Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gladiolus dalenii "Halloweenie"

This cultivar was grown from South African seeds and a selection of it marketed as "Halloweenie" by Plant Delights. It has very bright red and yellow flowers, but one serious fault--it does not bloom until very late in fall, hence the name "Halloweenie". This year I planted all the corms in a large pot and let it spike outside, then brought it into my classroom before frost threatened. The flowers were quite spectacular, and I did freeze some pollen to play with in my gladiolus hybridizing efforts for next year. I will cross it with other forms of dalenii that bloom in midsummer to see if I can get the color into them, so as to create a more useful plant of similar appearance for northern gardens. It multiplies readily, in fact some cormlets lifted themselves out of the pot on their long stolons, which are typical of G. dalenii. Hand pollinated flowers did not set seed, but that might be due to indoor conditions not being ideal, and in fact it was easier to let the plants go dormant after blooming, so they are now sleeping in their pot, waiting for spring to come.

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