Plant Propagation Technique

Corms are solid objects, usually quite firm, instead of being formed of layers or scales like a true bulb. The method of growth is also entirely different. A true bulb may live indefinitely as a single unit or may increase by splitting itself up, but a mature corm actually withers and dies after a year of growth, being replaced by a new corm or corms that form on top of the old one but sometimes beneath or alongside it.

A corm is a shortened, fleshy, erect underground stem with inconspicuous scale-like leaves. It closely resembles and is often mistakenly identified as, a bulb (as the “bulbs” of Gladiolus and Crocus), but actually, it is distinguished by being more accurately a modified stem.

Line Drawing of a Corm

The stem character of bulbs is obscured by their very fleshy leaves. From the prominent terminal bud and smaller ones in the axils of its scale-like leaves, corms develop new plants, and often small, subsidiary corms are known as cormels. Gladiolus, Freesia, Tritonia, and Caladium all grow from corms.

Corms are frequently used to propagate a plant by digging them out of the ground, then cutting the corms into individual sections and replanting. Each section of the corm that has at least a single bud can usually generate a new corm.