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By Mobetes

United States Us

Hi I planted six Gladiators all sprouted to some degree, two bloomed briefly about 3" from the ground now all are tip wilting. Should I wait another season to see if they rebloom or should I replant this fall?



Sorry, Guest, I have no idea what you mean by Gladiators - it's not something we grow over here, unless we call them something else, which is highly possible.

9 May, 2010


If you are talking about Allium 'Gladiator', they may not have gotten enough chilling, in spite of the ferocious frost that went through your area last winter, to cause it to bloom so short. Chilling is a product of cumulative hours of soil temperatures below 45 deg. F. A short blast of frost may not chill it sufficiently if the rest of the winter is mild enough. They just barely get enough chilling in my area, and parts of Louisiana have even warmer soil temps in winter than we have. Check your USDA climate zone with the local cooperative extension: zone 9a works, 9b is iffy, and 10 is not likely to work.
Tip wilting would be normal this time of year, since they are going dormant for the summer, now. The leaves, however, should have gotten at least 18" long over the winter and spring. If they were also stunted, you want to look at such factors as planting time--preferably between Halloween and Thanksgiving--nutrient deficiencies, especially potash, or root eating pests, such as wireworm or grubs.

10 May, 2010


Thanks guys,
I was speaking of Alliums and they were in the ground before this year's hard chill. My neighbor has a smaller variety, that are ending their blooming cycle. By no means did any of my bulbs sprout 18" leaves. At best only 10" to nubs. Question: would it be best to redo my bed this fall or see what next season brings with these alliums?

16 May, 2010


Mobetes, that's what I was talking about. The bulbs may not have gotten enough chilling in spite of that big frost, especially if they were planted after Thanksgiving. If I remember correctly, that big freeze was in January, wasn't it? If they were just planted a week or two befgore the freeze, they may not have had time to grow a full root system before growth started, which is likely to stunt both leaves and flowers. If that is what happened, and the bulbs are just left in the ground, you will get more and bigger leaves next winter, but you may not get much bloom until spring of 2012, because the leaves of one year are what feed the flowers of next year.

Other things to check: were the bulbs plump and white when you planted them? Shriveled, moldy , or mealybug-infested bulbs may survive, but they will take at least another year to thrive.
What kind of soil were they planted in? Allium 'Gladiator' likes a sandy, fast-draining soil with relatively little organic matter. Too much organic matter in the form of compost, mulch, planting mix, or some forms of "topsoil" underground, will stunt the growth over the winter, and may kill the bulbs over the summer. If you have to transplant the bulbs to fix this, wait until all of the leaves have dried to dig them up.
What kind of feeding did they get? For good leaves this year, and better blooms next year, feed lightly with a moderate nitrogen, low phosphate, and moderate potash plant food, such as alfalfa meal (3-1-2), as long as the leaves have any green left.
Were there any signs of pests? If the leaves had spots or streaks of brown, white, or reddish color, pests and diseases may have been working on the roots and bulbs. It may be worthwhile digging up the worst bulb or two, and looking for signs of rot, chewing, or more mealybugs.

Sorry! I look back on what I've written, and I see a miserable pedant! Kind of like shotgun gardening advice. I hope it's at least useful in diagnosing the problem, and preventing it in the future!

16 May, 2010

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