What to do about creases in gladiola leaves?

TheGardenLady received this question from Jim.

The leaves on a number of my gladiolas have developed a bend or a crease, often when they are nearing blooming, from which they never recover. This is so maddening! Yep, at about the halfway point in the long leaves, they just droop over, usually developing a crease, and the plant never blooms. ‘I’ve actually tried to “splint” these plants, to no avail. This usually occurs when the leaves are forming that “fan” shape from the bottom upward, when the plant is about to form buds.It’s like “so close, yet so far”. Would appreciate some input.

Though I hate planting bulbs each year, I love gladiolas and am willing to do the extra work finding spaces to put them in my garden.

But like all plants glads can have diseases. Since TheGardenLady has not seen your plants, from your description it sounds like the corms of your plants are infected with what is referred to as Fusarium rot and yellows.

Here is what the University of Minnesota Extension has to say about the disease:

Corms infected with the fungus  oxysporum f.sp gladioli may produce symptomatic plants or develop dry rot in storage. Plants growing from infected corms may develop arching young stalks or premature yellowing of leaves and faded flower colors. Often plants are stunted and fail to bloom. The corm rot, not always visible externally, is often restricted to the corm base. When the corm is split in half, there may be dark-colored streaks that extend from the corm base through the flesh. In storage, corms may develop dark spots on the surface or in severe cases the entire center may be black and decayed. Management includes removal of infected plants and corms with obvious decay. Follow good harvesting and storage procedures. Fungicides may be used to dust corms before planting. The use of high nitrogen fertilizers tends to increase corm rot development.

If this description fits what you are observing with your plants, dig them up and discard. Do not compost. If this description does not fit what is happening to your plants, take the entire sick plant, include the corm, to your local Master Gardener office for them to ID the disease.

Next year if you decide to plant more gladiolas, this GardenLady would buy new corms from a reliable source and plant these new corms in different locations than were planted this year.

One source for Gladiola bulbs* that looks interesting that this GardenLady wants to try is Heirloom Gladiolus Bulbs.

*corms are referred to as bulbs by most people

Should One Buy or Harvest Seeds?

morning glory seeds by oceandesetoiles

TheGardenLady received this question from someone called the Chicago Urban Gardener:

 I recently read and enjoyed your article on morning glories, in which you describe how you start the plant from seed. I was curious to know, however, whether you buy your seeds or harvest them from the previous year’s plants (I know that morning glories quite often self-seed). If the latter, how does one harvest and store morning glory seeds for planting next season? Do you have any general recommendations for collecting and storing seeds from annuals and perennials?

When I was a child we always collected the marigold and zinnia seeds and a few vegetable seeds. And we were scrupulous in digging up gladiola bulbs to replant the following spring. We were very frugal.

I do collect some seeds but not many. Propagating by seeds is fun, educational and a challenge. But it is not something that I really do. My gardening emphasis is on having flowers, not seeds. Toward that end, I deadhead flowers to force more flowers to bloom. This means I try NOT  to allow many plants to go into seed. Of course, at the end of the growing season you often find seeds even if you were not trying to produce seeds.

Continue reading “Should One Buy or Harvest Seeds?”

Gladiolus Leaves Turning Yellow

Plant turning yellow is an early symptom of Fusarium
Plant turning yellow is an early symptom of Fusarium

TheGardenLady received this question from Diane.

I planted some Gladiolus bulbs in the spring and they were coming up beautifully. Today I noticed the leaves on one of them were turning yellow. I haven’t had any bloom yet but the stalks were very green and hardy. What can I do for this plant? Why would it have turned yellow?

Gladiolus grow best in loamy soil with proper drainage. Glads do not grow well in soil that is too wet. Soggy, compacted soil hampers root growth, diverts moisture and locks up plant food. Glads need plenty of water. Lack of water inhibits spike growth, flower development and corm growth. Watering at planting will help develop a good root system. Provide at least one inch of water each week to ensure good growth, making sure the water soaks 6-8 inches into the soil.

Not having seen your gladiolus, I cannot give the most accurate reason for why your one gladiolus is turning yellow. Gladiolus are very hardy and have few problems. But all living things do HAVE problems.

You may have bought a corm, or what you call a gladiolus bulb, that was deceased. There are a few root rots or corm rots that fit the description of gladiolus getting yellowing leaves.

From the University of Minnesota extension they write,

Stromatinia Corm Dry Rot – This corm disease, caused by the fungus Stromatinia gladioli, is found during periods of cool, wet weather. Leaves produced from infected corms turn yellow prematurely and die. Small, red-brown, sunken lesions develop on the corms. When an infected corm is cut in half, dark streaks can be seen radiating out from the core to the surface of the corm. The fungus produces sclerotia (over-wintering structures) in infected tissue. Often plants are infected in groups as the fungus spreads from the original infected plant. To manage this disease, discard infected corms, plant only healthy corms in well-drained soils and in the fall harvest corms during dry weather. T. Do not replant gladiolus corms in infected soil.

Or another corm rot described in a professional gladioli website is Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.gladioli . During the growing season, leaves turn yellow prematurely and stems collapse. During storage, corms develop a reddish-brown dry rot. Diseased corms produce spindly, weak plants the following year.

Because corms are inexpensive, it would see best to pull up and discard the one plant that looks yellow and hope that if there is a disease, it has not spread to your other gladioli. Never plant another gladioli in the spot where the infected corm was.