The late summer garden gets a visual boost when peacock orchids (Gladiolus murielae) dazzle with delicate white-petaled flowers accented by purple centers. This corm, actually in the Iridaceae family despite its exotic name, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, with flower spikes that support anywhere from two to 10 long-lasting flowers. If you decide to plant peacock orchid corms as a part of your spring gardening tasks, take the time to prepare the soil properly before planting, which paves the way for a strong blooming season.
Things You'll Need
- Garden fork
Plant peacock orchids in the spring as soon as the soil temperature reaches 50 F.
Select a site in full sun with loamy, humus-rich soil that drains well. Picking a spot that's shielded from the wind will help to protect the flowers when they bloom in mid to late summer.
Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost on a cleared garden bed. Dig the compost into the bed, mixing it with the soil 12 inches deep. Use a garden fork to thoroughly blend the soil.
Use a small trowel to dig a hole 2 to 6 inches deep for each corm, adjusting the depth to 2 to 3 inches for smaller corms and 5 to 6 inches for larger ones, advises the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Space the planting holes 4 to 6 inches apart. Arrange peacock orchids in natural-looking groups of five to create a graceful, informal look.
Set one corm in each planting hole with the slightly pointed end up. Look for the growing point or shoot emerging from the top of the corm.
Push soil over the corms and smooth it out with the palm of your hand. Avoid compacting the soil over the corms as you work through the garden bed.
Water the entire bed right after planting. Use a sprinkler or soaker hose to moisten the soil 6 to 8 inches down.
Maintain consistently moist soil after planting and through the spring and early-summer growing season. Watering frequency varies, depending on your specific soil conditions and the weather. To determine how often to water, insert your index finger 1 inch into the soil and water if it feels dry.