Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Flowering Plants Grown From Corms

Last week we talked about the different types of "bulbs", including corms, which are about the size of a bulb and very similar. When buying corms try to get ones that look full, rather than those that are flattened and very dry.

Flowers that come from corms include:

Brodiaea (clusterlily)

Today I have a few quick tips on a few of the corms on the list.

Gladiola: I grow gladiolas every year, and love the beautiful colors. They are fairly inexpensive to buy as well. It's important you wait until ALL frost has passed, and the soil has warmed before planting. Work the soil up and plant the glad corms about 4 inches deep. I plant mine next to a wooden fence because sometimes they do need to be held up if it's too windy. Don't let the soil dry out completely, but don't keep the ground soggy either. Mulch can help keep the soil from drying out. Glads prefer full sun, and don't do well is shade.

Liatris: Blazing Star is a tall thin flower with many small, usually lavender colored blooms that open from the top down. Butterflies love liatris, which is one reason it's so popular. It's also very drought tolerant, and hardy to Zone 5. It can be grown from seed or you can buy corms and plant them in the spring for summer bloom. They are very easy to grow, in a fairly fertile soil, where they aren't soggy. Plant the corms in loose soil about 4 inches deep, water and mulch. Liatris also prefer full sun.

Crocosmia: Is also known as Montbretia, and is tropical in appearance with bright colors in oranges and yellows much like Cannas. The corms can be planted in the spring after all frost has passed for a summer bloom. They are hardy to Zone 5 when planted in a more sheltered spot and mulched. Like Liatris and glads the soil needs to be fertile and worked so it's loose. It should never be soggy nor so dry it cracks. Add compost to the soil to loosen it before planting the corms. Many gardeners combine them with liatris.

All three of these flowers are easy to grow, and a welcome addition to any garden, whether in the city or the country.