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Turquoise Puya

 

Gladiolus cardinalis

Gladiolus cardinalis

Tips on planting the bulbs

 

The bulbs should be planted in September/October (unless they happen to sprout sooner).  Until then, store them in a paper bag in cool spot.

Pot size -- Your bulbs will be happy in a pot 1 quart (1 liter) to 1 gallon (4 liter) in size.  The pot needs drainage holes.

Soil -- Use well draining soil.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil mixed with 1 part perlite or pumice.  An alternate mix is 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.

Planting the bulbs -- Plant them about 1.5 inches (4 cm) deep.  Place the bulbs at least 1 inch (3 cm) away from each other and from the side of the pot. 

 Water the soil lightly, so it is slightly moist throughout (not saturated), and keep it this moist until they sprout.  Keep the pot out of direct sun, and preferably around room temperature until they sprout.  When the bulbs sprout, start increasing the water and move the pot into sun.

Watering:  During the growing season, this Gladiolus likes moist soil and shouldn't be allowed to dry out.  It shouldn't be kept soggy however.  

Sunlight -- They appreciate mostly-sunny conditions.  In my experience, they can tolerate less sun in winter if they receive more sun in spring.  In warmer climates, it may be necessary to give some afternoon shade, and also keep the pot shaded.

Feeding -- The plants do not need a lot of fertilizer to be happy.  Feed once or twice during the growing season with a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients.  Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers after April, as this may inhibit flowering.

Winter care -- The plant grows throughout winter and needs protection from freezing temperatures then.

Dormancy care --  When the leaves start to die back in the summer, withhold all water, since the bulb is preparing for dormancy.  Once the leaves are brown, you may either pull the bulbs and store them in a paper bag until autumn, or leave them in their soil.  Keep the soil relatively dry until autumn or the bulbs may rot.   A small amount of moisture is okay, especially to keep the soil from becoming bone-dry.  Store the pot in a cool area (60-70F / 15-21C) until the fall.

 General tips about this plant

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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