Planting Gladiolus

Planting gladiolus in your garden will create a display of tall flower spikes covered in large, showy blooms. Gladiolus is a popular plant for cut flower arrangements due to the large number of blooms each stalk provides.

How To Succeed In Planting Gladiolus

Gladiolus (affectionately known as "glads") are grown from small bulbs known as corms. There are a large number of gladiolus species, providing a range of flower sizes, colors and bloom time. Here's how to get started:

  • Location. You'll have the best success by planting gladiolus in a sunny location. Also, the tall stalks make protecting your plants from the wind a priority-pick a wind-sheltered location for best results.
  • A dirty subject. Gladiolus plants prefer soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. Amending your soil with compost prior to planting will help your plants thrive. If you have heavy soil, consider creating raised beds to help improve drainage.
  • Timing. Start planting your gladiolus corms about two weeks before the last predicted frost. To extend the bloom season of your plants, start with a portion of your corms, then add additional plantings at two week intervals into mid-summer.
  • Into the ground. Space your corms 6" to 8" apart and plant them in holes that are four times as deep as the diameter of the corm. For example, a 1" corm would require a 4" hole. Corms should be placed with the pointed side facing up.
  • A little support. These tall plants will need support to remain upright. Once your plants have grown to about 6" high, firmly hill up soil around them for extras support. If you're going to stake your gladiolus, put the stakes in at planting time to reduce the risk of injury to the root structure of your plants.
  • Harvest time. Gladiolus blooms make great flower arrangements. To harvest your flower stalks, cut them at an angle using a sharp knife or garden shears. The best time to harvest is when the flowers begin to show color. Leave as much foliage behind as you can to help the corms store energy for next year's growth.
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