Gladiolus leaves mottled and thickened? Streaked flowers? Could be a virus. Find out more, including what to do about them.
What is it?
One of a number of different plant viruses can infect gladiolus plants depending on plant variety and weather condition. Infections can range from severe to barely noticeable.
What does it look like?
Leaves may be mottled, yellowing, thickened or stiff. Flowers may be streaked or spotted. Affected plants may bloom early, have only partially open flowers which fade rapidly, or the entire plant may be dwarfed. Occasionally only the flower spike has stunted growth.
How does it manifest?
Viruses are spread by aphids, which feed on diseased plants and then transfer the virus to healthy plants with subsequent feedings. The virus increases year after year in the corms, and successive plantings of these diseased bulbs cause flowers poor in quality.
What can you do about it?
No chemical can control the virus. The only way to prevent spread of disease to healthy plants is to remove and destroy infected plants, and do not replant the infected corms. Keeping aphids under control will also prevent additional infections. Two of the viruses that infect gladiolus plants also are common to the bean and cucumber families, so avoid planting your gladiolus near these vegetables.