Growing Summer Blooming Flowers - Gladiolus

How to grow gladiolas

Gladiolus flowers are a great addition to the yard for cut flowers or to add spikes of color to your landscape. They grow as perennials in zones 8 and above or in zones 7 and below they can be be grown as annuals or the corms can be lifted in fall and replanted the following spring (it may take 2-3 years to produce blooms again).

Planting Gladiolus in the Garden

Light–produces the best flowers if planted in full sun.

Soil–well-drained, fertile soil. Plant in a raised bed or amend the soil to improve drainage.

Timing–plant about 2 weeks before the last frost. To have flowers all summer, plant your corms every two weeks, since glads only make one flower stalk.

Watering–keep well watered throughout the growing season.

Fertilizing–work in some compost and a good high quality fertilizer for blooms.  Feed again once the plants are about 10-12" tall and again when the flowers are beginning to form.

Mulching–keep well weeded by adding mulch, which also helps conserve moisture.

Cutting Flowers for a Bouquet

Cut the flower stalk in the morning and only cut those that have only a few unopened flowers on the bottom of the stalk and leave some leaves on the plant. This will help to replenish the corm for next year.

Lifting Corms in the Fall

gladiolus corms

If you live in USDA zone 7 and lower you should lift your gladiolus corms in the fall.

  • After leaves are starting to die back, cut them to the ground.
  • Dig up the corms and allow to dry (out of the sun) for about 2-3 weeks.
  • Remove the dry soil and the bottom portion, this is the spent corm.
  • Store corms in a paper or mesh bag at about 35-50°F.
  • Replant these corms again in the spring. They make take a couple of seasons before they make flowers again.

Caring for Corms in the Ground Over Winter

If you live in USDA zones 8 and higher, corms can be left in the ground over winter. Cut spent foliage to the ground and apply a thick layer (4-6") of mulch such as straw or leaves. This will help keep the corms from freezing.


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