Summer Beauty: Amaryllis and Gladiolus
Kick off the festive season with the radiance of two of summer's most dazzling floral wonders – amaryllis and gladiolus. Amaryllis, scientifically known as Hippeastrum, packs dynamite in its compact stature, reaching up to 40cm in height. Glads, on the other hand, offer tall and graceful beauty, reaching heights of up to 1m or more. Both these blooms offer unique possibilities in garden landscaping, allowing you to unleash your creativity in showcasing their presence in your space.
Amaryllis steals the spotlight in solo pot displays, creating a stunning impact. For an extra burst of vibrancy, opt for a larger pot featuring amaryllis of various colours and sizes, delivering a show that will leave you wooed. A little extra effort at planting time really will create a wow factor in your home and garden. With proper care, these bulbs become a gift that keeps on giving, returning each year. To maintain year-round colour, intersperse smaller winter bulbs between them or enhance the pot with small, colourful annuals or evergreen plants.
Amaryllis adore the sunny side of life, although some afternoon shade is beneficial. Plant them with their necks above the soil, 10cm apart. Water your plants after planting and then give the roots 10 days to stabilise before watering again. Regular feeding after planting ensures that, once the blooms fade, the bulbs store extra food and nutrients for the following season's flowers. Watering can commence right through to the end of April. Allow the leaves to gently fade before lifting, alternatively you may leave your bulbs in the ground. In May, the bulbs will enter dormancy and you can stop watering completely. When the warm weather returns, it will signal the growth phase and the unravelling of new blooms.
As your amaryllis collection grows you may want to relocate them from a container to a garden bed instead. Mass planting of amaryllis offers a stunning effect and can be achieved even amongst shrubs, trees and other plants. This ensures an exciting burst of summer colour year after year.
Gladioli will add an air of indigenous magic to your summer garden. Affectionately referred to as glads, these blooms will most certainly make you smile as their flowers unfurl. They show off their looks best at the back of a mixed perennial border and are most attractive in large single-colour groups.
Watering is vital to the successful growth of gladiolus. The sub-soil must be kept continually moist during the growing season. If your glads are grown in a spot that is prone to wind, you may need to stake them to keep them strong and stable. When cutting for the vase, you can snip the stem 20cm above ground level. This will leave sufficient foliage for the corm to keep growing.
If you are strapped for space, don’t let the towering appearance of glads intimidate you. They can be grown in pots too, so don’t be afraid to think outside the border. You can make a glorious gladiolus display using a single colour or a mix of them. Make sure to add living mulch, in the form of small flowering annuals, to the container for greater impact.
Go beyond the norm for an exhibit of flowers that stuns. Whether you favour glads or amaryllis, or you want to grow both, let your creativity shine through.