generally, gladiolus comes in the multicolored varieties. And the flower holds a strong position in the cut flower market.
Some of the major gladiolus producing countries are Poland, the United States, Brazil, France, Italy, Australia, Holland, Bulgaria, India, and Israel.
Economic Importance of Growing Gladiolus
Gladiolus is one of the important Bulbous plants which. Generally, the flowers come with beautiful flower spikes. Additionally, it comes with brilliant colors, attractive shapes, varying sizes, excellent keeping quality.
The gladiolus is ideal both for garden and floral decoration. The florets open in sequence over a longer duration and hence has a good keeping quality of cut spike. It is ideal as a cut flower, very good for beds, herbaceous border, for making bouquets and does well in pots.
Among the different bulbous plants, the gladiolus top the list in its beauty, glamour keeping quality, various colors and shades, shapes, hence it is called as “Queen of Bulb”. Hence, the flower has good demand in both the domestic and international market.
Things to Consider in Growing Gladiolus Commercially
- First of all, you will need to determine the planting time carefully. Generally, the planting time varies depending on your location.
- Commercial gladiolus cultivation demands proper marketing avenues. So, you must identify the market demand prior to starting planting.
- Test the soil to understand the nutrient deficiency properly. It will help you in planning fertilizer application.
Best Varieties for Growing Gladiolus
Actually, you can find a wide range of varieties in the market. However, the commercially important ones are White Friendship, Pink Friendship, Rose Supreme, Her Majesty, Peter Pears, Oscar, Eurovision etc.
Actually, the variety plays an important role in the commercial gladiolus farming. So, you must select the varieties having attractive color and a large number of florets per spike. Also, you will need to consider the multiplication ability and field resistance to diseases and pests.
For cut flower purpose the spike length (around 1 meter), number of florets (more than 16) number of florets open at a time (6-7), size of the florets (10 cm and more) good attractive colour, keeping quality on the plant and in the vase and good multiplication ability of corms and cormlets are the main features for selection of the variety.
Agroclimatic Condition for Growing Gladiolus
Gladiolus grow and flower best in full sun. Gladiolus corms will flower in part shade, but the colors will not be as vivid as when planted in full sun, and the plant won’t grow quite as well. Generally, the subtropical and temperate climatic conditions are suitable. The crop performs well under a temperature range of 27 – 30°C. It requires full exposure to sunlight and performs well with long day conditions of 12 to 14-hour photoperiod.
Suitable Soil for Growing Gladiolus
Generally, gladiolus prefers sandy loam soils. Additionally, you must select a well-drained soil with irrigation facilities. Also, you must prepare the field well up to a depth of 15-20 cm. In northern plains after the rainy season, 4-5 plowing is desirable for preparation of field. Before planting of corms the field should be irrigated and then two plowing is sufficient.
Growing Gladiolus Basic Steps
Propagation & Planting
Commercial propagation is through corms. You can store the corms at 3 to 7°C for 3 months or treat with Ethrel (1000ppm) or GA3 (100ppm) or Thiourea (500 ppm) for breaking the corm dormancy. For planting, you can follow the ridges and furrows system. Plant the corms 5-7 cm deep in the soil. Also, you can increase the space between corms in large-sized corms.
You can apply well rotten cow dung, leaf mold or compost. Generally, you can apply the best quality organic manures about a month earlier in the field before planting of gladiolus. Additionally, you must plan for chemical fertilizer application according to the soil test report of the field.
You must provide the right irrigation to keep the soil moist. Basically, you must maintain the sufficient moisture in the soil at the time of planting. The critical period for a number of florets/spike is from sprouting to full extension of the third leaf.
Generally, the gladiolus is prone to a number of diseases. However, with proper management and care, you can reduce the incidence. Dip the corms after harvesting in 0.2% solution (Bavistin/Benlate) for half an hour.
Depending upon the variety, size of corms, environment, and soil fertility, you can harvest the gladiolus flowers after 65-70 days of planting.
The spikes may be cut close to the base, but above the 4-5 leaves with a sharp knife or scissors, after the first floret on the spike has opened. Soon after the cutting, you must place the spikes in a vase containing water if you want to use the flowers for decoration purpose.
However, if you want to sell as cut flowers then you must harvest even before the opening of the first floret, preferably when the basal florets just show the color. The cutting of the gladiolus flowers is usually done early in the morning when they are more crisp and fresh. Store the flowers at a cool temperature for hardening before sending to the market, as it will increase the vase life.
For growing gladiolus next time you can store the corms for further use. Treat them with fungicide and store in shade for a few days.