Growing Gladiolus: All You Need To Know

Growing gladiolus seems like a great plan for your garden. This classic perennial is quite popular for its tall flower spikes.

You can also know gladiolus from its large, colorful blooms. Likewise, it is such a perfect choice for summer bouquets.

If you are planning to have it in your space, we will be giving away all the things you need to know before you begin the planting.

These plants are perfect in warm weather during the summer season.

Importantly, learn how to grow this flower. When it is blooming time, you will love the spectacular view.


Choosing the Right Corms

Larger corms grow into bigger plants and produce more impressive flowers. Longfield Gardens sells only plump, 12/14 cm gladiolus corms, which outperform smaller, 10/12 corms.
Choosing Gladiolus Corms

To grow an impressive gladiolus anywhere you have planned, start with a better bulb.

Consider some things before planting. Initially, ensure to have the corms that are firm, large, and plump.

Hence, the larger the size the taller the spike would be.

The height would affect the number of florets that would grow per spike. Obviously, it would become more spectacular.

Furthermore, the large ones will typically bloom for up to 15 days ahead of the medium and smaller size.

Once again, the larger is the better.

The Right Condition for Gladiolus

Gladiolus grow and flower best in full sun. Gladiolus corms will flower in part shade, but the colors will not be as vivid as when planted in full sun, and the plant won't grow quite as well.
Right Condition for Gladiolus

You will need a plan for success in growing gladiolus plants. Give them the sun they need. These flowers grow best in full sun, but the partial shade is fine too.

In zones 7-10, gladiolus flowers are winter hardy. In the colder zone, the growing time will be annuals.

That is probably because the corms get dug up in the fall and get replanting in the next spring season.

Start growing gladiolus from spring through early summer. Approximately, it will bloom after 90 days of planting.

Where to Plant

Gladiolus are native to South Africa and yield the largest and most colourful flowers when planted where they will receive full sun.
Best Place for Gladiolus

You should decide the way you plant the gladiolus. Whether it is on the flower beds, containers, or gardens, each must be treated differently.

Flower Beds and Borders

Gladiolus is one of the August birth flowers. Gladioli are sometimes called “sword lilies” due to their blade-like leaves.
Gladiolus Flowers

These plants will begin to bloom in the late summer season. During this time, many other flowers are starting to fade.

Gladiolus flowers are really different. With flower beds, the spikes can stand tall among the others.

Moreover, they add some vertical interest and color to the surroundings. The sword-like foliage becomes an additional attraction to any garden.

Cut Flower Gardens

Tall, stunning Gladiolus flowers make a beautiful bouquet perfect to send for a birthday or use as a table centerpiece.
Gladiolus Mix Cut

The corms of this plant are not expensive at all. They are also easy and quick to plant.

Also, the growing gladiolus will not take a lot of space in your garden. For a 2×4 feet area, you can grow up to 50 plants.

If you want to cut the stems, wait until the two flowers are open to the fullest. That would extend the life in a vase.

Furthermore, the stems will last for a week.


If you are one of those interested in planting gladiolus in a container and want to know if this is possible, the resounding answer would be yes. Placing gladiolus bulbs in pots is a good idea where garden space is limited.
Gladiolus Flowers in Container

If you have limited space in the garden, containers are there to save. In a planter, gladiolus will look good.

You can combine it with other bold tropical plants such as Cleus, elephant ears, and cannas.

If you have larger ground space, you can transplant the flowers into that area right before the plant starts blooming.

Vegetable Gardens

There's nothing wrong with growing gladiolus flowers, but you should keep them out of the vegetable garden – especially if you're growing legumes like peas and beans. Gladiolus are known to hinder the development of these plants as they grow.
Gladiolus in Vegetable Garden

In vegetable gardens, there will be empty spaces left after removing early summer crops. Well, do not leave those areas empty.

You can plant some gladiola corms there. They will be ready for picking or cutting by the late summer.

The Right Time to Plant

Plant corms in spring 2 weeks before your last expected frost date. To enjoy flowers all summer, plant your Glads every 2 weeks until early July. This will stagger the plantings and flowering times.
Right Time to Plant Gladiolus

When to plant gladiolus? Spring is the best season that you can start planting the corms.

Then, if you want to enjoy continuous blooms through the fall season, apply this specific planting scheme.

So, you have to plant another round of corms every ten days from the last frost date to the early summer season.

Usually, to grow and bloom, gladiolus will need 2 and 3 months. That depends on the variety you choose for your garden.

Before planting, make some preparation for the site. The best flowers will be the result when planting the gladiolus in full sun.

This plant likes to have well-drained soil which gets moderate fertilizer. Avoid planting it in heavy, soggy soil.

Remember to loosen the soil to about twelve to fifteen inches of depth. Mix it with a layer of compost just about 2 to 4 inches.

How To Plant Gladiolus

Plant corms 2 to 6 inches deep, depending on their size, and cover with 2 inches of soil. Space corms 5 inches apart in rows or groups of 10 to 15 corms.
How to Plant Gladiolus

Gladiolus is an easy flower plant to grow. The procedures are as follow:

  • First of all, dig a trench about 8 inches in depth. Make sure it is long enough to give space in between corms about half a foot apart.

If that spacing is unusual for you, place them in oval or semi-circle. For a nice display, ten corms in one space are good enough.

  • Apply 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 fertilizer. After pouring the recommended amount, mix it well with the soil.

Add another layer of new soil the corm goes into the trench.

  • Follow all the tips we have told you above. So, you will get the finest version of your blooming gladiolus.
  • Avoid planting a gladiolus flower in the summer season. It would be around mid-July.
  • The gladiolus should be well watered. Mulch the soil around the flower to stay moist.
  • Give a fertilizer again after picking the flowers. Add the granules right after the flower. Mix it a little bit with the soil.

How to Grow Gladiolus

Gladiolus can be planted about two weeks before the last expected spring frost. It will take 70 to 90 days from planting until flowering. For a continual harvest of flower spikes, plant a few corms every two weeks until early summer.
Growing Gladiolus
  • You should prevent weeds on the soil around your gladiolus plants. Put about 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch.

It will also keep the soil moist.

  • Water the plants regularly during the summer season especially when the area gets less than an inch of rain in one week.

Otherwise, just water them moderately during the growth to make sure having moist soil.

  • Remove the dead or faded flowers as soon as you see them. It ensures the continuity of the blooms.

After all the flowers on a stalk are gone, cut off the stalk at 2 to 3 inches.

  • Leave the plant intact. So, the corms would be ready for the next growing season.

Recommended Varieties

These complex hybrids are the best-known gladiolus, with the widest color rangewhite, cream, buff, yellow, orange, apricot, salmon, red shades, rose, lavender, purple, smoky shades, even green shades.
Recommended Gladiolus

If you want to have the best set of gladiolus in your garden, choose the recommended varieties. For beautiful deep pink flowers, pick Candyman.

The Dream’s End gives you a good back border plant since it is 3 feet tall.

Check out the Prins Claus, the white flowers with pink splashes on petals. If you like some deep purple-red blooms, have some Black Star.

The last but not least, Glamini Glads can be a perfect choice too. Even though this variety is quite short, but it is pest resistant.

Additionally, beware of this pest or diseases:

  • Thrips
  • Aphids
  • Viruses
  • Gray Mold
  • Spider Mites
  • Aster Yellows
  • Gladiolus Corm Rot

Winter Protection for Gladiolus Care

Step in gladiolus winter care is to “cure” the gladiolus corms. Leave dug corms on top of the soil for two days to allow them to dry.
Care for Gladiola

Instead of leaving the corms in the soil all over the winter, take them for storage. Wait about 28 to 42 days after the previous cut.

Dry up the corms for about one week. Then, brush off the remaining soil. After that, begin the storage phase.

Let them set in a dry, dark, and cool place in a bag. These gladiolus bulbs would be safe inside the house.

Importantly, protect the bulbs from mice, they love to eat them.

Cutting the Flower Spikes

Gladiolus for decorative indoor use should be cut as soon as the bottom flower on the spike has opened. Most of the remaining blooms will open when the spike is brought indoors and placed in water. When cutting gladiolus flowers, leave at least 3 or 4 leaves at the base of the plant.
Cutting Gladiolus

The best time to pick the flower spikes is when the first florets are about to open. The rest will start opening in time.

You would get to enjoy the best gladiolus.

You should cut the spikes early in the morning or evening for the right freshness. Leave about 4 leaves on the plant.

So, the corm will continue its development. After you get the cuts, place them in warm water. It will prevent the florets from wilting.

Before you begin to compose a bouquet, leave the flowers in a dark and cool place for several hours. It will get them to harden and long last.

Then, to keep them fresh in a vase, change the water daily. Thus, the flowers will look good for the rest of the week.

What to Expect

Gladiolus have narrow, sword-like leaves and tall flower stalks. The flower stalks can grow 2 to 4 feet tall while only spreading 1 foot wide.
Gladiolus Blossom

A gladiolus corm has everything you need to grow a 3 to 4 foot of flower spike and 20 florets with the size of a fist.

Just dig the soil and tuck the corms into it. Then, you have to wait for about 90 days. You will see a spectacular flower spike.

The blossoms open from the bottom up, floret by floret. Each stem needs about two weeks for the blooms.

Gladiolus will also need some kind of support system because the stems may get heavier and start to learn as they grow.

Therefore, you can use slender bamboo canes to keep the stems standing steady.

Besides, having the stakes or canes on the corner will support the entire bed of gladiolus. Choose the right system for your garden.

Above all, for those who want to have a colorful garden, gladiolus is recommended. Its height would impress you with spectacular blossoms.

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