Asked on Jun 17, 2015

Help! Why are my gladiolus flowers wilting?

by Donna
I planted gladiolus bulbs for the first time this spring (I live in Zone 7). I added fertilizer to the soil (chosen by the salesperson at my local home improvement store) and planted my bulbs. I was excited when they came up quickly and last week I saw my first signs of the beginning of blooms. But before they bloomed, the buds started wilting and dying! Why? Do they need more water? Less water? More fertilizer? I was so looking forward to seeing these plants flower. Help!
  7 answers
  • Mickie Mickie on Jun 17, 2015
    looks to me like that shaft of flowers is done year, bigger and better blooms, but its done for 2015. Cut the flower stalk down, leave the leaves, the bulb will grow bigger and in a year or two will pit out 'baby' bulbs. this is just a young bulb, so not spectacular - yet-
    • Donna Donna on Jun 17, 2015
      @Mickie Thanks! These flowers never really bloomed. The buds just started to turn colors, then wilted and died. At least I know I might get bigger and better flowers next year. Thanks for your help!
  • Mic M Mic M on Jun 17, 2015
    I live in Ca, and we are cutting back on water, so flowers are the first to go... this is exactly what mine look like,all ready to bloom, and then died. I used to water every day during bloom season. I think you need more water.
    • Donna Donna on Jun 17, 2015
      @Mic M Thanks. We were getting rain every day or so, so I had stopped watering them but I think I waited too long. I'll go back to watering and hope the others will bloom. Sorry to hear about your water storage, that must be extremely difficult - but sounds like it's necessary. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!
  • Marcia Marcia on Jun 17, 2015
    Check for brown streaks on the unopened flowers. Might be a sign of Thrips.
    • Donna Donna on Jun 17, 2015
      @Marcia Yikes! I'll check them. Thanks for the suggestion!
  • Melissa K Melissa K on Jun 17, 2015
    I live in South Carolina also, and have found the weather conditions to be horrendous for some fine plants. When my gladioli did this one year, I found they were under attack and had to use Sevin dust. I only add lots of water when they are blooming they seem so self sufficient. But I have never, ever fertilized them, maybe the soil was all they needed. But we are in a drought here in central SC with triple-digit heat, sometimes fertilizer doesn't do well under such heat. Mickie is right though, wait til net year and maybe they will fight off whatever they were too young to beat this year, but maybe hold off on the fertilizer. Just a thought...Sometimes I just let my plant go deeper underground to search for their own moisture too. Dry topsoil is sometimes just a lure to overwater...ha ha!
    • Donna Donna on Jun 17, 2015
      @Melissa K Wow, sounds like it could be lots of variables. I'll try to do the best I can with them this year, and hope for better results next year. Thanks for your help! I appreciate it!
  • Shelley Shelley on Jun 18, 2015
    I live in zone 5A and the gladiolus are mostly done for the year...there are a few still flowering but for the most part all maybe your got a late start and the temps got to warm so they decided to be done for the year too....
    • Donna Donna on Jun 18, 2015
      @Shelley You might be right. I was really looking forward to seeing these beauties bloom. Hopefully next year! Thanks!!
  • Lois Martin Lois Martin on Jun 18, 2015
    If you have a local ag extension office close by take your one of your plants in and get it diagnosed. They usually do this for free. Then next year you can be prepared for things like this. In the mean time read this and see if there is info that will help.
    • Donna Donna on Jun 18, 2015
      @Lois Martin Thanks for this great information. I'll also look into my local office. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks so much!
  • Greg Esten Greg Esten on Jul 16, 2015
    My glads are doing the same. They were coming up so good and fast. Now they are turning yellow and starting to wilt. Also live in zone 7...:-(
    • Donna Donna on Jul 16, 2015
      @Greg Esten Hi Greg! I think I found the cause of my problem. I think some of my glads got too much water and maybe the bulbs starting rotting. We realized that the planter we had put them in (which was built by the previous owners of our house) was lined with plastic and was probably not draining. I think when we got a lot of rain in the early summer, our glads got too wet and therefore died off. I wish you better luck with yours :)