Gladiolus BulbsGladiolus Bulbs

Growing Gladiolus

Growing Gladiolus bulbs is easy. They make wonderful cutting flowers and are moderate water users, making them welcome additions to a water-thrifty garden. Their tall, narrow growth habit makes them easy to add just about anywhere in the garden for a vertical pop of color.

Native to southern Africa, standard Gladiolus are hardy in zones 8-10, and can be grown as annuals in zones 7 and colder. Hardy Gladiolus are relatively smaller growing varieties that are cold hardy in zones 5-8 when well mulched for winter. Read on for tips for growing gorgeous Glads.

Tips For Growing Gladiolus

  • Gladiolus look best planted in dense groups. They not only look better en masse, but they also support each other as they grow.
  • They propagate by corms, which are similar to bulbs in many ways. They have a bottom (basal plate) that will sprout roots and the top side with one or more growing points. 
  • Gladiolus bloom for about two weeks, so many gardeners plant sections of Gladiolus at two-week intervals to extend the flower season.
  • Cut flowers as you like, but be mindful not to cut too many leaves, as the leaves feed the new corms.

Light: Plant them in full sun, in the spring, when the soil has begun to warm.

Soil: Well-drained soil is a must, as Glads don’t like soggy feet.

How To Plant Gladiolus

  1. Following the recommendations on your package, simply dig holes at the suggesting spacing.
  2. Plant the corms 6-7 inches deep and about 6" apart. We recommend using at least 12 corms per planting. When planting, place the root side down and growing points up.
  3. Water well and water periodically as growth progresses.
Black Beauty GladiolusBlack Beauty Gladiolus
Black Beauty Gladiolus. Appearing almost black, they shimmer in the summer sun, lending a vertical elegance to a garden bed.

After Season Care For Gladiolus Bulbs

Standard Gladiolus: In zones 8-10, you can leave Gladiolus bulbs in the ground for an easy-to-grow flower that returns each season; your Gladiolus bulbs will rest for several months before starting their cycle again. If you are in zones 3-7, you can either treat your Gladiolus as an annual, replanting new corms in the following spring, or you can dig the corms to store for winter (see tips below).

Hardy Gladiolus: In zones 5-8, you can leave Hardy Gladiolus bulbs in the ground for an easy-to-grow flower that returns each season; your Gladiolus bulbs will rest for several months before starting their cycle again. If you are in zones 3-4, you can either treat your Gladiolus as an annual, replanting new corms in the following spring, or you can dig the corms to store for winter (see tips below).

How To Dig & Store Gladiolus Bulbs (Corms)

It’s easy to do, and you’ll have an unending supply of beautiful flowers for very little effort.

  1. Once the leaves have yellowed and after the first frost, cut the stems to 2 inches.
  2. Wash the soil off and dry for a few days.
  3. Store in a cool place in paper bags or cardboard boxes with 1-2 inches of vermiculite.
  4. Be sure to label your corms so you know what you’ll be planting come spring.
Peacock OrchidPeacock Orchid
Peacock Orchid (Gladiolus acindanthera) have a strong, sweet fragrance and make wonderful bouquets. Cold hardy in zones 8-10

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